Delta-Anatsui (Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery)

The 13th edition of one of the greatest commercial art fairs on Earth opened yesterday. The leading players in the art world have descended on Miami to partake in an art carnival that has become the winter diversion of choice for the rich and the famous. Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 at the Convention Center on South Beach has inspired a diverse range of cultural and social activities that includes a global African presence that appears to be driving the most visible trends in the staging of contemporary art fairs.

Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 (ABMB) and its sixteen satellite shows unveiled a plethora of contemporary African Diaspora Art and global African cultural activities that will surpass the achievements of the last twelve installation of ABMB. The significance of the African Diaspora presence has now been recognized by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (GMCVB). The Bureau has launched an Art of Black Miami Campaign that seeks to highlight “the abundant artistic diversity found within Miami’s mosaic neighborhoods.”

The GMCVB web site,, boasts a range of cultural and art projects of the African Diaspora in diverse neighborhoods throughout Miami Dade County. Don’t miss shows in the historic black communities of Overtown, Opa Lacka, and Little Haiti, as well as in Coconut Grove, Downtown Miami, North Miami, the Design District, Coral Gables and the Wynwood Arts District. Some of these events will no doubt alter the landscape of ABMB.

Opa Lacka’s show at the ARC (Art and Recreational Center), curated by South African master curator, Tumelo Musaka, is a must see. The exhibition, “In Plain Sight”, includes work by African Diaspora Artists, Renee Cox, Nari Ward, Karyn Oliver and Yashua Klos. Renee Cox’s photographic series, sacred geometry, is full of mystical and transformative ideas about the relationship between the mind, body and soul. The work is bold and beautiful. Nari Ward’s sculptural installation (“The Promise Land”) is a masterpiece and demonstrates a rare kind of artistic talent that makes him one of the world’s leading African Diaspora Artist.

The quality of the work exhibited is exceptional and will no doubt put Opa Lacka on the fast track for becoming a significant cultural and visual arts destination in South Florida. The opening gala for Opa Lacka’s: “In Plain Sight”, was just as ornate and Avant-garde as any high profile art opening in New York, London, Berlin, Paris or Los Angeles.

Although, the GMVCB directory is quite comprehensive, there are many other exciting venues and events that will showcase the growing contribution of Africana art and culture during ABMB 2014. The new and sensational Perez Miami Art Museum (PAMM) will exhibit the work of African-American artist, Gary Simmons and Haitian-American artist, Adler Guerrier which are sure to astound the imagination. Gallerist, Carol Jazzar will show work by African-American Artists, Allison Janae Hamilton, Willie Cole, Jamea Richmond-Edwards and Jefferson Pinder in her North Miami House Gallery.

“Through My Lens: Art is Life Photography”, featuring work by Overtown and Allapattah teens will be exhibited at the Mana Village, Corner of NW 2nd Ave and 23th Street.

Amber Robles-Gordon will curate “Bum Rush Art Basel” at Prizm Art Fair, featuring the work of seven DC based artist of color at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design, 100 NE 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33132.

African-American Artist, Cheryl Edwards, will exhibit with Junggeburth Galerie (Booth 825) at the Spectrum Art Fair. Congolese artist, Bayunga and Nigerian Artist, Doba Afolabi will participate in Kin Art Exposition, an Africa Diaspora Event featuring music, art, cuisine and fashion at the Fuse Studio in Little Haiti.

Afro-Cuban artists, Alexandre Arrechea and Armando Marino will both be in ABMB 2014. Mr. Arrechea will exhibit with SFAQ (Booth Q15) at the Miami Beach Convention Center and Armando Marino will show with Thomas Jaeckel Gallery at the Context Miami Fair.

Solange Knowles, the famous ‘little’ sister of Beyonce will be headlining and curating for Select Air Fair.

On Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 7pm, artist, Paula Crown will unveil “Transposition: Over Many Miles”, a site specific installation by African American Artist, Theaster Gates and the Design Apprentice Program at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park of Chicago at NE 1st Avenue between 39th and 40th Street in Miami.

The 12 winners of the Nationwide Bombay Sapphire juried art competition will be exhibited at Scope 2014. Danny Simmons and Andre Guichard (Curator’s of the Scope Bombay Sapphire Booth) will also have a one day show of some of their recent works at Scope on Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 11:00am-8:00pm

Swizz Beatz, aka Kadeem Dean, will be curating for Scope Art Basel 2014. Mr. Dean is a noted painter and has been amassing a significant art collection over the last five years.   He is also slated to DJ at the opening of Scope on Friday, December 5, 2014. VH1 is partnering with Scope to stage what is being billed as “the ultimate art and music soiree during Art Basel 2014. Nabiha Bensouda will be headlining. Nabiha is from Denmark with roots in West Africa. “Her distinct sound along with her West African roots and colorful upbringing in Copenhagen has shaped her as a unique female figure in the world of pop and soul music.” Her hit singles “Never Played the Bass” and “Mind Gap” have made her an Afropolitan superstar.

On Friday December 5, 2014, Rhonda Ross (daughter of Diana Ross) will perform at the Betty Ferguson Amphitheater in Miami Garden from 6:30pm-9:00pm.

On Saturday, December 6, 2014, African-American multi-media artist, Rashaad Newsome will premiere his 2014 short film, Knot, at the Soundscape Park/ the New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami, FL 33139.

Contemporary African Diaspora Art (CADA) at the mother show on Miami Beach will continue to move center stage in 2014. The Goodman Gallery from South Africa will return to Miami this year.   Other notable galleries with CADA include Michael Rosenfeld, Sikkema Jenkins, and Rhona Hoffman gallery, White Cube, Stephan Friedman, James Cohan Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery, Lehman Maupin, Alexander Gray Associates and Susanne Vielmeter.

Jack Shainman Gallery continues to be the dominant gallery in the Contemporary African Diaspora (CADA) sector. The Gallery will showcase contemporary Africana work from Cuba, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Britain and the United States. This year’s inventory will include Nick Cave, Kay Hassan, El Anatsui, Radcliff Bailey, Toyin Odutola, Odili Donald, Kerry James Marshall, Hank Willis Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems.

In South Dade (Coral Gables), the University of Miami will exhibit work from their permanent collection of Haitian and Traditional African Art in a double show entitled “Transformative Visions” (works by Haitian Artists) and Art in Real Life, (Traditional African Art). The Haitian exhibit will show work by the well known, Vodu flag artist, Myrlande Constant and sculptural pieces, by Andre Eugene.

The Fifth Annual Art Basel Panel Discussion will headline the grand finale of CADA activities of ABMB on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the University of Miami @ The CAS Gallery from 11:00am-1:30pm. The panel will include Dr. Moyo Okediji, one of the world’s leading experts on Contemporary African Diaspora Art. He will share his views on some of the world’s most influential African Diaspora Artists. The program will also include Dr. Rhea Combs, curator of film and photography at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Dominican, Artist/Architect, Jeffrey Pena and world renowned photographer, Renee Cox.

© Ludlow E. Bailey is a cultural curator, art broker and writer. [email protected]