Art Market

Pavillon 54’s magazine is a space for discovery, learnings and dialogue on Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa and its diaspora. Through articles, interviews, editorial coverage, videos, exhibitions and experiences, the Pavillon 54 community will learn, be informed and involved in current events in the African art world.

  • Who is Emma Prempeh?

    Ideas of the home have been explored in contemporary art — tied to issues of race and gender, identity and class. The ‘home is where the heart is’ theme is an abundant notion with many myriad approaches in contemporary art. In Emma Prempeh’s paintings, homes and interiors are imbued with locale, history, memory and identity. 


    Emma Prempeh is certainly an artist to watch — with much attention surrounding the artist there audiences can surely expect more.

  • Global and African art market according to the Art Basel Report 2023
    The annual Art Basel and UBS Art Market Report is out. With pages and pages of well-researched insights on the global art market from the previous year, the report covers topics from NFTs and online sales to auctions, dealers and fairs. It’s dense and certainly doesn’t qualify as light reading so here at Pavillon54 we break down some relevant findings from this lengthy 2022 report.
  • ‘Black beauty, pride and excellence: A Tale of Reappropriation’: Pavillon54 in collaboration with the Black In Business club (LBS)

    Black beauty, pride and excellence: A Tale of Reappropriation is all about representations of black culture and community. The product of a true collaboration between the Black in Business club at London Business School and Pavillon 54 from conception to the desinstallation. It’s no secret that during the course of history, Africans have been dehumanised and that the project of re-humanising the life and world of African societies remains an urgent task. The exhibition took a strong focus on finding more complex ways to critically engage with Black identities.

  • Pavillon 54 in conversation with collector Liesle Barrath

    Joburg-based collector Liesle Barrath takes Pavillon54 on a walk through her private art collection. Housed in her leafy home, it is a cool and eclectic mix of works featuring heavy-hitting names such as Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi and Nandipha Mntambo together with street-art inspired works courtesy of artists Khaya Witbooi and Vusi Beauchamp. Walking through the space, Liesle recounts the story behind each of the purchases, what emotions the artworks stir within and as we stop to consider each work, it becomes clear that she collects from a gut feeling.


    In this series, we invite collectors to open their art collections to Pavilion 54 readers.



  • Cape Town Art Fair: A report from Pavillon 54

    Celebrating a decade of contemporary South African art, Investec Cape Town opened its doors for its tenth edition. From modest beginnings, it is now generally acknowledged as the largest international contemporary art fair in Africa. The fair focused on the concept of time —  the theme was broad, appropriately so as time is all-encompassing of ideas about the past, present, and future as well as the ever-important concept of change that comes with time. The tenth-anniversary timing for this theme was also appropriate. The fair reached its ten-year height, boasting 25 000 visitors, 106 exhibitors from 18 different countries, and 337 artists; it was the fair's largest-ever edition.

    To accompany this larger-than-ever, birthday-bash edition, were some spectacular highlights that are worth celebrating especially because this fair has much to teach other fairs on the continent. 

  • Black History Month Through Art
    In honour of black history month, we’re taking the opportunity to measure where the art making culture of African Americans stands, its celebration and the paths yet uncharted. The third edition of the Burns Halperin Report, a publication inaugurated in 2018 by independent editor Charlotte Burns and Artnet News’s Julia Halperin, was published in 2022 and the findings reveal that black American artists and black American female-identifying artists are not reflected in US museums and the global art market. This is the major starting point for this article — we look at the stats and what they reveal about how black American artists are faring.
  • 7 Kenyan Artists You Should Know

    In recent years, Kenya has emerged as a key hub for contemporary art in East Africa. Nairobi is becoming an ever-more important hub for art in the region with a growing list of contemporary art spaces. These include the prominent Circle Art Gallery as well as GoDown Arts Center, Kuona Artists Collective, Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI), and the One-Off Contemporary Art Gallery, to name a few.


