A new issue of L’insensé dedicated to Africa was released on November 6th, 2014. Paris Photo had Africa as its theme in 2011, and an art fair devoted entirely to contemporary African art was held in 2013 in London. But how does African photography fare on the art market? Art critic and journalist Camille Moulonguet gives us an overview.
The appearance of African photography nearly coincides with the invention of the medium, but it only began appearing on the art market in the 1990s. The way in which Seydou Keita “broke out” was emblematic of African photography’s short history with the art market.
The year is 1991 in New York. André Magnin and Jean Pigozzi are visiting the exhibition Africa Explores: 20th Century African Art, organized by Susan Vogel at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. There are black-and-white photographs, portraits with the words, “Anonymous, Mali,” written at the bottom. Magnin left for Bamako with photocopies of the pictures. He was taken to see two photographers: the first was Malick Sidibé and the second, Seydou Keita. This is how these photographers, who were previously working as simple studio photographers, entered the art market. And for years, these portrait photographers (Seydou Keita, Ojeikere) and documentary photographers (Jean Depara, Malick Sidibé) have monopolized the market. In 1990, a Keïta photo sold for 50 cents. In 1992, the price rose to 150 euros. Today a signed Keita print is worth between 5,000 and 15,000 euros.
Read the full article in the French verison of L’Oeil.
PHOTOGRAPHERS : LEONCE RAPHAEL AGBODJELOU, AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE, LEILA ALAOUI, MALALA ANDRIALAVI- DRAZANA, KADER ATTIA, SAMMY BALOJI, KOTO BOLOFO, NABIL BOUTROS, FILIPE BRANQUINHO, MOHAMED CAMARA, SEYDOU CAMARA, KUDZANAI CHIURAI, FATOUMATA DIABATE, OMAR VICTOR DIOP, CALVIN DONDO, LALLA ESSAYDI, HASSAN ET HUSAIN ESSOP, SAMUEL FOSSO, WASSIM GHOSLANI, HASSAN HAJJAJ, NERMINE HAMMAM, PIETER HUGO, EURIDICE KALA, KILUANJI KIA HENDA, GERMAIN KIEMTORE, MAMADOU KONATE, T-J LETSA, NAMSA LEUBA, DILLON MARSH, FATIMA MAZMOUZ, FABRICE MONTEIRO, BAUDOUIN MOUANDA, ZWELETHU MTHETHWA, ZANELE MUHOLI, AIDA MULUNEH, YOUSSEF NABIL, DANIEL NAUDE, MATAR NDOUR, MAME-DIARRA NIANG, ABRAHAM OGHOBASE ONORIODE, LAKIN OGUNBANWO, ALAIN POLO, NYANI QUARMYNE, ZINEB SEDIRA, GEORGES SENGA, MARY SIBANDE, MALICK SIDIBE, PAUL SIKA, MIKHAEL SUBOTZKY, GUY TILLIM, IKE UDE, NONTSIKELELO VELEKO, GRAEME WILLIAMS, RALPH ZIMAN.