On a panel at the March 25 event, Hannah O’Leary, head of Modern and Contemporary African art at Sotheby’s, said: “Contemporary African art is now a more mature and more established market and is here to stay. We have broken through to the mainstream.”
The continent of Africa contributed $13bn to the global art market in 2018 which is predicted to rise to $15bn by 2023, according to a report by Statista.
But there is a lack of established infrastructure for the art market on the continent: from art market lawyers, insurance firms and advisers to available finance and investors.
However, auction prices for African artists have continued to grow and some art dealers from the continent have already expanded into Europe.
Last year Addis Fine Art, which has an established showroom in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, moved into an expanded premises in London, a two-storey gallery space in the heart of Fitzrovia at Eastcastle Street.
The dealership, which specialises in Modern and Contemporary art in Ethiopia, was founded in 2016 by Rakeb Sile and Mesai Haileleul.
Among the fairs focused on the sector, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returned to Paris earlier this month at Christie’s on Avenue Matignon. The event, that ran from April 7-10, featured 23 international exhibitors presenting more than 50 artists from Africa and the African diaspora.