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Art Basel Miami Beach 2011

What a weekend I’ve had!!! So I spent the last two weekends enjoying the cool breeze and palm trees in Miami. I decided late Friday night that I would try my best to catch the first flight to check out Art Basel Miami Beach. Set back #1. The alarm was set but I didn’t hear it. So I jumped out of bed got ready, grabbed a few things and rushed to the airport. I checked in online, cleared security and boarded the plane just in time for take off. YES!!! I was on my way. My mother was anxious to attend the festivities with me so I just knew she would be at the airport waiting. Set back #2. FLAT TIRE! At that point I had no idea how long it would be until I met with my crew to hit the streets. Soooo what does a girl like me do? Find the nearest spot to get my toes beach ready. 😉 As soon as I’m finished I walk out of the airport my crew is there waiting for me. So I call out to the the Universe. “No more set backs. I only have 32 hours to get it in!”

Off to Native Films to shoot Merid Tafesse, a Contemporary Fine Artist visiting from Ethiopia. Tafesse was creating a huge masterpiece in the Wynwood Art Disctrict. Jimmy Malcolm accompanied him with soulful sounds on the piano. Mixed media on canvas and live music in the same space. I felt like I was watching the ultimate duet. Two major forms of art being created simultaneously in front of my eyes.

It was getting late I was hungry so I walked around the corned to a small Jamaican restaurant a new friend suggested. Of course the person who made the suggestion isn’t Jamaican nor would he understand why I never eat Jamaican food out but I thought I would give it a try. The rice and peas lacked some essential flavor but wasn’t too bad but, the brown stew and red velvet cake won me over. Nourishing dinner and a pleasant surprise. I love sweets.

I was exhausted but had to push through to check out more of the festivities. Since the Rubell Family Collection was near I tried to catch that and managed to see Art Africa, Moksha Art Fair and a few other places Saturday night. The next morning I was up early to prepare for the 2nd Annual Art Basel Panel Discussion on Contemporary African Diaspora Fine Art, which was held at the University of Miami, College of Arts and Science. The panel featured Tafesse, Howard Mills, Valerie Cooper, Dr. Meghoo, Armando Marino and Ludlow Bailey. The audience engaged the panel after initial presentations with some heated comments and questions pertaining to the advancement of African Diaspora Fine Art in America. Tafesse and Marino gave great insight on artist success over seas as well. The panel discussion was very informative and I look forward to the next one. I had a light lunch then went to the main event at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

WOW. At first I had no words. I saw the sea of people and thought I’d be so overwhelmed but I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe the collections. My time was limited so I saw a small portion of the galleries represented at the main event. Jack Shainman and Alexander Gray Associates were most memorable. Aside from the piece Tafesse completed the night before I must admit I fell in love with the Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare. I have no words to explain his genius. You just have to check it out for yourself. With just a few hours before my flight home I stopped by the Kehinde Wiley fish fry at the Shore Club. His work is simply amazing! I had a wonderful night. What a fabulous way to end a 32 hour trip. And I made it to the airport just in time to board the plane once again.

I can’t wait to attend Art Basel next year!

Feature Image: Artwork by Kehinde Wiley

Top Right Image: Artwork by Merid Tafesse

Bottom Right Image: Artwork by Yinka Shonibare