Art Fair Review: AKAA (Also Known As Africa) – Paris, October 2023
The culturally vibrant city of Paris played host once again to the illustrious AKAA (Also Known As Africa) Art Fair this October 2023, and it is with great pleasure that I recount the festivities, the art, and the conversations that unfolded within those gallery-laden walls.
First and foremost, applause is due for Victoria and her team who curated an outstanding fair. Their effort to marry diversity and quality has not gone unnoticed, as they successfully showcased an array of works from both established and emerging artists. The consistency of excellence has become a hallmark of AKAA, which was further exemplified in this edition.
Opening night was an affair of reunions and dialogues, where the air buzzed with artistic discourse and appreciation. It was a particular delight to engage with Soly Cisse, whose dynamic approach to art was as thought-provoking as it was aesthetically enchanting. Similarly, the warm exchanges with Barthelemy Toguo, Delphine Diallo and Sanda Amadou enriched the evening, tethering the bonds of the art community ever tighter.
Among the plethora of exquisite works, April Bey presented by 193 Gallery was the standout for me. As a Miami resident, discovering April’s work, with the Bahamas being a mere stone’s throw away, was a revelation. The gallery’s overall activation at the fair was not just appealing but intellectually stimulating, blending cultural nuances with provocative artistry.
Fisheye Gallery’s Delphine Diallo also captured imaginations, showcasing the intriguing convergence of AI and traditional art forms. Her work resonated deeply with our own research at AfriKin, underscoring the innovative fusion that is rapidly characterizing the contemporary art scene.
The Cameroonian booth’s captivating presence was a testament to the fair’s commitment to geographical and cultural diversity. Additionally, it was gratifying to see Nigerian artistry in the spotlight with O’ DA’s presentation of Obinna Makata’s work. Our enlightening interview shed light on Nigeria’s burgeoning art scene and their ambitions to expand their footprint in Western art fairs.
The work of Pecou at the Backslash gallery reminded us of the creative energies that pulsate through Miami, stoking our anticipation to perhaps include one of his pieces in the AfriKin Private Collection. While Galerie 38’s absence was noted, Abdoulaye Konate’s presence was well represented by the esteemed Italian gallery Primo Marella, revealing the depth of Konate’s influence and Marella’s impressive collection.
In summary, the AKAA Art Fair was an extravagant, enjoyable, and intellectually stimulating event, confirming its status as one of the most cutting-edge fairs on the global stage. The anticipation for AKAA’s new venture in Los Angeles come May is high, and while Miami would have been an adored location I expressed to Armelle, the choice of LA is a compelling one. The team’s intuitive understanding of time and place promises yet another successful expansion of this art fair.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to the entire AKAA team for a remarkable experience. Your dedication and passion for art from Africa and the African diaspora are not only shaping conversations but also enriching the global art community with invaluable perspectives.
On behalf of Team AfriKin, we extend our deepest gratitude and affirm our continuous support—One Love!
Join us at the Next Frontier of Art and AI during Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach.