ArtTactic Global Art Market Outlook 2016 – Africa and the Middle East

African art “coming-of-age”; demand for the Middle East continues with spotlight on Iran as economic sanctions lift.

Continuing with our two-part summary of ArtTactic’s “Global Art Market Review & Outlook 2016” report, Art Radar brings you key findings concerning Africa and the Middle East.

Vincent Michéa, ‘Bintou #2, Or series’, 2013, Collage, 21 x 21 cm. Image courtesy Galerie Cécile Fakhoury.

Vincent Michéa, ‘Bintou #2, Or series’, 2013, Collage, 21 x 21 cm. Image courtesy Galerie Cécile Fakhoury.

Rising demand stimulated by auctions

Both Africa and the Middle east saw a rise in 2015. Bonhams’ “Africa Now” auctions at raised USD2.52 million in 2015, up a staggering 53 percent from 2014. The auction house, currently the only global auction house operating in the region, organised three dedicated sales to African modern and contemporary art in 2015, compared to only one annual sale in previous years. The Nigerian auction house Art House Contemporary registered USD1.3 million in sales in 2015, up 10.5 percent from 2014.

In the Middle East, total auction sales (Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams combined) for modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art rose five percent. Both Sotheby’s and Bonhams added new auction sales in 2015, increasing their presence in the region. According to the Report, Bonhams added two London sales focusing on Iraqi and modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art, while Sotheby’s organised a Contemporary sale in Doha and included a selection of Middle Eastern artists in their “20th Century Art – A Different Perspective” in December 2015.

Up until 2015, Christie’s had been the only auction house with a long-term and continuous commitment to Middle Eastern modern and contemporary art through their biannual sales in Dubai, but this is about to change. ArtTactic reveals:

There are signs that both Sotheby’s and Bonhams are increasing their focus on the region. More competition will help increase the size of the Middle-Eastern art market and broaden the collector base.

Roya Farassat, 'Goddess of Freedom' from "A Mirror Has Two Faces" series, acrylic, ink and marker on paper, 9 x 12". Image courtesy the artist.

Roya Farassat, ‘Goddess of Freedom’ from “A Mirror Has Two Faces” series, 2013, acrylic, ink and marker on paper, 9 x 12 in. Image courtesy the artist.

Spotlight on Iran: Lifting economic sanctions

According to the Report, Iranian, Lebanese and Egyptian art dominated in 2015. 75 percent of Christie’s recent sale in October 2015 was accounted for by artists from these regions, while at Bonhams, modern Iraqi artists accounted for 42 percent of total sales.

ArtTactic awards the Middle East a neutral-to-positive outlook for 2016, with a slight downside risk. The research firm’s survey reveals concerns about the market over the next 12 months, with war, terrorism and geo-political tension cited as the main reasons.

The spotlight is however on Iran, where economic sanctions are being lifted. ArtTactic writes:

[The] Iranian art market could see a lift in 2016 […] economists and market commentators expect strong economic growth in the country in the years to come. We believe this could fuel the already active domestic art market, and further strength- en Iranian artists’ position in the international art market.

El Anatsui, 'AG + BA' (detail), 2014, aluminium, copper wire and nylon string, dimensions variable. Photo by Jonathan Greet. Image courtesy the artist and October Gallery London.

El Anatsui, ‘AG + BA’ (detail), 2014, aluminium, copper wire and nylon string, dimensions variable. Photo: Jonathan Greet. Image courtesy the artist and October Gallery London.

African market coming-of-age; auctions to enter

Currently, Bonhams is the only global auction house dedicated to African modern and contemporary art. ArtTactic predicts that on the back of Bonhams’ success, Phillips, Sotheby’s and Christie’s could start to dedicate new sales to the region. The Report awards the African modern and contemporary art market a neutral-to-positive outlook for the next 12 months, stating that:

With prices of high quality African modern and contemporary art selling in the $10,000 to $50,000 range – it offers new and existing collectors an attractive entry into this new market.

Omar Victor Diop, 'Frédérick Douglass', 2015, pigment inkjet printing on Harman By Hahnemuhle paper, 90 x 90 cm. Image courtesy Magnin-A.

Omar Victor Diop, ‘Frédérick Douglass’, 2015, pigment inkjet printing on Harman By Hahnemuhle paper, 90 x 90 cm. Image courtesy Magnin-A.

A notable development in the African art market in 2015 was the arrival of the corporate art collection of Afren, a London-listed oil drilling company, into the market. 100 works of art from the collection was reportedly sold through Bonhams in October 2015, raising an amount of USD575,000.

Another key milestone in the continuous opening up of the African art market was the expansion of leading contemporary African art fair 1:54 to New York. After a successful two editions in London, 1:54 launched its inaugural US fair in New York in May 2015. The fair revealed its exhibitor list for its May 2016 second edition last month. Speaking to Artnet, Julie Taylor, Founder and Director of online South African gallery Guns and Rain, says:

African art is perhaps ‘becoming ordinary […] If ‘ordinary’ equates to securing the independence, recognition, and respect that African art professionals have long sought, then African contemporary art is certainly much closer to coming of age.

Michele Chan

1052

Click here to read Art Radar’s ArtTactic Global Art Market Outlook 2016 – China, India and Southeast Asia

Related Topics: African artists, Iranian artists, Lebanese artistsreports, auctions, market transparency, market watchresource alert

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more key findings from art market reports

Comments are closed.