Build a collection of southern African art that archives “the spirit of our time”



  • Banele Khoza is a visual artist, curator, gallery founder and owner of the Raven Art Collection.
  • Created in 2013 to archive “the spirit of our time”, the collection is a step towards the creation of a museum by Khoza.
  • This, in an effort to keep local art accessible to the local public, as collecting local art becomes more expensive as the market grows.

Banele Khoza prefers full sentences to one-word answers.

Although the one-word description of his profession is “creative” in an imaintenance with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Khoza quickly adds how her daily life mixes painting, drawing, conservation and gallery practice.

Since graduating from Tshwane University of Technology, Khoza has moved on to critical acclaimed in the form of international residencies, curatorial projects, several art awards and international exhibitions like the group show that Kehinde Wiley organized in Los Angeles, Self-Addressed.

Also the founder of BKhz – a hybrid gallery and incubation space for emerging artists based on the Keyes Art Mile at Rosebank – Khoza is one of Africa’s youngest gallery owners.

Along with her building a multi-level and omni-functional ‘creative’ practice, Khoza has spent her time in the art world putting together an entire collection of art.

There are many reasons to build an art collection. Some do it to support the arts, others to adorn homes, invest income, illustrate a political position, or simply to preserve visual history.

While these and other reasons are valid first steps towards collecting, there is a reluctance to do so.

“You can’t live there, drive it, eat, drink or wear it,” art dealer Michael Findlay simply puts it in his book, The value of art: money, power, beauty (2012).

“We pay for things that can be lived in, driven, consumed, and worn; and we believe in an empirical ability to judge their relative quality and commercial value, ”Findlay adds.

This is especially true in a developing country like South Africa.

According to 2021 AfrAsia Bank Africa Wealth Report, the global art market is currently valued at $ 80 billion. Of this amount, art made and sold on the African continent represents 1.2 billion dollars (approximately 19 billion rand).

Over the past decade, the value of art in South Africa has increased by 28% while world prices have increased by less than half to 12% during the same period.

Although the art considered in this report takes into account the value of the work of old masters as JH Pierneef and Irma Stern, such increases in value are becoming a reality for more and more local artists. This will inevitably make collecting local art a more expensive feat for us in South Africa.

In an effort to keep local art accessible to the local public, one of the dreams of Khoza, 27, is to start a contemporary art museum in her 30s.

With this in mind, Khoza established The Raven Art Collection (RAC) in 2013. It also doesn’t hurt to share his home with things that bring him joy. “I spend half my day staring at a screen. When I finally look up, I love looking at a beautiful environment, clad in art and flowers.”

Currently exhibiting over 30 works of art, the Raven Art Collection is comprised primarily of South African art. These include artists like David Koloane, Willem Boshoff, Tatenda Chidora, Penny Siopis, Heidi Fourie and Keneilwe Mokoena.

The most recent additions to the collection include, but are not limited to, works by Zanele Muholi, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Papi Konopi, Lunga Ntila, Nelson Makamo, Bronwyn Katz and Wonder Buhle. Existing to archive “the spirit of our time”, the collection of Khoza, was not made public until October 2020.

“For seven years, I kept my art collection private and pleasantly shared it with my friends and family as they visited my home. However, during confinement, I learned and discovered so much from brilliant treasures of the collections, “he said, referring to Perry Elliott treasure, and that of Serge Tiroche collection, The Ditau Collection and the Scheryn collection.

Explain why these collections made new discoveries for Khoza, the music video for the song Bam, removed from the album 4:44, will be used as an example. Here Jay Z walks the streets of Kingston, Jamaica with Damian Marley.

During their conversation, heard between the chorus and the verses of the song, Jay-Z offers a lament: “The prophets at the beginning were musicians. They were poets, writers. This is what has been entrusted to us in this life. whistles. The wind is blowing through us, we are making noise, “he says.

If visual artists, who visualize the era, are viewed in the same way, then collectors are the keepers of the history, culture, and nuanced narratives that artists tell.

Indeed, since the advent of public galleries, museums have amassed massive collections in the name of making art accessible to the public. However, only a small percentage of the art that museums own is available to the public.

Once a work of art is absorbed into a collection, it becomes easier for the general public to never have access to it (for viewing purposes) or to know that it once existed.

Consider how most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s works are stored, almost half of Pablo Picasso’s treasure trove of oil paintings is locked away, and no drawings by Egon Schiele are on display. Aware of its position and its potential effects, Khoza decided to publicize its collection by making it digitally accessible.



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