While Brexit continues to pose questions for the UK art trade, British-South African relations could be strengthened after Britain leaves the EU. During her trip to South Africa in August, the British prime minister Theresa May announced a $5bn investment in African economies and post-Brexit trade deals with six countries.
South Africa was among them, although, as Frank Kilbourn, the chairman of South Africa’s leading auction house Strauss & Co points out, the two countries have long enjoyed a “strong trade relationship”. Whether the art market will reap the benefits of May’s deal remains to be seen, he adds.
At Frieze London this year, it would seem South African galleries are ahead of the political curve, showing homegrown talent, many of whom engage with domestic and international politics. The Cape Town-born artist Haroon Gunn-Salie’s sculpture, Senzenina (2018), is on show as part of Frieze Sculpture Park (until 7 October). The work consists of 17 headless, kneeling bronze-cast figures and commemorates the Marikana massacre of 2012, in which 34 miners on strike were killed when police opened fire on them. Read more