Saturday, 28 May 2011

The African Arts Trust |

The African Arts Trust

The African Arts Trust is being established to support the careers of emerging artists working on the African continent. It will be principally grant making, working with locally managed agencies. One of its main aims will be to increase awareness of African arts outside Africa. It will focus on creating the resources, from studios and exhibition space to materials and markets, that enable artists to forge independent careers. It will also support exchange programmes and residencies.

The Trust will not begin to consider applications for funding until the autumn of 2011. In the mean time it will undertake an intensive research programme to identify the fairest and most effective means of operating.

Sotheby's Auction in aid of The African Arts Trust

On 3rd and 4th November 2010, Sotheby's held the landmark sale of The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art in aid of The African Arts Trust which realised a remarkable total and exceeded all pre-sale expectations.

Here is a short video by Oli Kember filmed in the run up to the sale, giving an insight into both the collection and The African Arts Trust.

The African Arts Trust from Oli Kember on Vimeo.

The collection demonstrated Devereux's unique vision of the innovation and diversity that has characterised British Art over the last 60 years and presented a dynamic group of works by artists such as Antony Gormley, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Patrick Heron, Sean Scully, Leon Kossoff and Alan Davie that demonstrated the distinctive styles which have emerged from across Britain since the Second World War. The sale also included exciting examples by a younger generation of artists, some of whom had never appeared at auction before, such as Turner prize nominee Goshka Macuga. Devereux explains that he is particularly interested in British Art 'because it's the country I live in, it's the culture I know. I'm particularly interested in the artists that are in my community, and that will never change…'

Amongst the highlights was Sean Scully's Wall of Light Orange Green from 2005, which achieved a fantastic result. The idea for Scully's Wall of Light series was sparked by a trip to Mexico in 1983 in which he visited the ancient architectural ruins of the remote Yucatan region and was instantly captivated by the diverse and dynamic effects of light refracting off the area's crumbling walls. The collection also included a particularly strong group of the so-called School of London artists, such as Frank Auerbach's Head of Paula Ayles, a superb impression of Lucian Freud's etching Girl Holding her Foot and Leon Kossoff's Head of Chaim, a striking portrait of the artist's brother.

Excitingly, several new world auction records were set including one for Ian Davenport's Poured Lines: Primer, an outstanding example of Davenport's distinctive technique of pouring paint directly onto a chosen surface. Since his work earned him a Turner prize nomination in 1991, Davenport has refined his characteristic technique and developed a brighter, more vibrant palette, clearly evident in Poured Lines: Primer, which dates from 2006. This brighter palette is evident in his large scale commission on Southwark Street Western Bridge near Tate Modern in London. New world auction records were also set for artists such as Roger Hilton, Bryan Wynter and Sandra Blow.

Following the buzz that surrounded the sale, work has now begun on setting up The African Arts Trust, in order to ensure that the proceeds of the auction are used to assist the organisation's grant making in the most effective and beneficial way possible. The trust is currently applying for charity status and has begun talking to potential collaborators both in the UK and in Africa. From the research we have undertaken so far we predict an exciting year to come in terms of the organisations it will be able to support.

If you wish to get in touch with The African Arts Trust then please contact the administrator by email-

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