The African Art Book Fair launches
By Olivia Snaije
The first edition of the African Art Book Fair launched May 4th, running alongside Dak'Art, Africa's largest art biennial held in Dakar, Senegal. It is the first book fair of its kind and brings together international independent publishers, magazines and cultural enterprises all of which focus on art, photography, design, experimental music and open culture.
Held in Dakar's bookshop Librairie aux 4 Vents, exhibitors include the prestigious US photography magazine, Aperture, the Franco-Senegalese magazine Afrikadaa, but also Mosaïque magazine from Cameroon, Diptyk, from Morocco and Ayiba magazine from Nigeria. South Africa is well represented, with Chimurenga, a pan-African magazine of art, politics and more, Art South Africa, a publication about contemporary arts in Africa, and the media site Africa is a Country. Kenya is present with the literary network Kwani Trust, which is dedicated to the growth of contemporary African writing, but also with Contact Zones Nairobi, a partnership with the Goethe Institute which publishes a series of books on the intellectual and artistic scene in East Africa. Dakar-based Amalion, which publishes in French and English seeks to broaden understanding about Africa via literature, art and academic writings.
A program of talks has been organized around very concrete themes such as the future of the book trade and international book fairs but also on subjects such as how artists’ books can evolve to other art forms, graphic design and curating, or cultural production in southern territories.
What with the dynamic literary and artistic output from Africa and an African art boom on its way, the African Art Book Fair's arrival is an auspicious event.