How African art fairs are bringing in more tourists February 13th, 2018
How African art fairs are bringing in more tourists
For many years, African art has conjured up images of trinkets and curios found at roadside stalls for tourists. However, it has changed drastically over the years and is now a global attraction to tourists and investors alike. Below are just some of the ways in which African art fairs are bringing in more tourists to the country.
They introduce the world to African culture
Modern African art has found a home in many galleries across the world, but not as much in the continent itself. Because of the attention that contemporary African art is getting at international art fairs, investors are being introduced to the African culture in a way never seen before. This helps to inspire travel to the countries some of the artists are based in.
Not only does this introduction to the African culture help boost tourism, but it helps the art market of the continent as well. Art fair curators and gallery owners fund movements on the ground in Africa itself. This can encourage local and international tourism, as there are many art lovers who combine trips such as the Cape Town Art Fair with a tour of the Garden Route, Johannesburg’s September Art Fair with a safari to the Kruger Park in spring and Art Accra with a rambling tour of West Africa.
They build initiatives that draw the public
One of the most recent African art world initiatives is the Zeitz MOCAA, an art museum based in Cape Town which focuses on displaying African art to the public. This curation of art has drawn the public in droves, locally and internationally.
The Zeitz MOCAA is the first gallery of its kind in Africa, being a gallery that offers only African and African diaspora art to the public. This uniqueness has caused a boom in the art tourism market, with investors and enthusiasts flocking to buy tickets to exhibitions. There are other examples of such innovation, such as the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, the FNB Joburg Art Fair and Art Africa.
They generate interest from investors
Art investors are known for being discerning and can often set trends in the art world. African art fairs showcase some of the best up-and-coming talent in the African art world, which has generated interest from potential international investors.
Because these investors take the time to learn about the artists, many of them decide to visit the continent, which drives luxury African tourism numbers up impressively. Art investors expect the finer things in life, and so are willing to pay for five-star hotels. Their passion for the art they buy often leads to trends in the art market and the boom of Afrofuturism art has seen more and more investors interested in African art fairs.
Art fairs highlight positivity
The art fairs found in the metropolises of African and South African countries are known for highlighting the positivity of both the art and the artists. This subverts the idea of these countries being unpleasant or dangerous to visit.
By showcasing this positivity, art fairs are showing the Western world that touring Africa is a culturally enriching and exciting experience. Some areas may be known for their high crime rates, but the addition of art fairs have changed the views of many creative circles. The art itself looks away from negativity, highlighting the fashion, music and culture of the area.
They help to improve the economy
Some African art fairs are attended by international investors, who are willing to spend sizeable amounts on pieces that they love. This money may only go to the curator or gallery owner, but the money that these international investors spend on hotels, rental cars and dining out contribute positively to the economy.
Some galleries have tight budgets and cannot afford to exhibit new and upcoming artists, but art fairs are often sponsored by banks or corporations, and so can display more work. This allows for bigger exhibitions which in turn attracts more investors and tourists. Not only will international art lovers attend these fairs, but local art enthusiasts will be able to tour their own continent to explore the delights of the art world. This also helps to improve the economy.