It is truly exciting to have this art fair back in it’s physical form, in an accessible and welcoming environment from May 26-28, 2023. The central theme for the 2023 edition of this fair is ‘co-emergence’, with an evident focus on the ideas of co-operation, collaboration and connecting. The unique partnership of RMB and Latitudes Online has brought together participating artists and galleries that share ideals of celebrating art, nurturing creativity and fostering an exciting ‘art’-focused experience.
“In the context of African art, co-emergence refers to the complexities embedded in the interaction of various cultural and aesthetic influences on the creation and interpretation of African art” – Linda Kachingwe-Sisya, Head of Marketing for RMB and FNB in Broader Africa.
With that all said, we highlight 10 things to look forward to at this year's fair, a shortlist in view of the much anticipated new programme.
1. Partnerships: RMB, Latitudes Online & OpenStudios.Joburg
First up is the exciting partnership between RMB and Latitudes Online. RMB has been no stranger to the arts, sharing a belief in the vibrancy of Africa’s art economy and the need to support and sustain creative communication across the continent. Latitudes will be introducing art events and artists to RMB's existing clientele, opening up an inspiring world of opportunity for artists and collectors.
OpenStudios.Joburg – founded in 2022 by Meta Foundation who operate one of the largest artist studio spaces in Johannesburg, August House, has partnered up with RMB Latitudes Art Fair to give art enthusiasts a rare opportunity to meet the artists in person and see the process behind the works. It's a two-day art feast taking place on Sat, May 27 and Sun, may 28 that will see 11 studio spaces open with more than 150 artists and makers participating. Both events seek to inspire enthusiasm about art and artistic processes, hopefully creating future collectors and patrons. The latter partnership also means work can be purchased directly from artists or from galleries, from a few hundred rands to thousands of rands. Tickets for each event must be purchased separately but buying for both gets you a 20% saving. On Saturday and Sunday a free shuttle will transport ticketholders between spaces, making it super convenient to visit Joburg's exciting art space. Buy tickets here for RMB Latitudes. Buy Tickets here for OpenStudios.Joburg. More details below.
2. An inspiring new Johannesburg venue for art
The physical fair is at Shepstone Gardens – a magnificent three-acre indoor and outdoor venue. This iconic Johannesburg garden has been divided into a curated celebration of art in various exciting themed sections so you will be spoiled for choice.Visitors will be invited to discover and explore art in all corners of the unique venue, as they wander through marble halls, secret gardens and rooftop pavilions. The fair will be split up into six experiential sections:
Latitudes Centre for the Arts (featuring Everard Read Gallery, Gallery MOMO, Goodman Gallery, Imba Ya Sarai Gallery, Kalashnikovv Gallery and SMAC Gallery)
International Galleries Section (Arte de Gema, Dapaah Gallery, Deal Gallery, First Floor Gallery, Kulungwana, MOVART, Suburbia Contemporary and The Project Room)
Mezzanine and Rooftop (ARTCO Gallery, Christopher Moller Gallery, David Krut Projects, Eleven Editions, Jillian Ross Print, Lizamore & Associates, The Gallery, The White River Gallery and TMRW Gallery)
Centre Court (Art Africa, Doyle Wham, Eclectica Contemporary, Gallery 2, Guns & Rain, KZNSA Gallery, Martin Projects, Origin Art, Reservoir Projects, The Melrose Gallery, Thomarts Gallery and WORLDART)
Glass Marquee and Gardens (Artist Proof Studio, Delaney Studio, Spier Arts Trust, The Artists' Press and The Art Room)
Design Store (Kevin Collins, Lalela, Latitudes Limited, LEMON, L'MAD Guillotine, Marigold Beads, Mema Designs, Something Good Studio and Waldman Studios).
3. Exclusive exhibition: ESSAY - A three-way dialogue, presented by Lexus
Essay is an exhibition that showcases a cross generational dialogue through the works of three artists – Sam Nhlengethwa, Katlego Tlabela, and Cinthia Sifa Mulanga. The exhibition explores a dialogue in concept, approach to colour, and line by these artists whose works are linked by the theme of homage. The art market has notably seen a resurgence of interest in the work of Black South African artists, with many contemporary artists drawing inspiration from the artists who came before them. In this instance, Tlabela and Mulanga echo the legacy and themes of Nhlengethwa with a fresh perspective, starting a conversation about the new and old.
