The Brussels Oriental Art Fair (BOAF) is an annual event that takes place in early June, concurrent with the Brussels Non-European Art Fair (BRUNEAF) and the Brussels Ancient Art Fair (BAAF). All three fairs are centred on the Sablon district of Brussels, which is a divine place to spend a day, or a lifetime, even.
My partner Bruno and I have been exhibitors in the fair together for a few years, but this year he was on his own, as I was too busy in Bali with building projects. He reported that the weather was dreary and the sales rather dreary also. Except for the auction at Berger, across the Place du Grand Sablon from Bruno’s gallery space for the fair.
It seems that Berger’s multi-day auction of Asian and primitive art sucked a lot of attention (and collectors) from the three fairs in the sablon. While fair exhibitors sat in their galleries looking out at the rain, Berger’s hammer went down on a vast number of lots from numerous collections, notably that of the late Angelo Attilio Attili, who was a friend of ours, and a respected dealer. Davide Manfredi, another friend and dealer also put some pieces in the auction.
Is the virtual monopoly of tribal and Asian art fairs eroding? Is the paradigm shifting?
There are some good photos of the show, visitors and exhibitors on the BOAF website. The fair’s official photographer is Anne Deknock, a charming and talented woman who manages to bring out the warmth and personality of even the most crusty tribal art dealers in her portraits.