Young talent almost steal show at Turbine Art Fair this year

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

The last time one attended the Turbine Art Fair (TAF) in the physical at 10 Fricker Road in Illovo, Johannesburg, was 2019. Last year it went virtually as the corona situation was more uncertain, as for example the vaccination programme had not commenced for the majority of the people. Yesterday however, I found myself among those who were afforded an opportunity to preview TAF 2021, and boy did it rock.

But first let us start with what is new this time around as compared to 2019. In 2019, many among us we did not even know what Covid-19 is as it was still a foreign concept. But today even newly born babies before they even utter a single word know what this virus is as their parents are in a mask in public places, and to them it is pretty normal I can imagine, without realising that only less than two years ago, wearing a mask in public spaces would have been frowned on and be seen as an oddity.

Well, yesterday, on arrival at the preview of the art fair, which opens to the public proper today, Friday, October, running until October 3, 2021, all the invited guests to the fair preview, we were required to undergo Covid-19 protocols, including producing  a “Covid passport’ in a form of proof that indeed, you were vaccinated. It was so-unbelievable that in 2019, at the same place, no such thing was necessary. But not in times of Covid-19.

But once we were in, we enjoyed seeing so much good fine objects at one place, created by some of the most interesting and creative  people among us. What stood out more prominently for me is the fact that this year, the art fair features quality work from fresh visual talent represented by galleries from Southern Africa.

And notably the works by young artists, some of them actually first timers at TAF are quality art pieces and it is quite refreshing to be a witness to such creativity. One thing about young artists is that they have the freedom to explore in their practice until they get their visual voices right, and sometimes through making mistakes.

Unlike well established artists who have already developed fully their techniques and style and have a following in the market that they cannot risk upsetting by experimenting too much with regards to style and techniques, young talent can easily get away with it. In  the process good works are created through such experimentation. And what I saw yesterday was a display of real quality art works by the young talent that are participating in the art fair this year. It felt as If they all went to the same art school, The School of Art Excellence.

It also felt like the art fair belongs to these young people this year with due respect to the participating old guard of the art world. And for collectors, the good news is these works come with very good price tags. TAF is indeed a place for those looking at building their collections by adding affordable quality art from young artists and those  looking forward to starting their collections from scratch and who may not have big bank balances.

BY the time I left after spending close to four hours, scouring the two floors housing fine art objects in different media and by intergenerational artists, I felt it was worth venturing out and experience the artistic vibe on a rather cool Thursday in Johannesburg.

TAF 2021 Deatals

Dates: 30 September – 3 October 2021

Venue: 10 Fricker Rd Illovo, JHB

Tickets: R150 to be purchased online

For more info:


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