Galerie MAM, the most influential and established contemporary art gallery located in Douala, Cameroon, invited Bimpe Nkontchou of W8 Advisory to meet with a diverse group of professionals, high net worth individuals, artists and art enthusiasts, to lead a discussion on the current state of the contemporary African art market and how art should be considered as an attractive investment.
The modern & contemporary African art market has grown significantly over the past 10 years, as highlighted by the fact that the number of art fairs and biennales dedicated to this specific market, has doubled – with over 15 fairs operating around the world today with a serious focus on African art, e.g. 1:54 (London, New-York, Marrakech); ArtX Lagos; Johannesburg Art Fair; AKAA (Paris), Art Paris; Art Dubai; Dakar Biennale; Venice Biennale to name but a few of the major ones. The recent advances are also due to the international positioning of a growing number of African artists, like El Anatsui, Yinka Shonibare, Irma Stern and Njideka Akinyuli-Crosby, who have a global reputation.
The talk highlighted the fact that art is considered to be a significant asset class in the west, and that wealth advisors and private bankers play an important role in supporting their affluent clients in building, managing and planning for the long term value of their art collections. The growth of the contemporary African art market is an indication that there are opportunities to invest and earn returns from African art, if collected wisely and with the right advice. The singular message was that collectors should acquire art first because they appreciate the work of the artist, and not solely for financial gain.
There was a healthy and interesting conversation with the audience, as the talk stimulated their interest in considering the benefits of collecting art and also the various approaches to starting and maintaining a collection. Issues around the valuation of African art, as well as management, storage, insurance, and ease of liquidity were also discussed. The other important factor concerning the need to plan for the future ownership of the collection (as a legacy of the art collector), by utilising estate planning methods, was also discussed.
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