Africa First and Gordon Gallery, respectively run by Serge Tiroche and Amon Yariv, have joined forces to bring to bear more than 50 years of combined experience, reputation and market know-how in a new initiative to promote the voices of talented artists from all over Africa and its diaspora. The two have worked closely together for the past decade developing a strong friendship and business relationship that is forged on trust and common values.In view of the pandemic and the temporarily halted Africa First residency program, the two decided to initiate an exhibitions program for emerging and mid-career African and African diaspora artists, in Israel. The program takes advantage of their relative specializations in the Israeli art market and the international contemporary African art scene and presents 5-10 exhibitions a year, mostly solo shows at the 6 Hapelech street location in South Tel-Aviv designed by the renowned Israeli architect Asaf Gottesman.Artists benefit from additional exposure and a sales channel to collectors of contemporary African art in Israel and further afield. Collectors benefit from the privileged positions enjoyed by Gordon Gallery and Africa First in their respective markets, and the Israeli public will be able to engage directly with art that has taken over the international stage by storm.
After being overlooked for many decades, African Contemporary Art has gained immense attention over the past decade, both on an institutional level and in the art market. Global museums and biennales have been scrambling to exhibit and collect black artists from the continent and the African diaspora. Many of them now commend market prices in the many millions of dollars. In the last Venice Art Biennale all 5 prizes went to Black artists and the current architecture Biennale is curated by an African with more than 50% of exhibitors coming from the continent.
Serge Tiroche has been actively collecting African Contemporary Art since founding the Tiroche DeLeon Collection in 2010, an art fund investing globally in contemporary art from developing markets. In 2017, he founded Africa First – a dedicated platform to discover, support and promote the most exciting artistic talents in the 54 countries that make up Africa. Today, his collection of over 550 works by some 180 artists is one of the most visible and reputed contemporary African collections globally. From 2016, he has offered African artists one of the earliest specialized international residencies.
In 2022, in light of the pandemic the program was expanded to include a dedicated exhibition space in collaboration with Gordon Gallery in Tel-Aviv and international collaborations with galleries, art fairs, museums and auction houses all over the world.
We are proud to bring the following 5 artists from the Africa First X Gordon program to the attention of a much larger audience of collectors through this new collaboration with Tiroche auction house. Indulge.
Prudence Chimutuwah (b.1989) is an emerging contemporary visual artist who is fascinated with collage. Her work mainly depicts women and the world they dominate or subordinate to. She is inspired by her gender and how it adapts to the ever-changing socio-economic environment. She has a soft spot for female young adults, especially those who have been through college, and how they are coping with despair and desperate situations. She hopes for her work to narrate, describe and inform the audience on the evolving world of women in patriarchal societies.
Prudence grew up in Chitungwiza and did her primary education there. She was surrounded by sculptors who worked from Chitungwiza Arts Center and near surroundings. Batik and primitive paintings were also a part of the art she initially took in from Chitungwiza art markets. She studied at the National Gallery Visual Arts School from 2009 – 2011 and majored in painting and sculpture. She got introduced to practicing art from high school and was inspired by Seminar Mpofu and Colleen Madamombe, both prominent female sculptors. Her achievements include participating in major group shows at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Wild Geese Art Fair, and other local galleries.
Tega Tafadzwa (b.1985) is a Zimbabwean born artist currently based Cape-Town South Africa. Being born and raised in an artistic family, Tafadzwa began painting from a young age while assisting his relatives in their art studios. After being encouraged by friends and family, he pursued his art studies and exhibited at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, where he had his first solo show. After moving to Cape Town to pursue his artistic career, Tafadzwa found his main artistic inspiration in the face of the immigrant communities in the city. The move from Zimbabwe to Cape Town affected Tafadzwa and his perception of himself as a foreigner and culturally and politically displaced communities at large. The struggle to reinvent and reestablish a life and a career in a new and unfamiliar environment largely inspired the artist. The vibrant portraits reflect Tafadzwa’s admiration for fellow immigrants, who had to go back to ‘ground 0.’ The themes related to the human condition including memories, culture, religion and tradition are omnipresent in his work. Tafadzwa’s work is radiant, hopeful and colorful, filled with symbolism. Through sharing the fates of immigrants and reimagining his own journey, the artist creates a universal visual language which excites and draws the viewer in, inviting us to explore the stories translated onto his canvases. After a series of successful shows in recent years in South Africa, Miami and Switzerland, his vibrant pieces have captured the imagination of collectors across the African continent and further afield.
Tafadzwa Masudi (b. 1988) started painting at an early age in Harare while assisting a family friend who introduced him to the visual arts. In 2010 he moved to South Africa and started working in a clothing factory until 2020 when he was laid off. He took the opportunity to start painting full-time and soon his work featured in group exhibitions at galleries in Cape Town. “Circumstances forced me to leave my country of birth and become a migrant. I relate to people who had to travel elsewhere to create a better life and this is what I currently paint. Images that show their sense of self, their dreams and their aspirations.” His brightly coloured paintings depict scenes filled with balloons, people and patterns. Observed through the lens of a migrant person existing in a foreign land, the works reflect on optimism and the pursuit of a better future.
Feni Chulumanco (b.1994) was born in Eastern Cape and moved with his family to Langa Township in Cape Town at a young age. Whilst studying at Isilimela Comprehensive High School he met Miss Nkunzi, the Art, Culture, and Design teacher who encouraged him to pursue his evident skill and passion for the arts. In 2014 Chulumanco met the artist Ayanda Mabulu at Greatmore Studios. This significant encounter led to him being mentored by Mabulu as well as interacting with a wide variety of established artists at Greatmore. In his paintings Chulumanco focuses on the depleted human figure, encasing them in glass boxes contextualizing the idea of individualism. Inspired by his own individual journey and personal growth, Chulumanco takes the viewer on a rich visual journey allowing one to focus on our own identity, self-worth, and sense of fulfillment.
Treasure Mlima (b.1999) was born in Durban South Africa a “Modern African Child raised by the internet” perfectly summed it up, the journey of self-discovery through art and a step into spirituality. Self-taught? Debatable I had visual arts as one of my subjects in high school. That’s the furthest institutionalized education in the arts I’ve received. A bulk of my knowledge has been drawn from the internet, for example medium and historical art figures. I live with the concept of trial and error and this is what people will be exposed to.
“You can never experience me the same way” I feel this inner voice with my creations. I cannot be boxed in and I’m not looking to tell the “African Story” in the sense of preserving diluted/contaminated history, well at least how everybody expects me too. I’m a Modern African Child and everyday it’s something new just like the next person. My art is for anyone who sees value in it. Private collectors have pieces of me that will continue until I’m no longer here and maybe then the Treasure will be found, and it will make sense. “Never get tired of saying Thank you, Never be too proud to say I’m sorry”.