Art in the Diaspora

African Galleries and Artists Participating in Frieze, Seoul, 2023

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This year’s Frieze Seoul truly stood out as a stunning diversity and creative expression showcase. Artists from all corners of the globe converged to celebrate the richness of the art world. African art galleries and artists also seized the opportunity to shine at this fantastic art fair. This article will delve into the unique African booths that graced Frieze Seoul in 2023.

Gallery 1957 – Ghana

Gallery 1957, Accra, Ghana, made a captivating debut at Frieze Seoul with a cohesive group presentation that left a lasting impression. The gallery aims to introduce West African artists to a global audience. Their presence at Frieze Seoul served as a testament to this commitment.

Among the featured artists were Amoako Boafo, Gideon Appah, Kwesi Botchway, Joana Choumali, Tegene Kunbi, Kaloki Nyamai, and Nadia Waheed. Their works offered a glimpse into the diverse narratives and artistic styles emerging from Africa.

Kaloki Nyamai- Niwona kila naotavasya from GALLERY 1957 booth Frieze Seoul, 2023.

This presentation went beyond mere art display; it served as a cultural exchange transcending geographical boundaries. By showcasing the works of African artists, Gallery 1957 allowed Korean audiences to immerse themselves in the African continent’s diverse stories and artistic expressions. In doing so, they bridged continents and nurtured a deeper appreciation for African art on a global scale.

Goodman Gallery – Cape Town

Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, presented various artists, uniting established figures with emerging talents. Their exhibition was a captivating exploration of art that narrates, documents, and comments on the intricate geopolitical links between local contexts and far-reaching diasporic experiences.

The featured artists included Kudzanai Chiurai, known for his thought-provoking visual storytelling; Nolan Oswald Dennis, an artist exploring complex sociopolitical themes; and Leonardo Drew, celebrated for his intricate and abstract assemblages. Their works captivated viewers and provoked meaningful conversations.

Kudzinai Chiurai – We Live in Silence XVIII, 2017. Pigment inks on fiber paper. 193.5 × 150 cm. Image courtesy of artsy.

Moreover, Nicholas Hlobo‘s unique use of materials and Remy Jungerman’s exploration of culture and identity added depth to the exhibition. The renowned William Kentridge, known for his powerful drawings and animations, contributed his distinctive voice to the collection.

Goodman Gallery’s curation invited viewers to explore a rich tapestry of artistic expressions from the Global South. These works were a testament to the gallery’s commitment to fostering a global appreciation for art that transcends boundaries and connects diverse experiences. Through this exhibition, the artists’ voices resounded, resonating with the shared stories of our interconnected world.

In a year where only two African galleries graced Frieze Seoul with their diverse range of African artists, the hope is that more African galleries will participate in such fantastic art fairs, further enriching the global art landscape with their unique perspectives and narratives.

Author

Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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