AKAA | Highlights from the fair’s successful second edition
Speaking to director Victoria Mann, it is very clear that AKAA — Also Known As Africa — is not settling for being a mere addition to Paris Photo week. Although photography features prominently — partly due, of course, to the presence of specialized collectors in the capital this week — the fair stands as a truly independent event. The fair boasts a program that is, in its second year, richer than AKAA’s inaugural edition, with countless talks, performances and special projects on show at the Carreau du Temple. With the homage to the late Ousmane Sow, whose sculptures are on view at the fair’s -1 level, and with the monumental installation Enigma #55 Je suis la seule femme de ma vie by Bili Bidjocka, the fair also manages to truly add to its offering, whilst bigger fairs easily yield to repetition or obvious choices.
As for the art, AKAA relies on quality, and it shows; this year’s presentations are outstanding and, unlikely for an art fair, virtually all booths deserve a detour. By consciously choosing to not represent everything, and welcoming a manageable number of galleries for visitors to truly take in the art, AKAA is almost a restful experience, one that makes room for exciting discoveries. To follow, our highlights from the 2017 edition.
Georgina Maxim at Sulger-Buel Lovell
With works combining weaving, stitch-work and the utilisation of found textiles, the Zimbabwean artist creates objects that evade definition, but that one could think of as deconstructed dresses that open — sometimes literally — a window into the universe of their own creation; “In some ways each work is a tribute to and reflection upon the person that owned the original garment”.
Heal by Georgina Maxim. Courtesy the artist and the gallery.
Houda Terjuman at VOICE gallery
Over at VOICE gallery, visitors can discover a sculpture by artist Houda Terjuman, born in Tangier in 1970. Terjuman’s work consists of a tiny, deconstructed, rootless tree, evoking themes surrounding ecological catastrophes and other environmental issues that affect the African continent.
Houda Terjuman, Untitled (untold stories), 2017. Courtesy the artist and VOICE gallery.
Aïcha Snoussi at Galerie AGorgi
The Tunis-based gallery features an installation by the young artist, consisting of drawings on school notebooks suspended from the ceiling with thin, almost transparent threads. Hidden behind one of the booth’s walls, and shown alongside photographs by Haythem Zakaria and Douraïd Souissi, the installation is one of the most interesting artworks on show at the fair.
Installation view of Aïcha Snoussi's work at Galerie AGorgi. Courtesy AGorgi.
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga at October Gallery
The London-based gallery, one of the first to bring contemporary African art to Europe, features a new painting by Congolese artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga. With the work To Bungi (Do Not Find It), the young painter, born in 1991, explores once again the consequences of the industrialization of his home country, the first international exporter of Coltan, a material used in the production of circuit boards.
Eddy Kamuanga, To Bungi (Do Not Find It). Courtesy the artist and October gallery.
Aida Muluneh at Galerie MAM & Fondation Donwahi
Galerie MAM & Fondation Donwahi are presenting works by the Ethiopian Aida Muluneh. The artist, who is also the founder of the first photography festival in Eastern Africa, the Addis Foto Fest, gives life to a vision of Africa that avoids clichés through her popping, colorful shots.