oa Africa Insight - Black artists, white patrons: The cross-cultural art market in rural South Africa

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Although the traditional arts of black South Africa have tended to be overlooked in the past, they have been attracting considerable market interest in recent years. Foreign buyers are particularly active, especially Americans and Germans, but local interest in establishing representative collections of the traditional arts of Southern Africa has been developing rapidly of late. l It might be imagined that in this area production would not be affected by the market, as the works have been made to serve a social structure whose customs were established long before contact with whites, or with the Western concept of art as a commodity. It might seem therefore that the buying and selling of traditional works would be entirely incidental and irrelevant to their making. But this is not the case. The influence of the interaction of two cultures is clearly evident, especially in more recent production.

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