As its names implies, AKAA, whose acronym stands for Also Known As Africa, is an art and design fair. Its was created in 2016 and the show is since held annually in November in Paris. AKAA is a 4-day event very popular. As a matter of fact, it welcomes every year more than 15,00 visitors: collectors, professionals, art lovers and simply curious. They all gather in a friendly and positive atmosphere to admire and purchase thousands of artwords. Indeed, AKAA is renowned for its quality and its sharp gallery selection. The fair showcases a wide range of mediums, from paintings and sculptures to video installations and textiles. Some artists are on hands to meet the public and share their ideas. Talks and discussions, as well as meeting with curators, journalists, writers and musicians complete the offer of this vibrant art fair. Attendees of AKAA may also be interested in visiting 100% Design South Africa.
Victoria Mann shares her views!
Director AKAA – Art and Design Fairr
Carreau du temple
4 rue Eugène Spuller
November 2021: TBA
General Admission: €16
Reduced Rate: €10
Children under 12: Free
Director AKAA – Art and Design Fair
What would you say is the DNA of AKAA?
The intention behind AKAA, is to offer a platform, both commercial and cultural for artists whose work or artistic intention shows a link to the African continent. Far from the idea of talking about African art and therefore reducing artists to a geographical region of the world boxed in by borders, AKAA is a space for artists, art professionals, art collectors and lovers to dialog, encounter, and contribute to the rise and strength of contemporary art scenes from Africa and beyond on the french art market place.
What type of galleries are chosen to exhibit, and why?
Our exhibitors are selected by a committee of art professionals whose experience and knowledge of these art scenes allow for a strong group of artists. We encourage galeries who collaborate with artists who work and live on the African continent, with diaspora artists who explore their heritage in their practice, and with artists from any nationality or background who claim a link to Africa, to participate. Over the past editions, AKAA has forged its identity on the Paris art market place as a fair of high quality and discovery.
What is the price range of pieces? Who is the average buyer?
There is a wide range of prices available, starting between €2,000 and €5,000 and going up to €80,000. This allows for different types of buyers. We’ve seen artists acquired by important private and public collections, as well as young collectors and spontaneous buyers making great acquisitions, able to indulge in a “coup de coeur” as we would say in french.
“AKAA is a space for artists, art professionals, art collectors and lovers to dialog, encounter, and contribute to the rise and strength of contemporary art scenes from Africa and beyond.”
AKAA © Teller Report
Who is the typical attendee of AKAA?
We welcome many different types of public, and that melting pot of attendees is part of what makes AKAA one of the most dynamic and pleasant fairs to attend. We welcome many collectors and institution from all over France and Europe and the world. Many art professionals come every year to the fair, and you can often be witness to reunions and new encounters. First time visitors venture to AKAA and end up staying longer than anticipated as well as locals from the neighborhood of the Carreau du Temple. And of course AKAA wouldn’t be what it is without the many artists from all over who show up all fair week long and are eager to speak of their work and create new dialog.
What strategy – physical as digital – will you adopt in medium to long term?
An important question, especially as we are challenged by a world pandemic which has altered our interactions a great deal. I believe its is most important to find the right balance between physical and digital. Digital solutions are becoming today unavoidable. However keeping physical interactions and connections alive are just as crucial. Our intention at AKAA is to work on a the right balance, offering ways to connect with the art and artists both through digital channels and physical ones, all the while keeping the strong energy one gets from being part of an artistic community. Perhaps the key to this, physical or digital, is live interactions.
Do you have anything to add to this interview?
I am delighted to announce a new AKAA project in collaboration with Manifesta, in Lyon, France. AKAA is launching a new format : a curated experience titled Emancipated Imaginaries, bringing together 12 to 15 artists selected by Armelle Dakouo, AKAA Artistic Director. This new curated long term fair project, opens in Lyon on April 29th and will last through June 26th. Talks, artist encounters, curated visits, both physical and digital will take place all through out and a digital collector book will ba available on demand.
What are two other art fairs you would suggest?
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