The emirate remains a magnet for artists and collectors from Asia through to Africa. “It’s important for the gallery to look east across the Indian Ocean, rather than always to Europe or America,” said Danda Jaroljmek, founder of Nairobi’s Circle Art Gallery. Sales at her gallery have quadrupled since September thanks to collectors having spare time through lockdowns, she said.Details
Art contemporain : face au Covid-19, le virage numérique des galeries africaines | Le Monde | Roxana Azimi
De fait, partout où un marché local s’est plus ou moins structuré, les galeries ont réussi à tirer leur épingle du jeu. « L’annulation des foires nous a privé d’importantes sources de revenus et surtout de networking, admet Danda Jaroljmek, directrice de la Circle Art Gallery, à Nairobi. Mais en nous recentrant sur les acheteurs kényans, on s’en est sorti. Finalement, 2020 fut meilleure que les huit années précédentes ! »Details
Kenya’s first online art auction almost sells out, brings big relief to industry | by Kari Mutu | The East African
Circle Art Agency set a record in October as Kenya’s first art online auction. The agency has been hosting annual auctions of modern and contemporary East African art since 2013 and has attracted international buyers and a growing base of Kenyan collectors.
This first virtual auction was a small event, with just 37 lots of mostly secondary market and modern works. However, it achieved a 90 percent sell-out rate and recorded Ksh14 million ($128,182) in sales.
“In spite of a difficult year, the East African art market is stable and growing,” said Danda Jaroljmek, director of Circle Art.
Danda Jaroljmek, director of Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, was feeling the effects of art-fair fatigue when she first heard of Cromwell Place. “The fairs are excellent for meeting new people but they’re intense and it’s all about selling because you’ve paid such a lot of money to attend,” she says. “You don’t have the luxury of sitting down.” … Cromwell Place is a flexible, cost-effective solution to this problem. … For Jaroljmek, the chance to gain access to top dealers and collectors in London was too good to miss. But it’s important to her that there are enough like-minded galleries, both contemporary and non-western, in the mix too.Details
In Conversation with Agnes Waruguru: A Dedication Time for Thinking and Doing | Contemporary& | Mearg Negusse
C& spoke with Nairobi-based artist Agnes Waruguru about her first solo show, recently on display at Circle Art Gallery.
Small things to consider, the first solo show of multimedia artist Agnes Waruguru, showed from September to October 2020. We spoke with Waruguru about her experimental use of materials and about the intimacy of transforming them into specific observations and memoryscapes relating to her environment, as well as why it was important for her to create a show that felt approachable.Details
Though the commercial art gallery scene is small and remains challenging (Asni Gallery, one of Addis’ stalwarts, recently shuttered), the growing local and international exposure is starting to pay off. “It’s important that we have a younger generation of Ethiopian artists at the auctions because we are attracting a lot of new buyers,” said Danda Jarolimek, a Nairobi-based curator who runs the annual East Africa Auction. “Those who have been collecting Nigerian, South African or Ghanaian art may not know huge amounts about East Africa, so it can be a starting point to learn about a new market,” she said over a phone call.Details
Founder of the Circle Art Agency in Nairobi, curator and ex-artist herself, Danda Jaroljmek is one of the most eminent figures in the East African art scene. We sat down with her to talk about her 20 years of experience in the visual arts in Kenya, from artistic organisations to the artists themselves.Details
Some artists in the region are hoping the international attention will help them get recognition. With growing interest from international auction houses and a flourishing gallery scene at home, East African art is catching on with global collectors and a new generation of local buyers. The region may lag behind the continent’s art powerhouses like South Africa or Nigeria, but experts say art in the region has attracted increasing interest in the past few years.Details
The Seventh Annual Art Auction East Africa took place last night at the Raddison Blu Ballroom in Nairobi. It featured artworks that Circle Art Gallery founder-curator Danda Jaroljmek had assembled, drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt and Congo.