4. Local, African and international exhibitors
The primary purpose of an art fair may be to see – or buy – art, and this years fair won’t disappoint. This fair will not only showcase contemporary art from across the country, but will bring exhibitors together from accross the continent and beyond to explore how these diverse aesthetics and cultural influences echo each other in the diaspora and contemporary art world – more than 40 galleries and 250 artists will participate!
Young and established collectors alike will be able to view and buy works by emerging independent artists (some of them are also exhibiting as part of the INDEX Special Projects section of Latitudes), right up to the established artists who are represented by some of the smaller and bigger galleries based in Joburg and abroad. The artists and gallerists present are there to engage in conversations about art, answer burning questions and de-mystify the art world to young collectors. This is the perfect fair to invite curiosity and conversation as the environment offers an inviting, open space to do so.
5. Quench your thirst...
We can all appreciate the finer things in life with the perfect glass of wine in hand. And another great partnership presented this year is with Franschhoek Wine Valley, one of the most celebrated wine destinations in South Africa, who will bring 12 top winemakers to the event. Africa boasts a wealth of creative talent extending beyond the art studio, creating a platform for top chefs and winemakers to share their artistry as well.
6. Creative plating and good food
Sustainable chef James Diack will be producing dishes from organic, fresh and ethically produced ingredients for the duration of the event, much of which is grown on his organic family farm, Brightside.
7. RMB Young Artists’ Playground
The fair has also ensured fun for the whole family to enjoy. RMB Young Artists’ Playground, a dedicated children's creativity programme, features fun and educational art activities for children from the ages of 3-12. The Playgrounnd offers four activity stations: The Zine & Printmaking Corner, The Tech Corner, The Up-cycling Corner and The Playdough Party. All presenting supervised art-related activities for children that are accessible throughout the day and over the fair weekend so that parents and children can enjoy creativity all fair round.
8. Young Artists Exhibition – A look into the future of art
RMB Latitudes art fair encouraged submissions of works of art by young artists between the ages of 5 and 12 to be featured in the Young Artists Exhibition. This exhibition is focused on discovering and nurturing the creativity of young artists from local schools, and encourages young artists to explore their creativity and express themselves through art. By fostering a love of art from an early age, the Young Artists Exhibition aims to contribute to the development of a new generation of artists who will go on to make significant contributions to the art world. It is also an opportunity for young artsits to see their works exhibited and celebrated in a professional and public forum.
9. Art talks & walkabout
Strauss & Co hosts three unmissable conversations at the fair on Friday May 26.
TALK 1 – An educational talk for collectors on understanding how to build a collection with senior art specialist Wilhelm van Rensberg, Senior Art Specialist, Strauss & Co; Arisha Maharaj, Art Specialist, Strauss & Co; Richard 'Specs' Ndimande, Art Specialist, Strauss & Co
TALK 2 — 20 works that define the last decade of art from Africa
Speakers: Azu Nwagbogu, Director, African Artists' Foundation, Nigeria; Alastair Meredith, Art Specialist, Strauss & Co; Michelle Jacques, Chief Curator at Remai Modern, Canada; Sean O'Toole, Arts Writer
TALK 3 — Changemakers & Rule-Breakers, and walkabouts with featured artists
10. Open Studios on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May
The OpenStudios.Joburg event was created and marketed by Sara Hallatt of META foundation that coincides with the RMB Latitudes Art Fair and presents an ideal opportunity to engage with emerging artists in Joburg. This year’s event will include 9 artist studio buildings: Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Lilian Road Studios, Play Braamfontein, Transwerke, Asisebenze, August House, Ellis House, Living Artists Emporium and Victoria Yards. A shuttle will leave from Shepstone on both days and connect people to studios across the city. Open studio events are ideal for perusing art and chatting with artists without too much pressure.
All that's left is to book your tickets and go.
Parking and Transport
Take note. RMB Latitudes is a destination event. There is no parking at the venue. The Fair has a Park and Ride from the Old Edwardian Society, Houghton, where transport will be provided to and from the event.
Hope Road is closed for the duration of the event. If you are arriving in an Uber or a private ride, please have your ticket ready to show officials at the road closure, in order to enter.*
For more info on RMB Latitudes
For more info on OpenStudios.Joburg