Auction Media Coverage

Collectors say they’re taking a closer look at contemporary African art now because the continent’s whole scene is making a seismic break with tradition. Samit Gehlot … said he started going to pop-up shows and auctions of contemporary African art organized by Circle Art Agency three years ago.

Circle Art Agency and quote by Danda Jaroljmek in The Wall Street Journal
The New Face of African Art
Wall Street Journal 13 May 2016
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. And that trajectory, as well as the interest from both local and international clientele, is heading steadily upwards.

t Circle’s auction this month at a five-star Nairobi hotel, the top-selling work, a painting by Ugandan artist Geoffrey Mukasa, went for $15,656. The sale also featured Ethiopia’s Dawit Abebe, Uganda’s Eli Kyeyune and Sudan’s Rashid Diab.

Kenyans boost East African art scene
Citizen 15 November 2015

“The development of modern and contemporary African art certainly is one of the most exciting parts of the art market at the moment,” said Giles Peppiatt, director of Modern and Contemporary African Art at Bonhams. “What is being produced here is just as good as anywhere else in Africa,” said auctioneeer Dendy Easton, formerly of Sotheby’s. “It’s really very good value.”

Since it’s founding in 2012 this auction house in Nairobi, Kenya has seen an influx of clients willing to bid high. Source: CNN

The highest artwork, a painting of oil on canvas dubbed ‘At Home’ by Ugandan artist Geoffrey Mukasa that depicts human relationship with the environment and animals, sold at Sh1.6 million. South Sudan’s artist Rashid Diab’s acrylic on canvas dubbed ‘Out of Focus’ anchored on Sudanese heritage was also bid at the same amount.

The third annual Circle Art Agency auction drew close to 300 artists, art lovers and collectors of modern and contemporary art, recording more than US$187,000 in sales. Dickens Otieno participated in the auction and joins CNBC Africa to talk about the art industry in Kenya.

Organised by the Circle Art Agency, now in its third year, the auction saw art lovers turn up to enjoy the work of artists like Dawit Abebe, Peterson Kam- wathi and Jak Katarikawe. The auction had the highest bid at Sh1.7 million.

The Third East African Art Auction
The Star 6 November 2015

Over the last three years, Circle Art has been masterful in marketing East African art, figuring out innovative ways of raise interest, awareness and investment potential among prospective art-lovers. They have targeted primarily new clients, especially ones with disposable incomes which they will ideally spend on East African art.

“Well, each country is incredibly different, but I think the commonality is really that it [the East] is less known than other regions in Africa,” said Jaroljmek. “And we are trying to raise that awareness and to expose artists from this region, and to bring in international and local buyers, to make sure that they are aware of the great art that is here.”

The Circle Modern and Contemporary East African Auction follows the lead and success of London based Bonhams and Nigeria based Arthouse Contemporary auctions which have staged regular art auctions in a bid to build the emerging African art market. The Circle auction, the only one in East Africa; has transformed the art scene in Kenya, creating enormous interest in East African art regionally and internationally.

The six countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Namibia and South Africa, from where the 51 lots will be auctioned.

Some of the artists that will be featured include 94-year-old Edward Njenga, Dawit Abebe, Rashid Diab, Jak Katarikawe, John Muafangejo, Charles Sekano.

All 51 artworks being auctioned that night were up this past weekend at Circle Art Gallery in a public preview that strongly suggested this third Circle Art collection is the most impressive one assembled to date. Another public preview is currently on at the Kempinski ballroom, up until noon of auction day.

Circle Art Auction media coverage in Business Daily
Incredible art works on show in the city

November 3 will be the annual Circle Art Agency’s Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction at the Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi. This will be the third edition of the auction, which is the only one in East Africa, following the lead of London’s Bonhams and Nigeria’s Arthouse auctions. According to founder and director of Circle Art Agency, Danda Jaroljmek, the auction has garnered international recognition and has seen the re- introduction of artists from the region.
“Hosting the [auction] gives us a unique opportunity to introduce modern masters and cutting edge contemporary artists from six countries…” she said.

On Wednesday, East Africa’s first visual art advisors Circle Art Agency, hosted the media for an exclusive preview of the 51 Lots to be auctioned at the upcoming third Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction. Highlights in the auction will be a selection of rare Tanzanian art from the 70s, which was collected by the late hotelier Emerson Skeens.

Circle Arts’ third Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction will take place the following Tuesday, November 3, in the Ballroom of the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel.

Circle Art Auction media coverage in Business Daily
November jam-packed with art events
Business Daily 23 October 2015

Danda Jaroljmek wears many hats. She is not only an artist herself, but also an art consultant and, more recently, an auctions director and curator. Living in Kenya since 1997, she and two co-founders started the Circle Art Agency in 2012 to focus on building local and international markets for East African artists. Today, Circle has grown into a thriving institution, offering annual auctions that attract bidders from all over the world.

This year’s auction will be held on November 3, 2015, and features contemporary and modern African artists such as Dawit Abebe, Peterson Kamwathi, Jak Katarikawe, and many others. Here, Jaroljmek explains the history of the Circle Art Agency, and why collectors should take notice of the developing East African art scene. Read more

Featuring 51 artists from six different African countries, the heavily anticipated Circle Art Auction took place on November 3 and grossed over Sh18.7 million on the night, with 85% of the lots sold.

Circle Art Agency is planning the second art auction following the success of the inaugural auction in November 2013. This year’s auction will feature 51 artists from six East African countries. The pieces have increased to 57, from last year’s 47.

Expectations are high as Circle Art Agency confirmed it’s got an eye for artistic excellence, not just evident at last year’s auction, but also visible at the various ‘pop up’ exhibitions held in the past two years.

…surely Kyeyune must be the African Matisse. His certainty of line and ability to describe volume and the weight of flesh with a few confident passes put him among the continent’s masters.

African goddess by forgotten master
The East African 16 Oct 2014

It was the poor relation of the art world, but now a new generation of experimental and increasingly exciting East African painters is turning heads and filling auction houses. But the revolution didn’t happen on its own — Daniel Howden meets the Nairobi innovators reinventing the market

East Africa’s art boom
British Airways High Life August 2014

West and South Africa are well established on the world stage for contemporary art, but what exactly does East African art look like? Presently, with the international lens so focused on African art, collectors are actively exploring the region to discover new talent. Circle Art Agency, Kenya’s first independent art agency, is on a quest to convey the face of art in East Africa today.

An auction in Nairobi of modern and contemporary art from across East Africa in November attracted large crowds and buyers for works like a woodcut plate of a cow with a barcode by the young Kenyan artist Peterson Kamwathi.

“It’s a positive step for the market in east African art, it opens up the art scene,” said Sudanese artist Eltayeb Dawel Beit, most recently working on an installation for the lobby of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ new Nairobi office.

Kenya: East Africa’s debut art auction whets investor appetite
Financial Times Blogs

#Kenya: East African art coming of age? 1st commercial auction in Nairobi @circleartagency interview with Danda Jaroljmek, director, Circle Art Agency.

East African art coming of age
Radio France Internationale

Buyers snapped up works for more than $200,000 at east Africa’s first commercial art auction, organisers said today (5th November), hailing the success of an event that highlighted the rise of the region’s art scene.