African art is booming. A year ago, Giles Peppiatt, an expert at Bonhams, said that Africa will be “the China of tomorrow in the art sector” (See African Contemporary Art). And things have accelerated since, with both sales and fairs multiplying. In December, Victoria Mann will hold the first edition of Akaa, an event focusing on contemporary art from Africa, at the Carreau du Temple.
In the face of growing interest from collectors, Sotheby’s has decided to run modern and contemporary African art sales in London from next year.
The NYSE-listed auction house announced in a press release that Hannah O’Leary would head that new department from Britain. O’Learly left Sotheby’s just over a decade ago to join Bonhams, where she organized a number of sales of South African art. The private British auction house was the first to take an interest in the field with its “Africa Now” evenings in London. Bonhams also promoted African artists such as Cheri Samba and Ben Enwonwu.
Marteen Ten Holder of Sotheby’s Europe said in a press release, “The African art scene is thriving, and as our sales develop in 2017, we anticipate that we will establish a significant profile in this field, while also looking to enhance our presence on the African continent.” Hannah O’Leary expressed her enthusiasm for exploring a market that is still little developed.