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“With each year, the fair has gained considerable momentum that has generated respect and prestige for the city of Cape Town as a major contemporary art destination. This is an exciting moment for art, not just in South Africa but globally, as we seek to expand the impact and importance of Cape Town Art Fair.” Tumelo Mosaka, Fair Curator 2017.

This is just one example of the tantalising snatches of conversation floating about at the Cape Town Art Fair (#CTAF2017) held annually at the Cape Town’s CTICC. In situ, I sipped on a perfectly chilled glass of Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, whilst perusing my informative visitor guide to the contemporary art show. Here, surrounded by the creativity of over 80 local and international exhibitors, I submerge myself in the electric atmosphere of the fair.

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Not an artist myself but raised in an artistic family, we value creativity and celebrate art in its every form. I regard artists as national treasures. This niche of insanely talented human beings can endure punishing schedules (often-defying logic) to deliver bodies of work so impressive and inspiring; they literally astound you.

Browsing around the various sections, editions and installations I stopped at a particularly captivating exhibit by Liza Grobler called, ‘Barbed Wire is Exactly Where You Are’. As Alexis, of the Everard Read Gallery was explaining the concept to me, I caught a glimpse of a toddler bumbling her way through the larger than life exhibit. Her smile’s width matched the measure of my trepidation and her mother’s pride. Alexis smiled reassuringly. This is exactly what this exhibit’s purpose is. Looking around, I noticed that there were, in fact, many families at the fair. Nice one!

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Walk and Talk
The program featured thoughtful hiatuses throughout. Performance screenings and a book signing piqued my curiosity. Walkabouts led by art laureates and talks addressing fun topics such as ‘Public-hearted, Public Minded: Building Art Collections for the Future’ captured my imagination.

Next Gen
Art of Listening Workshops hosted by the Cape Town Art Fair were free for children and parents to attend. Educators and artists of the Lalela Project shared their vision at the Watershed, V&A Waterfront. Lalela, a Zulu word meaning ‘to listen’ aims to provide safe, creative hubs for children in disadvantaged communities during the hours following the end of the school day, when they are most at risk of abuse. Lalela’s curriculum aims to empower the youth by employing art as a catalyst disassembling negative belief systems resulting in students visualising a bright, attainable future.

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Art and about…
The illustrious program ran concurrently with the ever-popular Cape Town Art Week (15-19 February). Another noteworthy exhibition is the South African Antique, Art and Design Association expo held over the same weekend at the V&A Waterfront.

In the (highly unlikely) event that you find nothing that moves you or, should you tire of quaffing exquisitely balanced wine, French Champagne or coffee you will, at the very least, pick up the latest trends in Indie fashion (oh, just look at that blouse), hairstyles and most especially – on trend eyewear!

Art, like travel, opens the mind as few other interests do. Mulling this concept over during my visit, I realise that explains my passion for both. Art truly is for all. It defies language and cultural barriers. It can shock, soothe and heal. Most importantly, however, it has the power to inspire.

Visit our Cape Grace App or ask our Cape Grace’s Concierge for their top picks of not to be missed expos and fairs in the Mother City. Contact details: concierge@capegrace.com or +27 21 410 7034.

Cover image courtesy of Cape Town Art Fair.

Blog post by: Amy Knight-Dawson

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