From the FNB Art Prize exhibition opening at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joubert Park to The BMW Art Generation weekend at the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Maboneng, FNB Art Joburg has, for the last two weeks, actioned its call to Explore Art. City. Culture. Continuing its tour of invigorating the city of Johannesburg, up next is the 16th edition of FNB Art Joburg.
This week, from 8 – 10 September 2023, FNB Art Joburg returns to Sandton Convention Centre to bring you the best from the continent and diaspora’s leading institutions, galleries and their artists. FNB Art Joburg is turning 16 years old this year. In all this time, First National Bank has remained an unwavering headline sponsor for the fair. “With their support we have maintained our mandate to sustainably support and grow the contemporary African art offering shown on African soil.” Says Mandla Sibeko Managing Director of FNB Art Joburg.
A Johannesburg mainstay for the last decade and a half, FNB Art Joburg plays an instrumental role in developing and sustaining a commercial economy that centres African and diasporic practitioners. Applying this tangibly, the fair is divided into six sections known as gallery HUB, gallery LAB, MAX, ETC, AUX, and ORG sections. This week we highlight all the exhibitors you can expect at the fair this week.
Says Sibeko, “Johannesburg is the intentional home to FNB Art Joburg. Beyond the name, the fair, like the city, represents the African continent’s love, tenacity and its irreverent energy. Artists, curators and cultural policy makers living or visiting Johannesburg understand how it’s a city that speaks for the continent. This is why FNB Art Joburg, the BMW Art Generation, and Open City are spread across the city. Our mandate is always to reignite engagement and investment that will develop and protect the city as an incubator for contemporary art.”
An international affair of global standards, the 16th edition of FNB Art Joburg will welcome the likes of Michelle Sandoz and Dr. Joy Simmons to the Sandton Convention Centre. The Head of Art Initiative at the Foundation for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Sandoz is based in Switzerland and has a long term relationship with the arts across regions, with a focus on community building through philanthropic projects that work through contemporary art to drive social change. An American art collector and philanthropist, Dr Simmons has supported the work of artists of African descent and more broadly, of artists whose work is informed and inspired by Black culture. Making their way to Johannesburg with the sole purpose of being at the fair, their presence speaks volumes to the gravitas FNB Art Joburg looks to uphold.
A fair offering the continent and the world at large three days of the very best in contemporary African art through six specialised sections. Referred to as gallery HUB, the fair’s central section presents the best in contemporary art from across the continent in line with the objective to be a quality rather than quantity focused fair. FNB Art Joburg is proud to have the following galleries, amongst others exhibit this year; BKhz, blank, Eclectic Contemporary, Everard Read, First Floor Gallery Harare, Gallery MOMO, Goodman Gallery, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Smac Gallery, Stevenson, Suburbia Contemporary and WHATIFTHEWORLD. The MAX section of the fair houses installations or works from artists in gallery HUB with challenging scale while the ETC section will give fair goers the opportunity to engage with master print and publishing houses.
Presenting a picture informed by the entire continent, the 2023 ETC section will be occupied by A4 x Jonathan Ball, Artist Proof Studios, ArtThrob, Atelier le Grand Village, Clarkes Books, David Krut, Edition Version, Floodhouse, iwalewa books and Wits Press. Adjacent to gallery HUB, and looking to the future of contemporary art, is the gallery LAB section that incubates approaches with the potential to transform the local art landscape. For the 2023 edition, featured gallery LAB exhibitors include 16/16, CHURCH, Ebony Curated, Galerie Annie Kadji, Guns & Rain, Modzi Arts, Ora Loapi, ODA Art, Reservoir Projects, Untitled, VILLAGE UNHU and Wunika Mukan Gallery.
In addition, the ORG section will represent seminal art institutions on the continent. With the 16th edition’s ORG lounges hosting Exhibition Match and Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria, the section continues to redefine how the public engages with organisations that were established for the good of the public’s engagement with and commitment to the industry.
Then, with a public programme that prioritises various points of participation, one of the ways that FNB Art Joburg promotes horizontal engagement and access is through the AUX section located in the fair’s mezzanine. Spanning talks, walking tours, book signings, public lectures and audio essays, the 2023 AUX section, sponsored by ITOO Artinsure, will explore a plethora of topics influencing and impacting the contemporary art ecosystem. This year’s themes include collectivism, figuration, navigating intersectional representation, museums as living classrooms, as well as copyright and intellectual property in visual arts.
Bringing the week to a close, Exhibition Match will make its debut on Johannesburg soil, this Sunday on 10 September 2023, at the Discovery Soccer Park in Sandton. An artistic project and social initiative founded by Alexander Richards and Phokeng Setai in 2021, Exhibition Match explores the potential for collaboration and collective participation, community-building and play in the context of the art-world through the cultural vehicles of football and artistic production. As the name suggests, Exhibition Match’s dynamic structure is composed of two elements, namely an art exhibition and football game bringing varying players in the artworld together on a soccer field for a free-to-watch game.
Still surrounding the fair through various hubs in and around Johannesburg, Open City continues until 15 September 2023. With a plethora of exhibitions, live music, a stand-up comedy performance, book signings, walkabouts, a soccer match, gallery hopping and parties.
Embracing the varying nodes of culture in the city, there will be several after-parties celebrating 16 years of FNB Art Joburg, Open City, and contemporary African art taking over the culture capital. These parties include the ongoing Ses’Fikile intervention, a Beatz by Her Unofficial Afterparty, Ebumnandini, and the cult favourite, Kalashnikovv After Party. For more information about after parties, see below:
Open City x Beats by Her present FNB Art Joburg – Official After Party
Lineup: Denice Mars, Ms. Ntsika, Ludz, DJ Kenzhero, Mamthug
Place: Untitled Basement, 7 Reserve Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Date: 9 September 2023
Exhibition Match x Ses’fikile Afterparty
Place: 99 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Date: 10 September 202
Ebumnandini FNB Art Joburg After Party
Place: Father Coffee Kramerville, 19 Dartfield Road, Kramerville, Johannesburg, 2090
Date: 9 September 2023
Main Image: Supplied