    Granted, the city has a smaller scene than other centres of contemporary art in Africa such as Lagos, Johannesburg and Cape Town, due to a number of significant setbacks such as insufficient galleries, schools and spaces to make and show art, as well as a lack of support from government. But though the Kenyan capital’s art market might be young, its artistic community is flourishing. After chronicling lists artists you should know in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and established artists in both South Africa and Nigeria we look east to Kenya. 


    The seven artists in this review do not form a comprehensive list by any means — it is a list of artists who are accessible and influential. Kenya is also home to renowned artists, Michael Soi, Boniface Maina, Michael Armitage and Wangari Mathangi among others.

  • Through the crystal ball: Four artworld predictions for 2023
    A new year welcomes new trends in the art world. While it is difficult to predict the future of any industry, specific movements will transform the art world this year. After years of uncertainty due to the pandemic, the year ahead will face some challenges with the art market set to contract. Even so, there will continue to be exciting developments. In this article, we will review the significant trends in style and collector behavior set to rise in the art world in 2023. As momentum begins to build on what is surely another exciting year, here are our predictions for the four trends that will shape 2023, and what you should watch out for in the coming year.
  • Emerging vs mid-career vs established artist — what’s the difference and does it matter?

    Building a strong art collection requires an understanding of the art ecosystem as well as the market before deciding on a strategy to build your own. Have you ever heard experts or gallerists referring to artists as emerging, mid-career or established and wondered what it all means? Are there specific criteria to differentiate them or is it all just subjective? And how does that influence the price or desirability of an artwork you consider buying? 

    Here we touch on the differences between the three main stages of an artist's career and their work, and how understanding this is useful in establishing value for collectors. These categories — emerging, mid-career and established artists — are used regularly by artists, gallerists and critics but these delineations can be a matter of contention.

  • How is the African Art Market faring in 2022?

    If you’ve been reading our art market coverage of the African Art Market in articles such as our African Art Market Report 2021 or our ‘Break down of the African Art Market,’ you’ll know that African art sales maintained healthy volume and growth last year. Despite the total restructuring of the global art market due to the COVID-19 pandemic, galleries and art organisations in Africa managed to stay afloat for the most part, and have made a vigorous comeback with art fairs, gallery shows and a growing collectorship on the continent adding to the market’s success. But how has the African art market fared so far in 2022? We provide the key insights from the first half of this year below.

  • 7 Modern Congolese Artists You Should Know

    To navigate the history of art of a complex, multifaceted and multicultural continent as Africa, especially if you just got passionate about it, can seem like an overwhelming maze. But no worries, we are here to help you. Follow our series of “Artists you should know or watch” in each country, and you could soon almost sound like an expert! After Nigeria and South Africa, let’s keep on with the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this article, we are looking at modern Congolese artists who have been mainly influential during the second half of last century. 

  • Who is Victor Ekpuk?

    Nigerian-American artist Victor Ekpuk has come to acclaim through his unique visual language, which abstracts the ancient Nigerian script Nsibidi and indigenous Uli art forms. By taking these codes and philosophies as the base for his artistic practice, Ekpuk creates his own symbolism that aims to decrypt the truths of the human condition, placing particular focus on the contemporary African diaspora. Through his paintings, drawings and sculptures, Ekpuk’s language is instantly recognisable, with strong use of intricate linework and bold colour bearing the hallmarks of this signature. Through deep research into the philosophy of Nsibidi script, which the artist studied during his Bachelor of Fine Art at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, Victor Ekpuk’s work borders drawing and writing, furthering the concept of art being an inherently communicative and story-telling medium.

  • A Breakdown of the African Art Market

    Through yet another unusual year after COVID-19 has been introduced into our lives in 2021, the art market as a whole has experienced incredible innovation and a steady comeback after the events of 2020. But how does the impact of artists from Africa and the diaspora fit into this narrative? Pavillon54 provides a breakdown of this year’s major events, and what we can look forward to for the second half of 2022.

  • A Guide to Buying African Art at Auction

    If you are new to the world of collecting art, you may already know that the two primary means of acquiring art are through galleries and auction houses. Perhaps you know a couple of the famous, international names: Sotheby’s, Christie’s… But entering the auction house arena can be an intimidating feat, especially for new collectors. Pavillon54 breaks down 6 ways to ease yourself into the auction market, and what tips and tricks to know.


