Ten things not to miss at RMB Turbine Art Fair 2019

11 Jul 2019
created 09 Jul 2019
Now in its seventh year RMB Turbine Art Fair (July 11-14) has become an annual city fixture bringing together thousands of art lovers to admire and buy artworks from dozens of top local galleries over three wintry days. This year the fair takes place at a new location at 10 Fricker Road, Illovo and promises to be the biggest edition yet.

If ever you had dreams of growing an art collection this is a great place to start, with almost 50 galleries and artist studios presenting works focused on art by emerging artists with a ceiling price of R50,000. Organised by The Forum Company, known for its remarkable events and venues, the art fair is also a fun social event with a packed programme of talks, special exhibitions and installations all complemented by imaginative gourmet fare.

In addition to the outstanding artworks on sale, here’s our pick of ten highlights of this year’s Turbine Art Fair programme that you won’t want to miss:

1. Gregory Maqoma performs at the Turbine Art Fair First Access Opening Preview party

The exclusive opening night cocktail party on Thursday July 12 is a glamorous evening of fine art and food with a live entertainment programme that this year includes a performance by contemporary dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma of his acclaimed new work Exit/Exist (pictured). Tickets for the opening party must be booked in advance online at, tickets cost R750 or R950 for entrance to the party and a weekend pass for all three days of the art fair. 
Gregory Maqoma's Exit/Exist

2. RMB TAF Talks

The talks programme at this year's fair includes discussions on the shifting models of art education in South Africa, the changing nature of art criticism and writing, the varying ways in which new creative hubs and collaborative art spaces are founded and sustained, art’s potential as a form of wealth creation and legacy building, creating art across inter-generational boundaries, womxn in sculpture and equality and ethics in the contemporary art world, as well as an interactive printmaking masterclass with David Krut Projects.

3. Documentary film screenings

At the 2019 fair, on Saturday and Sunday catch screenings of the documentary films Rear Window – Memories of Sekoto which looks at the life, work and extraordinary legacy of Gerard Sekoto and, Billy Monk – Shot in the Dark, a celebration of the 1960s Cape Town photographer Billy Monk whose black and white photographs of dockside nightlife revealed an underground South Africa, untouched by the division of apartheid.
Photography by Billy Monk

4. RMB TAF Walkabouts

Visitors can join in daily walkabouts of the fair on Friday, Saturday and Sunday led by art specialists and cultural enthusiasts. The walkabout programe includes daily children's walkabouts (Fri at 13:00, Sat and Sun at 12:00), the Art That Speaks to Me series with celebrities and cultural commentators sharing their highlights of the fair and walkabouts of the fair's special exhibitions led by the curators who helped put them together.

5. Imbali Visual Literacy Project – Children’s Programme

The Imbali Visual Literacy Project, an arts and crafts education institution based in Newtown, hosts a special children's arts and crafts area at this year's fair where kids can engage in drawing and painting, collage and montage, jewellery making and beading and play dough sculpting.
Imbali Visual Literacy

6. Market Photo Workshop alumni exhibition

One of South Africa's leading photography schools, The Market Photo Workshop was founded in 1989 by world-renowned photographer David Goldblatt and has over the year's mentored some of South Africa's most successful artists and photojournalists such as World Press Photo award winner Jodi Bieber. This exhibition presents works by some of the workshop's most talented alumni.   

7. A Meeting of Minds: Louis Khehla Maqhubela and Douglas Portway

This year leading fine art auctioneers Strauss & Co will be presenting two exhibitions at the fair, one showcasing the works currently on sale in the auction house's online auction and a second focused on two key South African historic abstract artists; Louis Khehla Maqhubela and Douglas Portway. The Maqhubela and Portway exhibition is drawn from private collections around the country and shows how the meeting of these two artists in 1967 profoundly impacted and influenced their style and philosophy. 
Louis Maqhubela, Figure and Bird

8. Dumisani Mabaso exhibition

Look out for an exhibition about the life and work of the late Dumisani Mabaso, a lesser-known artist whose personal story is inextricably linked to the larger history of South African Art. Trained at the famous Rorkes Drift Art Centre in KwaZulu Natal, Dumisani went on to teach and work at the Johannesburg Art Foundation where artists were encouraged to explore expressionism in art and to share their feelings and ideas through colour, texture and form. 

9. Contemporary installations

At this year's fair look out for some special large-scale installations including Jake Singer's Murmuration Series, 2018 and Nkhensani Rihlampfu's impressive work Cognition made from thick rope, wood and metal. 

10. The Graduate Exhibition 

An exhibition specially curated for the event that showcases some of the best post-graduate painting and photography from fine arts departments across South Africa.
Cognition by Nkhensani Rihlampfu

RMB Turbine Art Fair 2019 tickets and open times

This year's Turbine Art Fair takes place at 10 Fricker Road, Illovo. There are various dedicated parking areas at 10 Fricker Rd, 18 Fricker Rd (Maitland building), 24 Fricker Rd (Growthpoint building) and at 26 Melville Rd (GIBS).

The Turbine Art Fair First Access Opening Preview party takes place Thu July 11 18:00–21:30. The fair is open to the general public: Fri July 12 11:00–21:00; Sat July 13 10:00–18:00 and Sun July 14 10:00–17:00. 

Tickets cost R150, R120 online, kids and student R100, R80 online. VIP opening night cocktail party R750. Tickets can be bought online at

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