African art forms have long been subjected to fetishisation by the Global North. Throughout the 20th century, the art historians of the West focused much of their attention on fetish objects when discussing African artistic traditions — indeed, the fetish stood metonymically for art in and from Africa. At the start of the 21st century, a different kind of fetishisation emerged: even as art collectors increasingly saw contemporary African artworks as desirable investments, this was often born out of a fascination with their “exoticism” and novelty rather than inherent aesthetic or other qualities.

In recent years, however, the African art market (both the art market in Africa, and the global market for works by African artists) has developed greater nuance as it continued to grow in dollar terms. Much of this is attributable to gallerists, curators and auctioneers advocating a better understanding and appreciation of the artists they represent...

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