  • Saint-Etienne Yeanzi's Studio, 2021.
    Saint-Etienne Yeanzi's Studio, 2021.

    Pavillon 54 had the chance to have a chat with Saint-Etienne Yeanzi. born in 1988, he graduated in painting and photography at the “ Lycée d'Enseignement Artistique “of Cocody and the National School of Arts in Abidjan, in 2012.

    Yéanzi, a street art enthusiast, worked as a commissioned portrait painter for ten years. Since 2013, he has been pursuing personal work using melt plastic material. As many other African artists, he doesn’t create such pieces with the intention of becoming ‘Environmental’ artists, but rather, he uses the materials around him as a part of his existing culture and makes a more poignant statement about the effects of capitalism, as well as Western colonialism and consumerism on the African continent. Watch the video of the interview.

  • Metarift features a group of spherical objects clustered together in what seems like a representation of particles like protons in general chemistry that are enveloped by an infinity symbol moving against a black background. A metallic texture adds furthe
    Metarif, a surreal video of 46.5 MB made by mysterious digital artist Pak

    If you’re a lover of art, you have more than likely come across the term ‘NFT’ in the past few months. From the record-breaking sale at Christie’s of Beeple’s artwork Everydays: The First 5000 Days—the first purely digital artwork offered at the esteemed auction house, sold for $69 million—to independent artists raving about the trend, there’s a lot of noise surrounding this notorious topic.The team here at Pavillon54 have compiled some of the most common questions surrounding NFTs, and have provided our clearest, most concise answers. Read on to learn all about this art-world phenomenon that has received so much press coverage in recent months, and why it could be a gamechanger for the African art market.


  • Ayana V. Jackson 'Black Rice' (2019)
    Ayana V. Jackson 'Black Rice' (2019)

    What does the notion of ‘contemporary African art’ refer to today? We have previously published an article on the subject, but now we invite you to consider it from a socio-cultural and collective perspective. What is at stake when we frame or understand contemporary art practices within this concept? Undergoing relevant criticism, this notion still identifies a broad set of practices that have in common their concern to transcend the (danger of a) single story about ‘Africa’ so ingrained in popular culture, and to amend art history canons. Contemporary African art has always been a matter of its time, running parallel with the emancipation drive/calls of a post-colonial generation, refusing to be defined by the weight of the colonial legacy or understood through colonial readings. As such, it is in constant evolution and reflects the hopes and scenarios of a creative community that relates to Africa and its diaspora.

  • Amy Morton at Morton Fine Art gallery
    Amy Morton at Morton Fine Art gallery

    As the one-stop global digital platform and community for art from Africa and the Diaspora, Pavillon54 always seeks to enter fruitful partnerships with artists, curators, collectors, and galleries. It became only natural, then, that for the next step of our development, we partnered with some of the most exciting international galleries that specialise in contemporary African art and share our vision for the African art market.

  • Kojo Marfo’s ‘Dreaming of Identity’

    artworks to create a connection with people, to be a symbol for everyone to relate to
    Artist Kojo Marfo standing in the gallery room of his solo exhibition, with four of his works in the background
    Solo exhibition "Dreaming of Identity' at JD Malat Gallery - from June 10th to July 17th

    With his first solo UK exhibition ‘Dreaming of Identity’ at JD Malat gallery, London, Kojo Marfo (b. 1980) explores the theme of identity through his own experience of migration. The artist depicts human figures with references from Africa, representing his roots in Ghana and Akan’s culture, and from the Western world - representing his travel to New York in the 1990s and his life based in London from 1999.

  • © The Johannesburg Station Panels at Rupert Art Foundation by JH Pierneef
    © The Johannesburg Station Panels at Rupert Art Foundation by JH Pierneef

    To navigate the history of art of a complex, multifaceted and multicultural continent as Africa, especially if you just got passionate about it, can seem like an overwhelming maze. But no worries, we are here to help you. Follow our series of “Artists you should know or watch” in each country, and you could soon almost sound like an expert!

