WITH a committed following tribal art is one of the hot areas of the international market, but it is a limited, defined market and as such unpredictable.
Take the case of its fortunes in the United States. While Paris and Brussels have long been the main centres of tribal activity there is a keen following in America but that seems to have waned.
For years Californian organisers Caskey-Lees held a large tribal fair in New York but it faltered and closed two years ago.
They also run a long-established tribal fair in San Francisco but exhibitors this February tell me that is now struggling having lost its international exhibitors and attracting largely local dealers.
But New York wants a tribal event and last year Maureen Zarember, owner of the esteemed Tambaran Gallery, launched The AOA (African, Oceanic and Americas) Tribal Art Fair at the Fletcher-Sinclair Museum with around a dozen dealers, some from France and Belgium.
It did well and will be repeated from May 10 to 13 to coincide with New York’s tribal auctions. In these niche markets large fairs do not work and smaller events lasting around four days are the future.