This December, the art world will flock to Miami Beach for the 17th edition of Art Basel, an essential stop on the global art circuit, with 268 galleries and 29 new entrants from 35 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The main Galleries section features 198 leading names with 12 new joiners presenting a mix of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, videos and digital works. While focusing on Latin America to bolster its regional position under Director Americas Noah Horowitz, the fair gives serious nods to Middle Eastern and African art.
Hamburg and Beirut-based Sfeir-Semler Gallery will showcase mixed media works by Lebanese artists Etel Adnan, Walid Raad and Rayyane Tabet, Egyptian Wael Shawky, and Moroccan Yto Barrada. “As we advocate art from the Arab world, we try to create insights especially for an audience that’s perhaps not as familiar with the socio-geographic and political histories and current situations from the region,” says Sven Christian Schuch, Director of Sfeir-Semler Gallery’s Hamburg outpost.
Yinka Shonibare. Clementia. 2018. Fibreglass sculpture, hand-painted with Batik
pattern and steel-base plinth. 143.5x81x53cm. Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery
At Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, sculptural works by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, British-Nigerian Yinka Shonibare and South African William Kentridge will reference Africa’s colonial history and reimagine its modern identity. Also from Johannesburg, Stevenson Gallery will offer works ranging from photographic prints to mixed media works on wood.
“Our focus lies chiefly on contemporary art from Africa and having recently celebrated 15 years of our existence, we’ve curated a booth that reflects on this growth,” says Sinazo Chiya of Stevenson Gallery, which has participated at the fair since 2009. “We’re also excited to exhibit new works by artists who have joined us in medias res, such as Viviane Sassen, Zander Blom and Kemang Wa Lehulere.” Also on the radar is New York-based James Cohan Gallery, bringing works by Ethiopian Elias Sime, and Paris’ Mor Charpentier, expected to showcase Jordanian artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
The fair’s Nova section is where galleries will present new works by up to three artists. From Cape Town, Blank Projects will introduce hand-stitched collages by Malawian artist Billie Zangewa from her Vision of Love series. Milanese Prometeogallery di Isa Pisani will bring Iraqi Hiwa K, whose video installation will be a meditation on socio-political and economic contexts in light of appropriation. London-based Tiwani Contemporary will show video works titled Table Manners by Nigerian artist Zina Saro-Wiwa. A highlight will be Tunis’s Selma Feriani Gallery, presenting new sculptures and installations based on found objects by Saudi artist Maha Malluh.
Zina Saro-Wiwa. Table Manners: Season 1(video still). 2014-16. 8 digital videos
“As a North-African gallery, we’re very keen to get into the US art market. Being present at Art Basel Miami Beach would allow us to reach out to a wider and different audience in addition to potential collectors,” says Selma Feriani, Founder and Director of the eponymous gallery. “Introducing Maha’s work at the fair would be a great and challenging opportunity for us, taking into consideration how her pieces resonate with the cultural evolution in Saudi Arabia and history of the US-Saudi relations.”
The Edition sector will showcase 11 galleries renowned for their print and limited-edition works, such as New York-based gallery Carolina Nitsch spotlighting Kenyan Wangechi Mutu. And for its fifth year, the Survey sector of the fair will feature 16 presentations created before 2000, including Egyptian artist Chant Avedissian’s Textile panel patterns and San Francisco-based Haines Gallery’s survey of Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian’s early glass sculptures, reliefs and works on paper. At this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach you can surely expect to be intrigued by a robust roster of Middle Eastern and African art. Here’s to Miami.
Art Basel Miami Beach runs from 6-9 December 2018 at the Miami Beach Convention Centre in Florida. Artbasel.com/miami-beach
Click below to see what Piaget CEO Chabi Nouri has to say about Art Dubai 2018.