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The Success Of The Turbine Art Fair Proves Stable Trading Despite Economic Downturn

 The Success Of The Turbine Art Fair Proves Stable Trading Despite Economic Downturn

Siyabhebana, 2021, Siyabonga Mtshali. Turbine Art Fair

South Africa’s first accessible art fair returned in all its glory this past weekend. The Turbine Art Fair (TAF) celebrated the 10th edition by heading underground and transformed a vacant car park into an edgy industrial space, hosting galleries, artists and curators from around the country to present and sell contemporary art.

“We have always endeavoured to create a unique and relaxed environment for contemporary art to be showcased and experienced. We have and continue to push the boundaries for how Southern African art is presented and engaged with and 2022 will be no different. ” says Glynis Hyslop, Founder of Turbine Art Fair.

Breaking the barriers of entry into the art scene

This year, the fair that notoriously champions inclusivity and diverse representation, created an undoubtedly unique experience that saw 6000 visitors flock to the burrow venue. The 34 exhibitors, 5 special projects and artists featured work across all artistic mediums such a prints and multiples, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, textiles and much more in perfect synchronicity.

The likes of the Bubblegum Gallery, African Fashion Research Institute, Red Room Gallery, Collective UNTITLD, Thomarts Gallery, Blaque Inq Contemporary, African Contemporary Art, Candice Berman Gallery, Kalashnikovv Gallery, MM Art House, Creative Block and many more showcased a collection of contemporary artists that delved deep into a range of abstract and figurative concepts.

Model 1, 2021, Jamal Nxedlana, courtesy of Turbine Art Fair
Home Affairs, 2021, Wanda Le Photo, courtesy of Turbine Art Fair
Futurama no. 3, 2021, Dave,Dave Robertson, courtesy of Turbine Art Fair

Those who are familiar with TAF will understand that each year there is the showcase of a series of special projects which represent a myriad of emerging artists under various stables categorised into: TAF Unearthed, TAF Capsule, TAF, TAF Grad Show and TAF Off The Grid.

TAF Unearthed

TAF Unearthed is a creative mentorship programme sponsored by the NAC, developed by Turbine Art Fair aimed at young artists and creatives to enable sustainable creative professional practices.

Started in 2014 as the annual Fresh Produce and Talent Unlocked artist mentorship programme. TAF modified the structure of its mentorship to address the needs of artists and prepare and propel them through uncertainty.

Artists are taken through conceptual, artistic and creative business mentoring to help solidify the foundations of their careers, resulting in a curated group exhibition at the Turbine Art Fair in July.

The 2022 selected artists are Aneesah Girie, Danna Margo, Gemma Sheppard, Lambi Chibambo, Lerato Ntili, Natali Downing, Pholile Hlongwane, Themba Given Msiza, Tshegofatso Tlatsi and Tumelo Mtklu. The artists were mentored by visual artist and curator Teboho Ralesai.

Bodutu, 2022, Tumelo Mtimkhulu, courtesy of Turbine Art Fair

TAF Capsule

A highlight is TAF Capsule, a new initiative for TAF 2022 featuring work by  influential artist Pat Mautloa, one of the founding artists of Joburg’s famous Bag Factory studio. The exhibition is designed to encourage young collectors to start investing in artists with Mautloa showing a large-scale work that is broken up into multiple smaller pieces and sold separately.

Shopping Woman, 1998, Pat Mautloa, courtesy of Turbine Art Fair

TAF Grad Show

The Graduate Show is an exhibition of select exceptional artist students currently in their 4th/ final year visual art studies or graduating master students. This year’s grad show entitled, ‘AT ODDS: in conflict or at variance’ was curated by Michaela Limberis and Siwa Mgoboza. “The platform offers a unique opportunity for these artists – otherwise unsupported in their transition from institution to market – to engage and network as professionals in the earliest stages of their career. Critical engagement and a viewing audience are central to building a sustainable practice. Without the ability to filter through minds and generate dialogue, the works sit idle without purpose.”

Ekasi Olympics, 2021, Lindokuhle Ndlovu,  courtesy of Siwa Mgoboza

Participating artists included: Aaron Adriaan, Jeffrey Allan, Rohini Amratlal, Jess Bothma, Siobahn Doughty, Rebecca D’Eramo, Luca Evans, Samukelo Gqola, Kagiso Gundane, PK Mohanoe, Brian Montshiwa, Bekezela Mabena, Ben Mphande, Kaelo Molefe, Siyabonga Mtshali, Lindokuhle Ndlovu, Hlavutelo Ngobeni, Emeka Ntone-Edjabe, Siphesihle Ntsungwana, Nthabeleng Pepenene, Thando Phenyene, Daniel Retief and Cassian Robbertze.

Luke Evans, 2021,Some Joke About Kicking The Bucket, courtesy of Turbine Art Fair
Digital Hellscape,2021, Cassian Robbertze, courtesy of Siwa Mgoboza
Finish Strong, 2021, Emeka Bryan Ntone-Edjabe, courtesy of Siwa Mgoboza

TAF Off The Grid

Curated by Maja Marx with participating artists Yonela Makoba, Sivan Zeffertt, Jeanne Hoffman, Dominique Edwards, Bella Knemeyer. This year’s Off The Grid exhibition titled ‘A pebble in the mouth’ was a collection of works by five artists, “whose work explores the intersection between object and language – a state when the physical thing ‘mixes itself so profoundly with the stuff of thought”. – Virginia Woolf, ‘Solid Objects’.

About Turbine Art Fair

Founded in 2013 by The Forum Company, TAF is the first accessible and affordable South African art fair aimed at small scale and emerging galleries as well as emerging artists and collectors working toward growing the market for South African Contemporary art. It has become the epicentre of emerging art in Southern Africa, championing established and new talent in an accessible and inclusive environment.

Lolwetu Pakati