Community Voices

Satellite Art Basel fair showcases the work of black artists worldwide

Neil Hall created the Art Africa Miami Art Fair platform.
Neil Hall created the Art Africa Miami Art Fair platform. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

In 2002, several of us in Overtown watched Art Basel, the world’s premiere art fair, unfold in Miami Beach. We had heard about the stellar reputation of this international blue-chip art fair held annually in Europe in Basel, Switzerland, and in Asia in Hong Kong. Excited that the third location was in South Florida, we wanted our community to participate, too.

The Art Basel brand is a platform, to show and sell paintings, photographs, sculptures and other art media to collectors, professionals and advocates.

Dorothy Fields 3761e (3)
Dorothy Jenkins Fields

Over time, two platforms evolved locally as satellite fairs showcasing black artists.

In 2010 Neil Hall, AIA, created the first one — the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair platform. Hall is a lifelong advocate for the transformational role art and culture play within Overtown and other marginalized neighborhoods.

When asked why he felt it necessary to establish a satellite neighborhood art fair, Hall replied, “From the beginning I knew that this art fair would be the anchor to help contribute to strengthening the cultural identity of Historic Overtown, as well as its resurgence as a cultural club.” He continued, “The arts and culture are essential for building a community, supporting development and contributing to economic opportunity. Collectively, the arts and culture enable understanding of the past and envisioning of a shared, more equitable future.”

The seventh edition of the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair theme is Back To Black: No On/Off Ramps opened Miami Art Week and Art Basel 2017 on Tuesday and continues through Sunday.

Located in Historic Overtown, it is housed between the Pan-African Pavilion at 919 Plaza at The Lyric Theater and the Featured Artists Pavilion at 920 historic Clyde Killens’ Pool Hall on Northwest Second Avenue.

It is sponsored by the City of Miami Southeast Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency(SEOPW) and the Greater Miami Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The featured artists include:

▪ Abdoulaye Konaté, Mali

▪ Manuel (Tony) Peralta, Dominican Republic/USA

▪ Phillip Thomas, Jamaica; Lyric Prince, USA

▪ Aisha T. Bell, Jamaica; Philippe Dodard, Haiti

▪ Grégory Vorbe, Haiti

▪ George Edozie, Nigeria

▪ Juan Antonio Barrero, Colombia

▪ Carlos Salas, Colombia

▪ Rick Ulysse, USA

▪ Onajide Shabaka, USA

▪ William Cordova, Peru/USA

▪ José Bédia, Cuba

▪ Doba Afolabi, Nigeria

▪ Kofi Kayiga, Jamaica/USA

▪ Peter Wayne Lewis, USA/China

▪ Antonius Robert, The Bahamas

▪ Miles Regis, Trinidad and Tobago

▪ Solomon Adufah, Ghana

Complimenting Art Africa is the fourth-year black diaspora campaign: The Art of Black Miami, a marketing platform and destination driver that showcases the diversity of the visual arts locally, nationally and internationally. It is organized by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).

“The GMCVB is committed to the Art of Black campaign because it promotes the creative influences of African Americans, Caribbean Americans, Latin Americans, African and global artists who contribute to the fabric of Miami’s diverse artistic community, said GMCVB president and CEO, William D. Talbert, III, CDME.”

During Art Basel, multicultural events and exhibits are located throughout Greater Miami and the Beaches in heritage neighborhoods. This year, 25 new local artists were added to last year’s star portfolio of 50 artists who have received top national and international recognition. These Miami-based artists increase the visibility and awareness of Greater Miami’ s culturally diverse neighborhoods and the destination’s flourishing Black arts community.

Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD, is a historian and founder of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida Inc. Send feedback to djf@bellsouth.net.

Online

For more information on Art of Black Miami and exhibits during Art Basel throughout Greater Miami and the Beaches’ heritage neighborhoods, visit www.ArtofBlackMiami.com.

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