    South Africa has always been one of the continent’s most established art markets. Nowadays, the country continuously flourishes with emerging artists and has a lively scene for galleries, exhibitions spaces, art fairs and auction houses. But what about its artistic roots? From Colonial art, where white South African artists portrayed what was seen as ‘the New World’, spanning throughout the 20th Century and the impact of African forms, and finally getting to the emerging of black artists, South African history of art is surely complex and multilayered, as the country itself.

  • Meet Greatjoy: a “Contemporary expressionist”

    Artists' Spotlight Series - Conversation with the artist
    © Greatjoy in his studio, South-Africa
    © Greatjoy in his studio, South-Africa

    Pavillon 54 had the chance to have a chat with Greatjoy Ndlovu: born in 1993, Greatjoy is a Zimbabwean visual artist living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of the most interesting emerging artists on the South African scene, Greatjoy dynamic paintings are enriched by expressive brush strokes, graphite-drawing and splashes of color. His subject matter is mostly focused on human beings: their bodies, their behaviour, and their emotions. During the past year, Greatjoy explored the impact of the pandemic on our society and created a series of works, displayed on Pavillon 54, focusing on subjects as love, affection and family.

  • Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Nigeria), Oldies and Goodies, 2016-2018. Installation view, Dak’Art Biennale 2018 “The Red Hour/A New Humanity” curated by Simon Njami. Photo credit: The Sole Adventurer.
    Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Nigeria), Oldies and Goodies, 2016-2018. Installation view, Dak’Art Biennale 2018 “The Red Hour/A New Humanity” curated by Simon Njami. Photo credit: The Sole Adventurer.

    With brighter mobility perspectives looming on the horizon, art lovers are probably looking at possibilities to embark on a trip to noteworthy art manifestations. Biennales, Triennale’s, Encounters, you name it, have constituted an unmissable rendezvous’ for those hungry for new trends and seminal creative processes in contemporary art. When the long-standing and established Venice Biennale has increasingly dedicated pavilions to African countries, continental art events/manifestations have contributed to the actual burgeoning of contemporary African art. Some have long been established, such as the Dak’Art Biennale or Les Rencontres de Bamako, when others are a few years old. They do not subscribe to the logic of country representation – as it is the case for the Venice Biennale – and propose new formats of exhibition and artistic exchange, especially in these times which call for alternative gathering frameworks and display models. These events and their multiplicity contribute to the decentring of legitimizing hubs of contemporary art practices.  

  • Credits: Nil Gallery, Prince Gyasi 'Dreaming With Attitude' (2021)
    Credits: Nil Gallery, Prince Gyasi 'Dreaming With Attitude' (2021)

    New-York hosted two art fairs at the end of spring: Frieze New York & 1-54 New York. With fairs and other arty events progressively reopening their doors to the public – much of the display and outreach still took place online. Online viewing rooms or platforms and talks are your co-hosts of choice. What have been this year highlights

  • 7 Established Nigerian Artists You Should Know

    Art scene in Nigeria - Country Focus
    picture of a woman looking at the painting Christine by Ben Enwonwu before the Bohnams 2019 Modern and Contemporary African Art sale in London
    Ben Enwonwu's 'Christine' on view at Sotheby's on October 12, 2019, in London, England. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's

    To navigate the history of art of a complex, multifaceted and multicultural continent as Africa, especially if you just got passionate about it, can seem like an overwhelming maze. But no worries, we are here to help you. Follow our series of “Artists you should know or watch” in each country, and you could soon almost sound like an expert!


    In the past decade, Nigeria's art scene has gained independence and global recognition and has flourished, leading to a renewed interest in modern and contemporary art in the country.  Here we list just 7 of Nigeria's most influential artists that one should know, this list is not exhaustive and could probably include many more artists. But we hope it will  inspire you to research more about this lively and booming art scene!

  • Ramesh Shukla's 50 Years United at Art Dubai 2021, Courtesy of Art Dubai.
    Ramesh Shukla's 50 Years United at Art Dubai 2021, Courtesy of Art Dubai.

