Postcard from South Africa: ArtJoburg 2022

ArtJoburg 2022.

By PETRA MASON, September 2022

“I needed to walk the streets of Joburg!” South African born, Berlin based artist Robin Rhode exclaimed amid the chatter and clink of champagne glasses on Thursday night at the opening of FNB ArtJoburg. This year’s iteration is the fairs 15th Edition, and a welcome return to in-person. Walking the booths over the three day event featuring six specialized sections with hash-tag-able titles like HUB, LAB, MAX, ORG, AUX and ETC was celebratory. HUB presented the top selections in contemporary art from across the continent, including the most prominent local contemporary galleries and a few far-flung ones from as far away as Los Angeles. LAB, the incubator space for championing emerging galleries and hybrid spaces, included galleries from Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

ArtJoburg 2022.

Upbeat, ArtJoburg’s Director Mandla Sibeko enthused to the press that ArtJoburg 2022 will ‘showcase the dynamic talent that Johannesburg, South Africa and the Continent have to offer’ and by all accounts appears to have delivered on that promise.  

ArtJoburg 2022.

This year's fair was a tough gig - Africa’s first art fair, ArtJoburg 2022 emerging slightly embattled from the last few iterations and now in serious competition with the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (that happens in the more tourist friendly city of Cape Town). For what felt like the art world event of the year, ArtJoburg kicked off lavishly and generously - literally serving a banquet to the masses, keeping it popping with South African Krone Brut bubbles. 

MOMO Outskirts. Courtesy of the author.

On Sunday skipping the Sandton Convention Center we headed out to an invite-only private viewing at MOMO Outskirts. Outskirts is gallery MOMO Director Monna Mokoena’s new countryside space located in The Cradle of Humankind. Housed in a former ceramics studio, Outskirts opened with an exhibition by rural transitional artist, Limpopo born sculptor Jackson Hlungwani. Hlungwani, who died in 2010 at age 87 and fellow wood sculptor (also from Limpopo) living artist sculptor Noria Mabasa  are being reintroduced to a new generation of collectors, interestingly enough both in the heritage rich area of ‘the cradle’ where Mabasa’s Shaping Dreams can be seen. Hlungwani’s artistic practice was deeply spiritual, and prolific and the works on display are partly from private and institutional collections, following a few months after the 2021 Norval Foundation’s Alt and Omega: Jackson Hlungwani, the first immersive exhibition dedicated to Hlungwani.

ArtJoburg 2023 will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2023.

Jackson Hlungwani at MOMO Outskirts is currently on view available via Gallery MOMO. WM

Petra Mason

 
Cultural historian and publisher. Beefcake 100% Rare, All Natural is her first Universe title, Bettie Page Queen of Curves and Bunny Yeager's Darkroom are her Rizzoli titles. Mason edited Fall 2015 Skira/Rizzoli's Imperfect Utopia.

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