Client: Proposals Team/Robert Devereux
Brief: Robert Devereux – a renowned collector, chairman of the board of Frieze, the African Acquisitions Committee at Tate and advisor to 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair – sought to consign his prized collection of contemporary African art to auction. The bid was very competitive between Christie's and Sotheby's so the Christie's proposals team reached out to the Creative Studio to help create a bespoke proposals document to demonstrate how we would position his collection.
The collection is very large and had too many prominent artists and works to focus on any single person or group. The collection is also spread across the continent so I wanted to make sure that the copy respected the diversity of African cultures without overstating it. Devereaux's past exhibition of the collection at Downing College in Cambridge was entitled 'When the Heavens Meet the Earth', a poetic typical that seemed to be inspired by a lyrical work of the same title.
The proposed name for the auction, A Place with No Name, represents the elusiveness of a continent too diverse to be described as a whole. The title respects the collector's tendency towards poetry and pays homage to his home in Lamu, Sina Jina. The proposal expanded on the exploration of names, language and other markers of identity as a key aspect of the work of many artists from post-colonial African and the African diaspora.
This proposal won Christie's the bid. The creative studio is currently working on digital and print asset with myself as copy lead, including digital and print ads and a bespoke collection catalogue.