HomeInternationalAfrican artists are banking on a skyrocketing contemporary art market

African artists are banking on a skyrocketing contemporary art market

Written by Daniel Renjifo, CNN

For Abidjan-based artist Saint-Étienne Yéanzi, the continent’s social and political actuality has sparked a inventive evolution for contemporary African artists, he says, giving them confidence to work and keep in Africa.

The contemporary art market in Ivory Coast and throughout sub-Saharan Africa has captured collectors’ imaginations on a world scale, translating into earnings for a lot of artists like Saint-Etienne. He says the common worth for particular person items of his work elevated from roughly round $8,000 to $60,000 in his seven years as an artist.

Perhaps the most important instance of this exponential progress is Ivorian rising star Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, higher generally known as Aboudia. “He is one of those artists that has evolved well in recent years,” says gallery proprietor Cécile Fakhoury, who opened her gallery in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2012 and has witnessed the methods Aboudia’s vibrant fashion of graffiti-like portray — harking back to the works of the late Jean-Michel Basquiat — has propelled his profession.

“Today, the paintings we see here (in the gallery) are between $47,000 and $180,000,” she provides.

In May, Aboudia’s “Untitled (2015)” bought for $232,000, a whopping 835% over presale valuation estimates and shattering his private file set final yr.

Paintings by Ivorian artist Aboudia have been critically acclaimed at worldwide auctions all around the world. Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

Other established African artists from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria lately grabbed worldwide headlines on the bi-annual Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African art public sale in London. Renowned Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu’s “Atlas” bought for over half a million {dollars} at a Sotheby’s public sale in March, setting a new world file for an African sculpture.

Record-breaking art

“2020 was our most successful year yet”, says Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s head of contemporary and contemporary African art. Despite being digital because of the pandemic, final October’s occasion bought over $4.4 million of art.

In March, Sotheby’s once more exceeded presale estimates by 40%, promoting $3.7 million value of art from 34 nations. O’Leary says that because the African art public sale’s inception in 2017, the corporate has damaged 90 world information.

“Every time we break one of these records, we are setting new standards and elevating the reputation of our artists,” she adds.

How an Ivorian art revival is bolstering prices

For Idelphonse Affogbolo, a Beninese collector living in Ivory Coast, buying art deepens the artist’s creativity, but also more fairly appraises African artists against their international counterparts. “There are contemporary artists like (Jeff) Koons and others who are being snatched for $20 million,” Affogbolo says. “I hope that in the future we could have artists of acknowledged expertise who can obtain such promoting costs.”

Meanwhile in the local galleries of Abidjan, Fakhoury believes that the contemporary African art market will continue to be mostly driven by international sales, but also by the will of a young generation of collectors and artists who see the potential.

“This hyper-varied younger era, the diaspora who studied overseas, who noticed that there’s an art market — they notice there’s a scene, a story, they usually start to take an curiosity in it,” she says.



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