Investec Cape Town Art Fair showcases a diversity of work that represents the forefront of contemporary art from Africa to the world, and the world to Cape Town. The city boasts a vibrant arts scene, driven by the top galleries on the African continent and beyond. Thanks to its diverse cultural heritage and geographic beauty, Cape Town is a compelling destination for both art world professionals and collectors alike.
Journey along the Sahara Desert’s trade routes during a time when West African gold directly impacted and connected peoples and cultures, arts and beliefs across continents. Experience the first major exhibition to reveal the shared history of West Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe from the 8th to 16th centuries and see more than 250 artworks, many shown in North America for the first time.
Up to the present day, the Congo serves as a screen for the projection of Western as well as African ideas and fictions. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is famous for its vibrant art scene. Nowhere else in Africa is artistic creativity so diverse, inventive, and at the pulse of time. Still, in the past, too, people in the Congo brought forth impressive masks, figures, and designer pieces, many of which today rank as icons of African art. For the first time, the exhibition presents objects and photographs brought back from the Congo in 1938/39 by the art ethnologist Hans Himmelheber: colourful masks, powerful figures and artfully designed everyday objects. This contrasts with contemporary positions of renowned Congolese artists.
Very few places in the world have such a strong connection to iron as Sub-Saharan Africa. For over two millennia, the forging of one of the planet’s most fundamental materials has revolutionised the continent and profoundly shaped its communities and cultures, from fields to homes and from battlefields to religious sites. Under the hammer of African blacksmiths, masters of fire and virtuosos of transformation, the metal is cast, forged, beaten then metamorphosed into tools, or in some cases vested with social and spiritual power, always with incredible artistic sensitivity. "Striking Iron. The Art of African Blacksmiths" presents the vast diversity of forms and traditions surrounding iron in different regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. 230 pieces produced between the 17th century and the modern-day, ranging from wood sculptures to currencies in a myriad of shapes and sizes, diverse musical instruments, weapons and prestigious objects, all attesting to the talent and technical sophistication of African blacksmiths, figures that are equally venerated and feared.
The FotoFest Biennial 2020 marks the first time in its 37-year history that the Biennial’s central exhibition will focus on artists of African origin. African Cosmologies will feature over 30 artists from across the continent and its diaspora, making it one of the world’s largest exhibitions of African photography.
From the first millennium, the Sahel—a vast area in Africa just south of the Sahara Desert that spans what is today Senegal, Mali, Mauretania, and Niger—was the birthplace of a succession of influential polities. Fueled by a network of global trade routes extending across the region, the empires of Ghana (300–1200), Mali (1230–1600), Songhay (1464–1591), and Bamana (1640–1861) cultivated an enormously rich material culture. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara will be the first exhibition of its kind to trace the legacy of those mighty states and what they produced in the visual arts. The presentation will bring into focus transformative developments—such as the rise and fall of political dynasties, and the arrival of Islam—through some 150 objects, including sculptures in wood, stone, fired clay, and bronze; objects in gold and cast metal; woven and dyed textiles; and illuminated manuscripts.