AI, Africa and climate crisis star at Art Basel fair

1 min read
art basel
A woman takes a picture of "Onion gum" 1983 by US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (L) next to "Untitled" 1982 by US artist Keith Haring at the Van de Weghe fine art gallery during the Art Basel fair for Modern and contemporary art, in Basel, on June 13, 2023. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

Climate change, migration, artificial intelligence, perspectives on Africa and combating nationalism take centre-stage this year at Art Basel, the world’s top contemporary art fair.

The giant annual event in the Swiss border city of Basel, which aims to reflect current trends in the contemporary world, begins with private viewings for wealthy collectors before opening its doors to the public from Thursday to Sunday.

In the monumental works section, a video by the French-Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed shows an approaching burning boat, intended as an allegory of the tragedy awaiting many migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

art basel
Canadian visual artist Sin Wai Kin, nominated for the Turner Prize 2022 poses at the Soft Opening art gallery’s booth during the Art Basel fair for Modern and contemporary art, in Basel, on June 13, 2023. – The fair will open to the public from June 15 to June 18, 2023 and features over 200 leading galleries and more than 4,000 artists from five continents. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Close by, Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey illustrates the water shortage crisis through a huge installation entitled “Sea Never Dries”.

The giant tapestry is made up of fragments of the yellow cooking oil containers found throughout Ghana, which are then reused to collect water.

“Artists are the thermometer of what’s happening in the world,” said Giovanni Carmine, one of the Art Basel curators, told AFP. The monumental works offer “a mirror on the interests of artists and of the art market”, he added.

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