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Rut Blees Luxemburg, Monument, 2003, C-print contrecollé sur aluminium, 90 x 115 cm │© Rut Blees Luxemburg - Courtesy Dominique Fiat, Paris
Rut Blees Luxemburg, Monument, 2003, C-print contrecollé sur aluminium, 90 x 115 cm │© Rut Blees Luxemburg - Courtesy Dominique Fiat, Paris
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Programming Announced For First Ever AKAA – Also Known As Africa Fair

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 3 November 2016
Thirty-year-old Franco-American entrepreneur Victoria Mann will make art history from November 11th to 13th when AKAA – Also Known As Africa opens at the Carreau du Temple in the Haut-Marais. This will mark the first time that a Parisian fair has been dedicated to contemporary art and design by artists from the African continent or its diaspora, a group achieving ever greater prominence on the international art scene.

This new event on Paris’ cultural calendar is a response to growing demand for African contemporary art, a trend traceable to an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Les Magiciens de la Terre, in 1989. Over the years, shows like Africa Remix (which called at the Pompidou on a three-year tour of Düsseldorf, London, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and Stockholm) in 2005 and Beauté Congo a decade later at the Fondation Cartier have continued to generate awareness and appreciation for the diversity and quality of the continent’s emerging talents. In Africa, dedicated art fairs, museums and foundations have been growing in number and prestige for years and, globally, smaller galleries, enthusiastic collectors, and auction houses have been playing their part in promoting contemporary African artists. The only element missing has been strong representation at international art fairs. To that, AKAA provides a dynamic solution.

Thania Petersen, Queen colonaaiers and her weapons of mass destruction I, 2015, photographie, 150 x 225 cm │© Image courtesy of Everard Read Gallery
Thania Petersen, ‘Queen colonaaiers and her weapons of mass destruction I’, 2015, photographie, 150 x 225 cm │ | © Image courtesy of Everard Read Gallery

The work of 115 artists either from Africa, its diaspora, or whose work reflects their personal experience of the continent will be presented by 30 international galleries from 11 countries across Africa, Europe, and North America. AKAA was accompanied in its selection of galleries by a panel of experts including Dominique Fiat, of the eponymous gallery in the Marais, Elisabeth Lalouschek of October Gallery in London, Simon Njami, a celebrated writer and curator whose exhibitions have included Africa Remix and the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, and Azu Nwagbogu, the founder of the Lagos Photo Festival, the African Artists’ Foundation, and Nigeria’s National Art Competition.

Owusu-Ankomah, Microcron Begins No. 16, 2013, peinture acrylique sur toile, 180 x 280 cm │© Joachim Fliegner - Courtesy October Gallery
Owusu-Ankomah, ‘Microcron Begins No. 16’, 2013, peinture acrylique sur toile, 180 x 280 cm │ | © Joachim Fliegner - Courtesy October Gallery

In addition to displaying the richness of African artistic production, Les Rencontres AKAA will provide a program of conferences, roundtable discussions, film screenings, and artistic performances aimed at broadening the conversation on the continent’s contemporary art scene. The program is built on three pillars: Inspiring, Creating and Sharing. The first of these will look at those who pioneered African contemporary art on the global stage, the second will take visitors behind the scenes and offer insight into artists’ creative processes, and the last will explore how art is disseminated to the public through education, publications, and public spaces.

Farida Hamak, Sur les traces, 2013, photographie d’après négatif 6x7, 82 x 102 cm │© Farida Hamak - Courtesy Regard Sud galerie
Farida Hamak, ‘Sur les traces’, 2013, photographie d’après négatif 6×7, 82 x 102 cm │ | © Farida Hamak - Courtesy Regard Sud galerie

A panel discussion will tackle the notion of authenticity, the balance each artist must negotiate between producing work that is both original and classable in the eyes of the public. There will also be three or four projects exhibited in AKAA’s non-profit spaces.

All in all, AKAA offers an exceptional point of entry to a contemporary art market that is on the cusp of a genuine international breakthrough and while prices are still affordable.

📅 Friday, November 11th 11AM-7PM; Saturday, November 12th 11AM-8PM; Sunday, November 13th 11AM-6PM.

Full price tickets are €16, half price tickets are €8, and the catalogue is €12.

📍 Le Carreau du Temple, 4 rue Eugène Spuller, 75003 Paris, France, +33 1 8381 9330