Art Accra is a premier international art fair opening with a debut from Dec 8 – 10, 2016 in Ghana. The fair is designed to exhibit the best of art from across the globe with over 25 galleries, and a 3 day program of engaging workshops.
The fair will serve as an art economic hub attracting art collectors from both the continent and visiting from beyond Africa. In addition, Art Accra will provide an immersive experience, set on the beaches of La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra.
I recently chatted with the Founder and Managing Director of Art Accra, Sharon Obuobi.
Tell me how Art Accra came about. What was the thought process when deciding to create this?
Art Accra started from a desire to impact the world using my background in business and a passion for the arts. I had tried different avenues to pursue a career in the arts, and after realizing that I had to stop asking permission from the world and just be brave. So I began to ask myself how I would impact the world if I had the resources to do it, and that's how the idea for Art Accra came about.
Why is Art Accra so important to the continent specifically Accra? What is it necessary that we have a global art fair like this one?
Art Accra is important because we are offering Africa the opportunity to contribute to the global art market in a bigger way. As a global art fair we are advancing the art market in West Africa, and establishing a stronger link between Accra and the globe. Many of the established African artists we know had to emigrate elsewhere to have access to more opportunities. We want to change that by serving as a connection between art collectors, dealers and artists on the continent.
Art Accra is opening in December, what is your vision for it? what do you want people to take away from it?
Our vision is to leave a lasting impression on attendees and collectors, with an immersive experience that gives participants view into the global art landscape. For international galleries and collectors visiting Accra, we want to present the city as a tourist destination and showcase the rich cultural arts we have.
What are some of the challenges you all have faced through the planning phase?
It's been a long planning phase leading up to this point. We worked on the foundation for at least a year before publicizing and officially announcing Art Accra this May. Our challenges are what you'd expect, from logistical to financial, but it's been a great learning experience in problem solving. I expect the challenges so I don't let them keep me down. It helps that I'm passionate about this and the impact it will make.
What are the responses you've received from the community? has it been positive/negative?
It's funny, people often tell me how brave I am for creating such an "ambitious" project. But for me, there's no other way. It's worth a try. We are doing everything I can to make it happen. We have had a lot of positive feedback and it's exciting to see that the community is looking forward to our opening.
How will Art Accra impact + benefit local artists?
Art Accra will benefit local artists by giving them access to a wide range of international galleries visiting Accra to engage with collectors and influencers. It's a great opportunity to get to know these galleries and build connections. It's also an excellent chance to see the kind of work being exhibited on a global scale. Our program of panels will explore pertinent topics of discussion in the arts. So it's also a chance to ask questions and engage in critical conversations about art.
How can people participate in this and support Art Accra?
Anyone can participate by purchasing our official t shirts and tote bags to support us, particularly as we get this off the ground. We've partnered with artists Neals Niat and Dennis Osadebe to create fashionable items that you'll be proud to wear and share.
If you're able to visit Accra or are in Accra, be sure to attend our gala and the fair. The gala will be recognizing top influencers in the arts. Follow us on social media for exciting updates on Instagram (@artaccra), Twitter (@artaccra), and Facebook (Art Accra).