For lovers in search of discoveries at affordable prices, Paris Photo has frustrated more than one. A victim of its success with a figure of attendance of 60,000 visitors in spite of the difficult day of commemoration of the 11 November, which blocked access to the Grand Palais for up to 12 hours on Sunday, the 22nd, bringing together 199 exhibitors from over 30 countries offered few pieces of emerging artists, therefore below the 5000 to 10,000 euros. The fateful bar beyond which it is necessary to begin to think…

with this in mind, the small fair AKAA (Also Known As Africa) which was held for the third year in a Cage in the Temple -under the direction of Victoria Mann and seconded by a selection committee comprising personalities like the gallery Dominique Fiat!- has pulled its pin of the game. Cancelled in 2015 in the aftermath of the attacks, this show dedicated to artists living in Africa or of african origin was that it was difficult to take off since its launch in 2016. In contrast to that of London, nos 1/54, at Sommerset House, which has seen, in barely five years, to skyrocket, to the point of giving birth to two sisters: one in New York city in Brooklyn, the other in Marrakech. Under the leadership of the dynamic Touria El Glaoui, the first edition was a huge success at the end of February last, in the magnificent setting of la Mamounia.

Painting on cardboard of Adjaratou Ouedraogo (2018) with Anne de Villepoix. Courtesy of Anne de Villepoix

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Bringing together 46 galleries coming from south Africa, Morocco, Senegal, uganda, or Europe, AKAA has gained in quality and readability with the arrival of new brands such as the grand Brussels Didier Claës who made a dialogue between the african masks, with the sculptures and drawings of contemporary Kendell Geers on a stand of black and gold that shines of all its fires. Or, more modestly, as that of the Parisian Anne de Villepoix that sold out in a few moments the whole of his acrylics and pastels on paper Adjaratou Ouedraogo. The artist’s promising Burkina Fasso (born in 1981 in Lome, capital of Togo) with a rating incipient starts at less than 900 euros gives to see hybrid figures falsely naive recalling his harrowing world of childhood.

Amadou Sanogo led his guerrilla art

“I just bring her pieces in my bags and I didn’t know if it was going to take,” says the gallery owner, my collectors rushed. They wanted to pair. Very quickly , there was no more to sell. But I will soon exhibit his large canvases,” adds the one who has closed his gallery near Beaubourg to open a beautiful space, very high ceiling, in a house designed by the architect Ricciotti, in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

The Brussels Didier Claës made a dialogue between the african masks with works by contemporaries of Kendell Geers. Courtesy Didier Claës

Another blow to the heart of collectors: the Ivorian Joana Choumali with his series of amazing poetry, “it’s going to go”, offering pictures of his home city of Abidjan printed on fabric and embroidered with with coloured threads. Small square formats, they are all gone very quickly at 2500 euros a piece, is already a little more expensive than if they had been shown last year at the fair of Marrakech by Loft Art Gallery, a gallery founded in 2009 in Casablanca (Morocco). His new work of dream – pictures larger they also embroidered but covered with a thin layer of silk chiffon, has enjoyed the same success (up to 8000 euros) .

A little later, with Magnin-A (André Magnin), one of the pioneers in the market of contemporary african art, the amateurs have reviewed with happiness the new monumental paintings of the Malian Amadou Sanogo, 41 years of age, which express the quest of the identity of the individual within the african society (count around 18,000 to 20,000 euros for the large sizes). Behind his figures sometimes without a head, it is necessary to know how to read the message of this artist who leads his own guerrilla art, with humour, the face of political stagnation, stupidity, greed and the banality of feelings.

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Amadou Sanogo. Acrylic on canvas. “Place of expression” (2017). 188X160 cm. Courtesy Magnin-A.

Among the rediscovered, the collectors have not failed at Jean Brolly the funds Adama Kouayté, a photographer from mali who opened his first photo studio in 1949 at Kati near Bamako, before leaving in 1964 to settle in Ouagadougou, Burkina faso, and then in Bouaké in the côte d’ivoire. In 1969, it is revinu in Mali to attach to Segou, the gateway to Dogon country. Like Malick Sidibe or Seydou Keita , Adama is part of this generation of malian photographers that has managed to immortalize characters symbolizing the mood of this country, just after independence. But it has not achieved their success. Where prices are still affordable, around 5000 euros.

Between the emerging figures and artists already established, there was a lot of Africa to see AKAA. Fairs like these have helped to give visibility to artists from this huge continent and to create a market that is relayed by the auction which allows you to set their ratings. The study Piasa will take place on 14 November. But it is also through the development of art centres and museums – to the image of the private Al Maaden, the MACAAL, created by the son of the real estate developer Alami Lazraq and opened last February in Marrakech – this field can earn recognition at an international level. Next appointment with the Africa for the second edition of nos 1/54, from 21 to 24 February next, at the Mamounia.