Investing in Art

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.

  • 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.

  • The use of textile in African art and 7 artists that have mastered it

    What is defined as textile art is art that uses varying materials and fibers to produce decorative, artistic objects. It’s one of the oldest forms of art in history and has played a part in practical and decorative man-made objects for hundreds of thousands of years. Across the African Continent, textile art has played a huge role in reflecting the individual cultures and styles of specific countries and areas.


    Nowadays, many contemporary artists are weaving together a rich variety of textile art in new ways. This list, which is in no way complete, offers a taste of what contemporary artists working in the medium offer.

  • 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.

  • Who is Joy Labinjo?
    Lovers, collectors and dealers of African art have a new rising star to keep their eyes on: Joy Labinjo. The British-Nigerian artist, who paints large-scale figurative paintings, often of black individuals, has leapt to rapid success in recent years, known for her talent in capturing sensitive, independent, contemplative, and vulnerable people — sometimes all in one.
  • 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.

  • Oluwarantimi by Polly Alakija, public art project commissioned by Lagos Government. Photo @Tayo Adeoye
    Oluwarantimi by Polly Alakija, public art project commissioned by Lagos Government. Photo @Tayo Adeoye

    As the second in our series of not-to-miss art destinations when scoping out the art scenes in Africa, we turn to Lagos, one of the leading art capitals on the continent. Lagos boasts a strong artistic tradition. When higher educational institutions were introduced into the country during the 1950s, Nigerian artists began to undermine traditional European-style painting by combining African artistic traditions in their practice, creating a distinct identity. Today, Nigeria hosts one of the largest art fairs on the continent and is home to numerous galleries and cultural institutions. The Pavillon 54 team recently had the privilege of visiting Nigeria and have compiled this list of must-see art spots in its capital city of Lagos.

  • Kuba Cloths

    Their history, and the fascinating technique to make them
    Kuba Congolese traditional dancers in their full regalia
    Congolese Kuba dancers in their full regalia | Credits-Forbes Africa

    Kuba cloths originated in the 17th century in the Kuba kingdom of central Africa, in modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. They are unique for their elaboration and complexity of design and surface decoration. Most cloths are a variation on rectangular or square pieces of woven palm leaf fiber enhanced by geometric designs executed in linear embroidery and other stitches, which are cut to form pile surfaces resembling velvet. Women are responsible for transforming raffia cloth into various forms of textiles, including ceremonial skirts, ‘velvet’ tribute cloths, headdresses and basketry.

  • 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.

  • © 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Aida Muluneh limited edition prints
    The 99 Series, Part 7, 2013 © Aida Muluneh

    The term ‘print’ can often give the impression of a cheap, mass-produced printed piece of paper that doesn’t have much value. However, did you know that some of the most expensive prints by Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso have exceeded a value of millions of pounds? This misunderstood medium has great value in the art market, but when you begin to collect photography or artist prints, there is essential information that should be kept in mind, in order to understand the long-term value of the artwork. There is a lot of specific terminology and factors that may be encountered when trying to acquire such a work, such as ‘limited edition’, an extension to an edition, the number of works in the series, and what this can mean for the value of these prints. Here at Pavillon54, we represent some incredible African photographers and work only with limited edition prints. So, what does this mean for a collector when acquiring a limited-edition print via Pavillon54?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Buying art online
    © Getty Images

    It is undeniable: online art sales continue to grow. According to the ‘Hiscox online art trade report 2018’, the amount of art bought online has shown consistent growth over the past five years. In addition to this, 79% of young art buyers (under the age of 35) expressed that they use social media, especially Instagram, to discover new artists, and 32% of buyers said that social media had a significant impact in their decision to purchase art. This consistent increase in online methods of scouting the art market demonstrates that purchasing art digitally is becoming more prolific. Artech start-ups pioneered the way for making means of buying and selling art online easier and more convenient than ever, however we are also seeing traditional art institutions incorporate online methods of buying art. Regardless of whether one prefers to go with young, innovating start-up companies, or massive auction houses with decades of legacy, therefore, it is irrefutable that art e-commerce is a crucial facet of the future of the art market. Here are three benefits of buying art online that have spurred on this revolution.

  • 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.