One special feature of this year’s art auction was that nearly half the artworks were by Kenyans. There were 70 lots in the auction, with no less than 30 Kenyans represented.Details
‘The Idea Here Is to Go Big’: Galleries at the Art X Lagos Fair Work to Cultivate Africa’s Largest Economy. Against the backdrop of impending recession, the event is on a mission to become the preeminent contemporary art fair on the continent. From a purely statistical standpoint, Lagos seems like a perfect destination for an art…Details
A large painting by Cartoon Joseph sold for $3,500 in the recent East African art auction, where a fierce battle between two anonymous telephone bidders pushed the price of an original work by Eduardo Said Tingatinga to just over $54,000; six times its estimate … It is believed to be a world record price for Tingatinga at auction, and is the single highest sale price for any lot in the six auctions held so far by the Circle Art Agency of Nairobi.Details
The gallery takes away my breath. I stop on my tracks and turn my head to take in the magnificence, my backpack slung on my right shoulder. Everything is sparkling white: the walls, the floor, the doors. As though that doesn’t cut the picture well, little florescent tubes illuminate the entire place white – it’s like I walked onto the set of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies video. If you aren’t keen enough, you’ll miss seeing the corners.Details
“We’ve seen a big increase in local buyers and also interest from outside of Kenya.” Danda Jaroljmek says. “The gallery is regularly contacted by international collectors who want to know more about the African art scene and which artists they should be paying attention to. Artists we work with have been offered quite a lot of opportunities to show outside of Africa, and on top of that the artists themselves have been more active in looking for opportunities to show … “They see themselves not just pigeonholed as African artists, but as contemporary artists who want to be seen globally and are addressing issues that would be of interest anywhere in the world.”Details
They say the best way to test the financial value of a work of art is to send it to auction. Let the market decide; the market is always right, the argument goes.
That is probably true as long as you do not confuse market value with artistic worth. I always think of the comment by Oscar Wilde… “A fool knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Also, it is an odd fact that sellers send work to auction believing it will attract the highest price, while buyers trot along hoping for a bargain.Details
Samit Gehlot, a collector in Nairobi whose family owns safari lodges, health clinics and a construction business, said he started going to pop-up shows and auctions of contemporary African art organized by Circle Art Agency three years ago. He started researching the globe-hopping exhibition resumes of several local artists he liked—including Cyrus Kabiru, who is known for taking self-portraits wearing outlandish homemade sunglasses—and then Mr. Gehlot started buying, a lot.Details
Why the “African Perspectives” Section Is the Number One Reason to Visit The Armory Show | Artsy | Isaac Kaplan
While crucial, it’s one of many. “I think the idea that there’s an African identity or there’s something African artists are addressing in particular is troublesome,” Danda Jarolmek, director of Circle Art Gallery, told me. “It doesn’t really exist.” The gallery represents artists from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan, five distinct countries in East Africa. “In some countries, all the artists have come out of the same art school. In some countries, there are no art schools.”Details
Why is African art at the Armory Show so friendly and welcoming? | Conceptual Fine Arts | Stefano Pirovano
“There isn’t much infrastructure yet, but the local art community is vibrant and the base of collector is rapidly growing” told Cfa Danda Jaroljmek, director and founder of Circle Art Agency, a Nairobi-based contemporary art gallery that represents artists from across the region – Uganda, Etiopia, Sudan and Tanzania. “Every year we organize an auction – she continues -, it helps to build up the local market and to create our own audience”. Among the main African contemporary art collectors she mentions Sindika Dokolo, but her gallery can count on supportive foreigner collectors too. “They are generally people with business interests in the area” says Jaroljmek.Details
Meet the Dealers: Circle Art Agency Connects Nairobi to New York and Dubai With Cutting-Edge Video Art | Artspace | Karen Rosenberg
It’s a brave move for a dealer making her New York fair debut, in the Armory Showno less, to fill her booth with video art. After all, video demands more time from the already distracted collectors at this mega-fair and is generally a tougher sell. But Nairobi’s Circle Art Agency, in the Armory “Focus” section of galleries from Africa, has a confidence that comes from founder Danda Jaroljmek’s two decades in the world of African art—first with nonprofit organizations such as the Nairobi artists’ studio network Kuona Trust and then as an impresario of pop-up shows and auctions.Details
The scene could easily be set at the dapper auction houses of London or New York. But this is the Circle Art auction in Nairobi, Kenya – East Africa’s only contemporary art auction … Four pieces at this year’s auction sold for more than a million Kenyan shillings ($100,000). That’s double the number of the year before – showing a marked growth potential.Details
Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, meanwhile, will bring a video installation with performance and photography by Ato Milinda, exploring lesbian, African and diaspora aesthetics, while Mariane Ibrahim Gallery from Seattle will show meticulous, dreamy drawings of fantastical realms by the Nigerian-born Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze.Details