Beyond Basel: Where to See, Buy, and Experience African and African American Art During Miami Art Week 2018

MIAMI ART WEEK is well underway and there are an overwhelming number of opportunities to socialize and see, buy, and experience art beyond Art Basel Miami Beach. A plethora of activities focused on artists of African descent continue this weekend. 

Many galleries participating in satellite fairs, such as NADA and Untitled, are showing work by African American artists. Other fairs, such as Prizm, are dedicated to black artists. Elsewhere, museums are presenting must-see exhibitions. Now in its fifth year, Art of Black Miami has a full slate of exhibitions, fairs, talks, and more. 

Various art-related activities are happening throughout Miami. Many events are taking place in Overtown, the historic African American neighborhood, with support from the Southeast Overtown Parkwest (SEOPW) Community Redevelopment Agency. Here’s some of what’s been going on and what’s still to come:

Art of Black Miami

A year-round marketing platform, Art of Black Miami is sponsored by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. The initiative celebrates Miami’s black diaspora, diverse cultural landscape, and heritage neighborhoods. Art of Black Miami has been supporting a full slate of Miami Art Week activities.

A pair of Overtown events paying tribute to artists Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) and Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) is sponsored by Hampton Art Lovers, a group dedicated to African American fine art that is associated with Hampton University. “Elizabeth Catlett and the Hampton Art Tradition” is an exhibition celebrating the print maker and sculptor. Presented by Hampton Art Lovers in collaboration with Hampton University Museum and the International Review of African American Art, works on paper from Hampton University’s collection will be on view. 

Ernie Barnes: Eyes Closed provides an opportunity to buy paintings and works on paper by Barnes. Marking the 80th anniversary of the birth of the pro-football player turned artist best known for illustrating a Marvin Gaye album cover and the appearance of his work on the television show “Good Times,” this art fair/selling exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Ernie Barnes Foundation.

Offering contemporary art from the African diaspora, the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair is celebrating its eight edition in historic Overtown. Architect D. Neil Hall founded the fair in 2011 to help anchor the neighborhood and contribute to its renaissance. The fair showcases work by artists of African descent alongside related programming. This year’s theme is Black Art Matters: It’s Not A Choice.

First organized by curator Ludlow Bailey in 2009, this year’s Art Basel Panel Discussion on Contemporary African Diaspora Art (Dec. 9) is at Florida International University’s Wolfe Center. The panel focuses on “curatorial activism and the redrafting of the narrative on global African Diaspora art” and features Nigerian performance artists Jelil Aitku, Jamaican artist Ya La’ Ford, architect Nathaniel Belcher, art critic Julie Walker, and Haitian artist Stephen Arboite.