Buoyed By Interest in Young African Artists, London’s Only IRL Art Fair 1-54 Shows the Value of In-Person Events

Naomi Rea, Art Net, October 9, 2020

[...] Addis Fine Art, which is focused on artists from Ethiopia and its diaspora, has just opened an outpost in South Kensington at the emerging gallery hub Cromwell Place. “2020 was meant to be a big year for us,” gallery founder Rakeb Sile told Artnet News. The gallery was due to show at Frieze New York for the first time this year. But after it participated in the Armory Show back in March, art fairs began to fall like dominoes.


Despite the hurdles, the gallery managed to make sales during lockdown, taking part in the online substitutes for Art Dubai, Frieze New York, and Untitled Art Fair, and even meeting a few new clients from Europe and the US. “The experience really helped us get to grips with the online fair world, which I think will stick around,” Sile said.


The gallerist, who sold two works by Tesfaye Urgessa on VIP day, is optimistic that the African art market will continue to grow despite the setbacks wrought by lockdown. “The African art market is still growing because it is still largely undiscovered,” she says. “I think interest will only continue to grow as the art world learns that Africa is a huge continent with a huge variety of cultures and stories and people.” [...]

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