South African artists present a unique South African identity to the world, and the high prices many local artists fetch internationally are testament to the growing interest in the calibre of local artists – as well as in that identity.
For over two decades the Bag Factory in downtown Joburg has helped develop South African art with residency programmes in its 16 studios, where both young and experienced artists can collaborate, share ideas or simply inspire each other.
Led by the FNB Joburg Art Fair, South Africa is becoming something of a home for contemporary art from across the continent and the African diaspora. Joining it are another Joburg fair, as well as a Cape Town outing and a permanent gallery.
A pair of creative philanthropists has come up with the concept of iExist, through which the big questions are explored in art. But the driving force behind the project is to help the less fortunate through auctioning the works of art made under the iExist banner.
• Mandela exhibition goes to Paris
An art auction in May 2008 saw a new record price set for a painting by Russian-born Vladimir Tretchikoff, who lived in South Africa for most of his life.