Since 1989, the London Art Fair has been a bastion of emerging talent and a showcase for those at the forefront of the global modern and contemporary art scene. This year, its 33rd incarnation will, of course, be a little different - existing as a fully digital fair, from 20 - 31 January. While we may not be able to mull around the rooms with a glass of wine, we can still peruse the wide range of stunning art on display from the comfort of our own homes. The fair can be fully explored online; divided by artist and gallery, or filtered through expert curation. There are also a wealth of talks and workshops throughout the fair that are well worth checking out - not least their very own virtual wine tasting.
Need help cutting through the easels? Here's our pick of five standout galleries to divert your scroll to:
Both gallery and cultural watch platform, African Arty is dedicated to the art of the continent and to supporting the development of African artists across the globe. Their London Art Fair showing this year features playful mixed-media visions of domesticity by Cinthia Sifa Mulanga and metal and wire sculptures by Cédrick Sungo. One standout piece is a stunning photograph by Dagmar van Weeghel; For Sarah- The Crown - an homage to Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a young girl born into royalty at Oke-Odan, an Egbado Village in Ogun State who, after she was orphaned, was raised as a goddaughter to Queen Victoria.
Specialising in modern British art, Merville Galleries has brought a technicolour vision to the London Art Fair thanks to the rainbow-hued works of Benjamin Hannavy-Cousenand and the primary-colour boldness of two Peter Blake portraits. The Hannavy-Cousenand pieces are a particular draw. These are trippy acrylic on aluminium spirals and contorting snakes sitting alongside pop-art inspired oil paint American flags, bleeding multi-coloured stripes on canvas
As their name suggests, Art Globale calls itself a ‘gallery of the world’. Their international mix of handpicked artists are both upcoming and established, and the gallery has a wide and impressive reach, staging offerings at the Venice Biennale and other world-class art fairs. For the London Art Fair, they have chosen to showcase the work of the capital’s own Georgia Clemson, whose photography collages have a striking Matisse-like flair, the proud contemporary busts of sculptor Domenico Ludovico and the eye-catching Rubik’s cube photographs of Michele Cirillo.
4Candida Stevens Gallery
There is a lot to take in at Candida Stevens Gallery’s offering, where the pieces are a riot of colour and – frustratingly for an online show- texture. The curation-led platform has been around since 2012 and excels at bringing together art from the brightest new talent on the British art scene, often around a particular theme or enquiry. Their showing here boasts the embroidered, appliqued flags of mixed-media artist Anthony Stevens, the textile pieces of Cecilia Charlton and the beautiful and arresting oil paintings of Katharine Le Hardy.
5Ed Cross Fine Art
Since 2009, Ed Cross Fine Art has focused its gaze on the art of the African diaspora. One of its most championed, and beloved, artists, Abe Odedina, is the gallery’s sole exhibitor for the London Art Fair. It is easy to see why. Deceptively simple, each bold work astutely plays with the traditions of African art and its complex mythologies. Vivid, layered and bubbling with symbolic meaning, Odedina’s acrylic on plywood pieces are a rich feast that tell a hugely entertaining story when displayed together in this way.