    Art world professionals and connoisseurs wait with bated breath for the annual Art Basel x UBS Art Market report each year. This report, one of the most comprehensive in the industry, provides a full assessment of the market’s performance of the previous year, allowing businesses to analyse the current state of the market, and plan accordingly for the years ahead.


    But with such an in-depth document, which covers statistics from art dealer sales, auction house performance, art fairs, online sales and more, it can be time-consuming to read the full report and extract the most essential information. We’ve summarised the key takeaways from the Art Market Report 2021, and have also highlighted some of the key impacts on the African art market from the year 2020.

  • ‘Eclipse of the Scrolls’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery London © Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery
    ‘Eclipse of the Scrolls’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery London © Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

    In the UK, everyone is excited to return to galleries this April as the lockdown rules are lifted! Whether you missed these shows in December, want to visit the new exhibitions of the season, or just want to catch up with what's still online, we've got you covered! Check out our list of the not-to-miss Contemporary African Art exhibitions in London.

  • art gallery First Thursday Cape Town South Africa
    One of the galleries open on First Thursday, downtown Cape Town © travel.sapeople

    One of Pavillon 54’s favourite things to do is to physically visit and scope out the artistic scene in various countries in Africa. This has been hard to achieve during the pandemic, however we fortunately managed to visit South Africa recently, and have already compiled a list of the 7 emerging artists to watch there. In this next instalment of our series on the art scene in South Africa, we highlight the 7 top art destinations in South Africa that every art lover has to experience.

  • The Investec Cape Town Art Fair
    The Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020

    The team here at Pavillon54 has recently had the opportunity to visit this wonderful country, and we’ve rounded up 7 promising artists to keep an eye on. Read on to learn more, follow, and support these artists!

  • Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean with paintings by Tschabalala Self © SWIZZ BEATZ
    Collectors Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean with paintings by Tschabalala Self © SWIZZ BEATZ

    You’ve done your research, selected choice artworks that match your collecting goals and tastes and have officially started your art collection. After you’ve acquired a certain number of paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints - whatever it may be - you may be asking yourself: what is the best way to care for all these artworks?

  • Victoria Rogers. PHOTO BY CHRIS WAGGONER
    Victoria Rogers for CULTURED MAGAZINE [1] © CHRIS WAGGONER

    One of the biggest misconceptions about collecting art is that you must be very wealthy to do so. However, this is simply not the case, as there are plenty of emerging artists and art markets to invest in at affordable prices. Art from Africa and its diaspora is one such example, as its market is still developing rapidly. Collectors can obtain artworks of great quality and investment value at lower prices, and therefore not only contribute to the growth of an incredible movement of artists, but also add an artwork to their collections that is expected to grow in value.


    But diving into the art world and the art market can be a mammoth task. What are the best ways to begin your forays into the art world without breaking the bank, and where can you start? We list some of our top tips for starting an art collection on a budget.

  • Asiko - A black life
    Asiko - A black life

    Africa and its global diaspora have met the medium of photography in all its complexities. From a colonial and ethnographic tool, photographers such as Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta, Jean Depara, Sanlé Sory, Mama Casset or James Barnor embraced the medium along the advent of independence. Often mentioned as the forerunners of African photography – one should be cautious with such statement – they have produced a distinctive body of work – black-and-white photos, staged portraits, documenting style. The enthusiasm proper to the period of independences with its promises of social and individual emancipation stands out of this body of work. The popularity of photography on the continent came with the accessibility to the medium and to an array of modern commodities. Those forerunners speak to a specific moment in time and in a given context – West & Central Africa in this case.

  • Art Styles

    An Introduction to Popular African Art
    Amoako Boafo, Aurore Iradukunda, 2020
    Amoako Boafo's Aurore Iradukunda, 2020

    Art historians and artists of African descent have long highlighted the platitudes of the term ‘African art’. Typically, in the canon of art history, African art has been reduced to masks, votive figures, weapons or tapestries. However, curators, African art historians, and creators have been fighting against this one-dimensional view of African cultural output, in the aims of presenting a diverse and rich African arts scene, as variegated and unique as there are as many countries on the continent.


