The Black and Basel 2023: The Black Art Guide

November 25, 2023

Ready for the Black and Basel 2023 Black art guide? It’s time to end the fourth quarter with a big sales push by over 20 international fairs and 1,000+ galleries and events. Navigating a region that is bursting at the seams with art from every corner is almost impossible, especially when it comes to Art Week Miami 2023. Every year, $400 to $500 million is pumped into Miami Dade as art businesses work overtime to sell artworks from all over the globe. The Week expands every year, with everyone trying to get a piece of the half-billion-dollar pie.

Art Week Miami began with the first Art Miami fair in 1990. However, Art Week took off in 2002, when Art Basel held the first iteration of its fair outside of Europe here in Miami Beach. After 2003, you could find art experiences at different fairs, exhibitions, and even condos for sale in the region.

The reason this Black art guide is called Black and Basel is because South Florida’s Black artists always participated in exhibitions during Miami Art Week; but primarily, they sat at the fringes of our local art ecosystem not only in the early days of this week but year-round as well. At the time, you could not find many Black artists in any of the major spaces, and if you were not familiar with the work, you wouldn’t know whether you were looking at the work of a Black artist or not. So, the name Black and Basel was my way of helping you find Black artists that you may not typically think you would see in spaces that didn’t always actively embrace a Black artist.

In the past, I have typically provided an exhaustive Black art guide listing every space dedicated to Black Art that you can find here in South Florida, and I took pride in that, because I wanted to be sure that I provided an equitable platform. You would think this would be easy, but it’s not: because so much is going on, it is nearly impossible to be sure that everyone is included. Not everyone has the proper support, or sometimes, people don’t necessarily even see the importance of being part of larger conversations and guides.

So this year, I’ve decided to make some changes to this Black art guide for Miami Art Week: I’m only recommending the places that I know I will visit. Back in 2021, I heard you loud and clear when you said, “Melissa, thank you so much for being an equitable platform, but there are certain artists and organizations that we trust, and we want to visit and buy from those of the same caliber.” I heard you loud and clear: recommend good work, a few surprises and some choices for the adventurous visitor.

This year, we can expect exceptional artists such as Jamea Richmond-Edwards at MOCA North Miami, Gary Simmons at Perez Art Museum and Charles Gaines at ICA. I even have some adventuresome destinations for those renting a car or just wanting to get out of the city center. Ten North Arts Foundation is putting together an extraordinary show with artists from the African continent and a Puerto Rican art pavilion. (I’m even willing to bring together a group of you that would be interested in going.) Prizm Art Fair is back and presenting a full art fair . I also highlight one local gallery that you should visit to see some of my favorite local gallery directors.

As always, if you’re in town, tag us on social media (X-@sugarcanemag, IG-@sugarcanemagazine, FB-/sugarcanemagazine TikTok-@sugarcanemagazine) and share your favorite location.’s And of course, let the venues know that Melissa’ Black art guide from Sugarcane sent you.

Ten North Group: Art of Transformation

Various locations

Art of Transformation: AFRICA GLOBAL presents the diversity of African diasporic communities and their varied experiences, taking place during Miami Art Week 2023. This annual program is designed to explore issues in African and African diaspora contemporary art and brings artists of African descent from around the world to Miami in a series of exhibitions, panel discussions, performances and film projections.

Ten North Group will present AFRICA GLOBAL in Opa-Locka, Fla., from Dec. 3-10, 2023. Here is a list of their various exhibitions:

Fragmented Worlds / Coherent Lives (on view Dec. 6-Feb. 28)
Curator: Tumelo Mosaka (South Africa)
Location: The Art & Recreation Center (ARC), 675 Ali Baba Ave., Opa-locka, Fla. 33054

Fragmented Worlds / Coherent Lives is an exhibition drawing on concepts informed by fragmentation, mobility and adaptation. Borrowing its title from Pnina Motzafi-Haller’s book by the same name, artists in this exhibition present multiple narratives drawing on memory, history and lived experience to express ways identities become fragmented and sometimes contradictory. Working between concrete and subconscious ideas, artists weave coherent narratives that challenge representations of Africa today.

Cartographies of Displacement / Cartografías del Desplazamiento (on view Dec. 6-10)
Curators: Helen Ceballos and Abdiel D. Segarra Ríos (Puerto Rico)
Location: The Pavilion, 650 Ali Baba Ave., Opa-locka, Fla. 33054

Cartographies of Displacement brings together the work of Puerto Rican artists who, through their respective practices, reflect on what is produced in the junctures that displacement provokes. The exhibition comments on the experiences that accumulate in the everyday—the ways in which we live and negotiate with the forces that displace us, the changes that undergo the landscape—politically and infrastructurally inside and outside the city—and the ways in which we conceive geography within the archipelago and in the diaspora, physically and temporally.

Alongside these observations on the setting, the curatorial work reflects on the production of subjectivities and the questioning of hegemonic identities—individual and collective—and on how these have repercussions on the articulation of historical narratives and the right to remember.

Garden of Humanity (on view Dec. 6-June 30)
Curator: James Brazil (Australia)
Location: The VFW Lot, 757 Ali Baba Ave., Opa-locka, Fla. 33054

The sculpture pavilion presents two new large-scale sculptural acquisitions by the Ten North Group in a lushly designed garden.

1. Yemaya

Ten North Group unveils the newest work by contemporary artist Juan Roberto Diago Durruthy “Diago” (Cuba), a six-foot bronze sculpture titled Yemaya, after the goddess of the living ocean, the mother of all. Yemaya will be exhibited in dialogue with the spirits that accompanied African peoples during the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Middle Passage.

2. The Cedar Men

Sculptor and performer Jems Robert Koko Bi (Côte d’Ivoire), whose work mixes Avant-Gardist influences and the artist’s African history, has created five six-foot-tall works, each sculpted from a single cedar trunk weighing a half-ton each. The Cedar Men tells the history of humanity through the earth’s first inhabitants in Africa as the works initiate a conversation with the forces of nature, the ancestors, the native land and the exile.

New Acquisitions: The Ségou Collection (I’ve Known Rivers) (on view Dec. 6-10)
Curator: Professor Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali)
Location: The Hurt Building, 490 Opa-locka Blvd., Opa-locka, Fla. 33054

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