If you’re a lover of the arts with a serious case of the travel bug, why not plan your next trip to Africa to coincide with a much-celebrated art festival? Some of the world’s best art festivals take place on the continent and draw art lovers from around the globe. So combine your love of the arts and traveling, and start planning ahead. Here are some of Africa’s top art festivals you absolutely must check out.
Start off by watching the entire city of Port Louis in Mauritius turn into an explosive celebration for the senses. At Porlwi, art lovers can walk down the streets full of experimental artworks including street art, visual art, sculptures, digital, and performance art. This nighttime festival lights up with neon lights and strobes to enhance the city in a different view. Live music will play as spectators visit art installations to meet the artists and mingle with other like-minded art lovers.The festivities last a week and take place around late November to early December each year.
Another way to delve yourself deep in the world of experimental art is at AfrikaBurn in the Karoo desert of South Africa. There, you’ll find mesmerizing larger-than-life art installations in the middle of nowhere. For a few days, thousands of participants celebrate the outside-of-the-box lifestyle with quirky activities, live music, performances and more. By the end of the festivities, guests gather together to watch some of the marvelous art installations go up in flames in the nighttime. Down in Cape Town, you’ll want to visit Investec Cape Town Art Fair if you’re a fan of contemporary art. Hundreds of artists showcase their best works in the fair. The artworks cover various mediums like photography, sculptures, paintings, potteries and more. The weekend-long art fair occurs each year in February.
Or head over to National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, a prestigious event where big-name musicians and performers like Suzanne Vega and Amanda Black highlight the stage for art enthusiasts to enjoy in-between browsing artworks. Each year, hundreds of artists show off their works from modern abstract pieces, to serious photography from war zones, to innovative sculptures called Afrofuturism. The event lasts two weeks with the art gallery opening to the public each day. In Johannesburg, The Turbine Art Fair kicks off every July for artists to display their works in an abandoned turbine hall. In addition to browsing through art pieces, visitors will also enjoy music, local food vendors, and performance art.
Into photography? Then you’ll love Lagos Photo Festival that occurs every fall in Nigeria. You’ll get to browse through controversial and thought-provoking subjects by some of the area’s most talented photographers. The festival lasts a month with plenty of scheduled workshops, lectures, and activities for both photographers and art lovers to learn more about the art of photography. Bushfire in Swaziland is another fantastic happening where art lovers can enjoy music along with hair-raising fire performances. It’s held at the end of every May and is loaded with two days of visual art, art installments, theater and more. The artists are internationally brought in to promote peace and social change. Bank Windhoek Arts Festival is a long-awaited art festival of Namibia where event planner’s goals are to introduce emerging new talents into the public. Paintings are displayed for art lovers to browse through and scheduled events like a fashion show, concerts and workshops are expected each year in Windhoek. The event last from December to February, giving travelers plenty of time to scope out the festivities.
Planning a trip to northern Africa? Then plan your trip to Marrakech, Morocco in February when the weather is perfect and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is in town. Over the weekend, the glitzy hotel La Mamounia hosts the art fair where up to 4,000 spectators attend to marvel at the artworks of 50 international artists. Not to mention, visitors will be blown away by the incredible architecture at the hotel, fitting for a Moroccan palace. Or if you’re in Casablanca, there’s an International Art Fair that showcases both traditional Moroccan art and contemporary subjects. The event will end with a dazzling firework show and an impressive night-time kite flying event.
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