    Here at Pavillon54, one of our main missions is also to educate and promote the incredible assortment of artistic styles and techniques that can be found in modern and contemporary African art. We’ve highlighted seven popular art styles that are worldwide and universal, already well-integrated in the art historical canon, but here we are presenting it with a unique African twist. How have modern and contemporary African artists contributed to these popular artistic movements, and who are the key players? Read on to discover more!

  • Wangechi Muti, Forbidden Fruit Picker (2015)
    Wangechi Muti, Forbidden Fruit Picker (2015)

    Take a look at our list of the ten most expensive African artists to date, and you’ll see that women take up a significant proportion of the cut—even taking the top place! Unlike in the Western contemporary art market, top female African artists often see great success and prominence in their careers, on par with their male counterparts. In this article, we break down which seven female African contemporary artists are stealing the show, and the ones you should keep an eye on.


  • Corporate art collections:

    Why companies build them
    TD Bank – Mies van der Rohe chairs and Jack Bush’s Rose
    TD Bank – Mies van der Rohe and Jack Bush’s Rose

    Did you know that some of the most prolific, high quality art collections in the world belong to banks? For example, Deutsche Bank, one of the primary sponsors for Frieze art fair, has collected over 70,000 artworks over the years. But why are big businesses and corporations interested in collecting art? And can small to medium-sized businesses follow suit?

  • Liam Booysen, Black Lives Matter
    © Liam Booysen

    Though the Black Lives Matter movement is by no means a new initiative, the outrage and consequent protests that ensued after the murder of George Floyd earlier this year have resulted in a common expectation for brands, museums, institutions, and other businesses to respond and act. Most likely, all of us have seen some kind of news article or social media post about this issue, but how has the Black Lives Matter movement affected the arts, and more specifically the African art scene?

  • Ablade Glover's painting named Ghananian Market Intrigue, 1934
    Ablade Glover's Ghanaian Market Intrigue (2010), oil on canvas, 122 x 122cm

    Read any article on African Contemporary Art, and you will find that most all will steer away from defining what exactly African contemporary art is—and with good reason. With fifty-four countries and cultures making up the continent of Africa, it is almost impossible to pin-point what ‘African’ art looks like, let alone bracket the time period for when contemporary African art began.

  • Yinka Shonibabe, British Library, Tate, Black Artist, Contemporary Art, British Art
    Yinka Shonibare CBE, The British Library 2014 (detail) | © Tate

    As auction houses establish sales dedicated to African modern and contemporary art, galleries look to diversify their rosters of artists, and the African art market continues to grow, it is important to take note of which artworks and artists are performing well. This is especially true if you are hoping to make an investment in African art. Below, we have compiled the top 10 most expensive African artists to date, highlighting which works landed them the record-breaking position, and why.

  • Ethiopia picture girl photography Veronica Alves dos Santos Brazilian artist
    Veronica Alves dos Santos's Confidence - Ethiopia (2018), print on cotton paper, 30 x 50 cm

    Are you a collector, looking to invest in the African art market? Or perhaps you are an artist, wondering where your own work fits within the scope of contemporary African art. Maybe you’re a student, researcher, or even just a fan. No matter who you are, African art spans a whole range of countries, cultures and historical periods, and it can often be challenging to start talking about African modern and contemporary art. With so much information out there, how can you even begin your quest? Here are some simple pointers to get you started.

  • What to know when buying art?

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Buying Art
    Buying art

    The possibilities of buying art grow ever more abundant. Indeed, these days, the dual-swoop of new, innovative digital art galleries and the increasing trend in the wealthy investing in art means that the art market is booming, particularly online. Among those using online platforms are wealthy millennials, many of whom are first-time buyers. If you count yourself among those who are interested in acquiring art for the first time, there are a few important questions to ask yourself before you make that big purchase. Below we’ve listed what to know when buying art, including some of the most important factors to consider.

  • African Contemporary art trending
    Didier Claes booth, AKAA Art Fair, Paris, November 2019

    For all the talk of the ‘African Art Boom’ in recent years, it isn’t always evident why is African contemporary art trending and what this boom entails, how it came to be, or what the future of the African art market is.