Image: Bevan de Wet, Mandy Conidaris, Sharon Sampson
Linocut by Bevan de Wet, "Homo Oscillum Cutaneous"
PRINT IS NOT AN ART SIDESHOW

Visiting the 31st London Original Print Fair in May last year, was truly inspirational. With prints from several centuries ago, the prints of many of the most famous artists through the years and then the flood of contemporary prints from over twenty countries. All expectations were exceeded.

At the end of October in 2015 we held the inaugural South African Fine Art Print Fair (FAP15) in Johannesburg - the first exhibition of this nature dedicated purely to original fine art prints. We were building on six years of an annual exhibition, a collaboration between The Sharon Sampson Studio and Artist's Proof Studio. FAP as it has become known showcased nearly two hundred original prints, the work of four studios and one gallery - all dedicated to print. FAP created a platform for the public to view and invest in a large range of prints comprising many techniques.

FAP15 was extremely well attended and a huge success. Some have asked why we didn't repeat in 2016, but to be honest, we were still recovering from the effort and trying to digest and harmonise the various suggestions we had received. Not having sponsorship to underwrite the costs, and operating as a 'non- profit' provides many challenges.

So we are delighted to announce that FAP17 will be happening at the end of October. Again we have the support of Business Arts South Africa (BASA) and The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) of the University of Pretoria, without which it would not be possible. The format will change so it runs more like a real fair, for just three days 27 - 29 October 2017. There will also be a range of stands (four different sizes). We hope that we can count on the support of the print studios, galleries, institutions, auction rooms etc from around the country that make up the print community, to make this an even bigger and better celebration of print.

In addition the core team will be joined by the highly regarded, independent art professional, Mandy Conidaris, who will act as adviser and curator of the fair. We want to showcase the best of print and her involvement will be invaluable. Mandy's specific field of interest lies in South African printmaking. In 2015 she both organised and curated an exhibition of around 100 South African prints for the international Grenchen Print Triennale in Switzerland. Post-Triennale, this exhibition was on show at the Warren Editions Project Space in Cape Town for three months.

FAP17 will be raising the bar again. As FAP co-founder Sharon Sampson puts it: "We want the entire South African print community to embrace FAP as their show, and demonstrate that print is not an art side show". Apart from prints by contemporary masters and emerging printmakers, there will be displays of works by some iconic artists; including works originated by the late Vuminkosi Zulu and printed at the Caversham Press. In addition there will be a programme of speakers and all stands will be encouraged to have representatives in attendance to talk print.


So to all creators of fine art original prints, join us in celebrating the world of print in South Africa.