We speak to founder of FNB Art Joburg, Mandla Sibeko about innovative initiative, The BMW Young Collectors Co.

A collaboration with FNB Art Joburg The BMW Young Collectors Co. was created to support the South African art market by cultivating a fresh new perspective on arts patronage with the aim to develop a new generation of art collectors by granting exclusive access to the inner-workings of the con temporary market.

The launch of the 40 under 40 exhibition and The BMW Young Collectors Co. comes at a time where people have suffered deep isolation from other people, but also from a tangible cultural community. How do you believe that the pandemic impacted the art community, for both collectors and artists alike? 

The BMW Young Collectors Co. was conceptualised before the pandemic but its launch during this time is a good coincidence because as you’ve said there has been deep personal isolation from others and distance from the cultural community. Across the spectrum the pandemic has caused significant setbacks in the arts’ landscape. Restrictions on gatherings, changes in collector and audience behaviour as well as severe unemployment have all taken a devastating toll on the sector. But we aim to move forward with initiatives such as the BMW Young Collectors Co. in the faith that we will continue to be able to sustain the arts as well as the artists.

In describing a void in the South African collectors’ market, you mention education and experience as a catalyst to fill this with a new and diverse new market. How do you see this evolving and diversifying in the future?

It is our observation, coming from the fair that collectors have historical privilege and are mostly older and of a certain racial group and income bracket. We see education and experience through initiatives such as the BMW Young Collectors Co. inducting a new group of collectors into the market — it may not be immediate but we believe that in the long term, the art community will reap the benefits.

Seeing the engagement during the walkabout with Ashleigh McLean and Igshaan Martin, it was clear that there was a hunger in the collectors for insight and context. Do you believe there could be value in engaging the BMW Young Collectors Co directly with artist and their processes (studio visits, and so on), or is the focus more to collaborate and augment collector experiences through galleries, which champion art within Africa?

It is a mixture of both as the aim is to introduce the BMW Young Collectors Co. to the entire market. For example, earlier this year we hosted a small group of the BMW Young Collectors Co. at Nicholas Hlobo’s studio in Troyeville, and our launch event was a discussion with collector Hoosein Mahomed, followed by the latest event now at Twee Jonge Gezellen, the home of Krone Cap Classique, for the launch of the 40 under 40 exhibition.

One comment that came up with many of the collectors was the fact that art itself, and the context in which it is presented can at time be intimidating. What would your advice be to a new collector, who is passionate but uncertain how to make the first steps?

We’re not in the position to say what is ‘good art’ and what is not. We are community builders and as such our advice would be to visit as many galleries, bookshops and artists studios as you can to determine what it is that appeals to you.

What successes have you seen in the creative community in championing African art in a meaningful way?

Given the on-going global pandemic, FNB Art Joburg has taken the decision to not hold a physical edition in 2021. In place of a physical art fair, FNB Art Joburg is delighted to announce the launch of Open City, a dynamic long weekend of arts + culture gallery programming across Joburg, and run an online fair. Both of these events will take place from 28 to 31 October 2021.

FNB Art Joburg Open City will take place across Joburg’s Rosebank, Parktown North and Parkhurst districts. Open City will be a gallery weekend with a uniquely Joburg flare. The four-day Open City programme will present a line up of gallery activations alongside a robust map of restaurants, bars and cafés to supplement Joburgers’ gallery hopping. In addition, the programme will feature multiple pop-up exhibitions by guest curators — staged especially for Open City. The majority of the weekend’s activities will be free and open to the public — encouraging Joburgers to get out and safely explore and support their city’s arts and culture. The 2021 online edition of FNB Art Joburg will run simultaneously alongside Open City.

Do you foresee the BMW Young Collectors Co. growing to encompass collectors from the rest of the continent of Africa? Do the collectors markets of countries such as Nigeria differ greatly from that of the South Africa market?

Without a doubt we’d like to build the BMW Young Collectors Co. to be pan-African in scope. What that will look like is hard to determine but with the success of our virtual launch it seems that this might be a good direction to take. 

Your favourite moments from the launch of the 40 under 40 exhibition and why? 

There are too many to say! But the arrival of our guests in BMWs from our sponsor BMW Group South Africa was a moment. The tour hosted by WHATIFTHEWORLD affirmed why we do this — to spread education and to give people the space to ask questions about art. The beautiful food by Chef Chris Erasmus was a highlight and the wine and bubbles from Krone, which was plentiful. 

This website uses cookies. By continuing
to use it you accept our use of cookies.