The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Style + Substance

Cape Town Art Fair 2016

Showcasing the best contemporary African art — and building a market for it across the world.

Since its inception in 2012, the Cape Town Art Fair has stoked the fire for international interest in modern art from Africa. But it doesn’t stop there. By showcasing the top talents from both the continent and its diaspora, and exposing them to new audiences, the fair aims to further establish a sustainable market for arts across the continent. “The cultural economy in Africa is huge,” says fair director Matthew Partridge. “Our job is to consolidate it and give the world a chance to see what it’s about. 

“So often we are informed about what contemporary art in Africa looks like by the rest of the world,” he continues. “The match of impressive curators we have on board means that we can resituate that conversation here and take ownership of the way that the world sees us and how we project the future of contemporary art.”

As anticipation builds for the fair’s fourth iteration — to be held Feb. 19-21, 2016, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre — we present a sneak peek at the work of three artists from East Africa slated to show. For more details, visit

Tamrat Gezahegn


Tamrat’s work is rooted in the study of the cultural practices of traditional societies of Africa, in particular the people of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. His improvisational painting style stems from his exploration of how traditional wisdoms can manifest in contemporary choices of visual expression and lifestyle. Tamrat graduated from the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design with a BFA in painting, and he is a founding member of NAS Studio and Netsa Art Village in Addis Ababa. He has taken part in numerous group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Sidney Mang’ong’o


Sidney began his art career in Kibera, a neighborhood of Nairobi, and — after working from the Kuona Trust Centre for Visual Arts for five years — he now has a studio on the outskirts of the city where he got his start. His work is an experimentation with mixed-media collage, developed using a labor-intensive process of layering found imagery, political jargon and textures to create a narrative about the people and pop culture he encounters.

Dawit Abebe


Since graduating from the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Art and Design in 2001, Dawit has been an artist-in-residence at the Habesha Art Studio in Addis. Of his series “Background” (shown here), he says, “One of the inspirations for this series is that more lay behind me than immediately in front of me, and that appearances almost never present or represent what the backstories have to reveal.” His solo and groups exhibitions have spanned across Ethiopia and to Tanzania, France, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.