Art Forum Africa (AFA) is a discourse initiative that seeks to address matters that concern artists, curators, collectors, governments, art and culture managers, and others that are involved in art in Africa.
The forum is created by Bukola Oye of The Sole Adventurer and Wana Udobang of Wanawana.net.
This maiden edition of the forum proposes to answer the question: “Where Are The Women In Visual Arts?”, which will hold on November 28, 2015 at Ford Foundation, 105 Close, Banana Island-Ikoyi , Lagos.
Where Are The Women In Visual Arts?
Recurring research on artists’ representation in galleries and at art sales shows that women are less visible in the art scene. Female artists are underrepresented in the markets as well as in discourse, and this consequently limits the narrative and the market, and bereaves all of us of female talent.
We are asking the question “Where Are the Women in Visual Arts?”, not because we do not know that there are women producing great art or are involved in the curatorial and management process of art business. We just feel the urge to bring the matter to a broader attention and receive input to the discourse of all who are involved in art. Art blogger Bukola Oye of The Sole Adventurer says ‘We believe that reorientation is a step to progress and having these conversations is a huge part of that process’.
With this maiden edition, Art Forum Africa seeks to ask questions regarding representation, exposure and prominence on women in the visual arts. Co-founder of AFA, Wana Udobang of WanaWana, says: ‘It’s important that women are not written out of the historical narrative in visual arts. It would be doing our future and the future of emerging artists a great disservice. The arts are about story-telling and this also means that we will experience the dangers of shutting out diverse narratives’
A recent auction list revealed that amongst those featured in the 2012 -2013 top 100 auction sales ranked by price, there were no women. At the last auction on contemporary African art by Bonhams in London this October, only 7 female artists were placed in the auction with a total of 51 works by male artists.
In Nigeria, the numbers of women presently in art schools are not impressive. It is even worse that the figure drops further as they move into the creative market. This makes one wonder: unlike other areas in the creative industries, why do women become less interested in visual arts in education and further on in the real world?
We hope that this status quo can be changed if we identify the barriers that are holding women back. Importantly, we want to bring this discussion to the consciousness of decision makers – women AND men – who may be able to bring change.
Art Forum Africa is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Ajeast Group, Bella Naija and Zebra Living.