South African Cultural Observatory

African art racks up $4m at Sotheby’s auction, but is it good for the continent?

BY 30.05.17

IN celebration of #AfricaDay and #AfricaMonth we focus on some news emanating from the continent and its scholars.  

African art racks up $4m at Sotheby’s auction, but is it good for the continent?

NEW YORK: DESPITE being only a small part of the international art market, African art notched up an impressive $4-million at Sotheby’s first auction of modern and contemporary African art in late May. A total of 83 pieces by artists from Cameroon to South Africa was sold with Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s taking selling for almost a quarter of the total sales. His sculpture made from discarded aluminium bottle caps and copper wire reached the penultimate price of $950,000. What is clear is that demand for African art is on the rise, especially over the past decade, signalling, what some commentators say is the beginning of a more serious interest from Western museums, which may finally start to consider such work worthy of inclusion in their permanent collections. But is this good for Africa? Chika Okeke-Agulu, associate professor of art history at Princeton, is not convinced it will be good for Africa’s masses who need the art to symbolize the slow process of postcolonial recovery. “The wholesale privatization and “exile” of modern and contemporary art bodes ill for African cultural development.” READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/opinion/sunday/modern-african-art-sothebys.html?_r=0 AND MORE: https://guardian.ng/art/fragile-diaspora-art-market-challenge-for-africa-based-artists/

 

Nigeria launches programme to support 15, 000 creatives

NIGERIA/BEIJING: THE Federal Government of Nigeria says it will equip about 15,000 creative industry professionals by 2017, through its ‘N–Power Creative Programme’ – a job creation and empowerment initiative mainly focused on film and design; with a view to growing support to 75 000 by 2020. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this in late May at the opening of the 7th African Digital TV Development Seminar in Beijing, China. Mohammed said the N-Power Creative “is a job creation and empowerment initiative by the Federal Government for the purpose of training and encouraging the development of creative and technological skills in young Nigerians’’. The minister identified the areas of focus as animation, graphic illustration, script writing, storytelling, sequential arts, and post production. Mohammed underscored the urgent need for the country to embrace the growing animation technology in order to benefit from what he said had become a 300 billion dollars industry. READ MORE: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/n-power-fg-to-equip-15-000-creative-industry-professionals-lai-mohammed/198768.html

 

Zimbabwean creative economy organisation calls for support

HARARE: Josh Nyapimbi executive the Creative Economy Outlook Zimbabwe (CEOZ)’s recent opinion piece looks at the accolade of Zimbabwe’s musical legend Oliver Mtukudzi – who recently made it onto the Forbes Africa Top 10 Music Moneymaker list – in relation to the failure of the Zimbabwean government to develop a consolidated policy framework to stimulate the creative industry’s growth. His the Daily is piece can be found in the Daily News piece. READ MORE: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2017/05/18/zim-must-support-creative-industries

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SAN FRANCISCO: New data from HoneyBook shows that, simply stated, women creatives need to charge more for their services and match their male counterparts. HoneyBook, the business management platform for entrepreneurs in creative industries, recently released the first-ever report dedicated entirely to the gender pay gap among self-employed creative professionals.

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