Turbine Art Fair: through the lens

What’s in store for photography fans at this year’s forthcoming RMB Turbine Art Fair? We take a look.

RMB Turbine Art Fair has carved a niche for itself as a fair that has opened its arms to the emerging market. With prices capped at R50 000, TAF has – for eight years now – provided a lively and engaging stage to those wanting to collect art by established and up and coming artists at more attainable prices, bringing access and inclusivity to the market.

This year’s fair called for an immense amount of adaptation due to the pandemic. As such, you’ll be viewing the 8th edition of TAF online. In the past, the fair has placed huge emphasis on the experiential side, which includes walkabouts, talks, live performances, culinary experiences and more. Having said that, their online presence this year will not disappoint either, with a host of talks, walkabouts and live conversations ready to engage viewers in addition to the 50+ galleries whose artworks will be accessible via online viewing rooms. The great news is that all of this will be available at no charge this year, widening the audience to record highs in terms of inclusivity.

So, what’s in store for fans of the lens this year? Take a look below.

ATTEND: The Greg Marinovich and Musa Nxumalo Talk

Two of the country’s most famed photographers, Musa Nxumalo and Greg Marinovich will be giving an unmissable talk called Becoming a Photographer – The Life and Purpose of a Photojournalist. Catch it live this Sunday 30 August between 3pm and 4pm and don’t forget to register here.

The pair form a formidable duo for listeners. Greg was part of a four-man collective of struggle photographers famously labelled The Bang Bang Club whose work revealed Pulitzer prize winning apartheid era violence to the wider public. In 2000 he co-authored The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War. Greg currently teaches visual journalism and filmmaking at Boston University’s Journalism school and photography at Harvard.

Meanwhile, Musa Nxumalo’s photographs paint a candid picture of a swelling alternative youth scene in Soweto with scores of black and white photographs snapped at parties. Initially trained at the Market Photo Workshop, Musa has gone on to exhibit around the world and has scooped prestigious awards such as the First Book Award, Edward Ruiz Mentorship in 2008 and won first prize in Visual Art for the Impact Awards in 2010 among others.  

VIEW: Individual photographic works

This year’s fair has a plethora of photographers whose work will be exhibited within the online viewing rooms of each of the galleries attending. Some of these names include Manyatsa Monyamane who will be showing under Talent Unlocked, Jabulani Dhlamini whose previous exhibitions have covered the Sharpeville massacre and Winnie Mandela funeral.

Also exhibiting will be cinematographer Tshepiso Seleke, whose potent black and white portrait series of milk covered faces caught our eye. Known as “thedarkroomartist”, Tshepiso has been described by representative Mmarthouse as an artist with “a voice for those who have been stripped of individual agency and power and those who have their agency, but are still working with limited spaces.”

DISCOVER: Stilled Life

Photographers – both amateur and professional from all over the country- were given the call to submit their view of the Covid-19 pandemic under a trio of themes: Your Story, New Normal and Helping Hands. The results have been phenomenal and provide an intimate collected experience of the pandemic in images. Aside from the wealth of incredible work produced, the project, presented by Turbine Art Fair Non Profit Organisation, aims to uplift a community of artists whose livelihoods have been affected during this time.

The top 100 images will be chosen by a judging panel that includes Anthea Pokroy, Savannah Feeke, Musa Nxumalo and Greg Marinovich. You can view the final selection throughout the duration of the fair, after which they’ll be auctioned online by Strauss & Co with all proceeds going to the BASA Artists Relief Fund.

The online viewing rooms for all special projects and galleries will officially open to the public on the 28th August from 9am.  The free Talks and Walkabout programme, sponsored by RMB Private Bank, will be available for the public to attend online by registration and will run for the duration of the fair. 


Words: Mila Crewe-Brown
Images: Supplied by Turbine Art Fair and Smac Gallery

Latest stories in Culture.