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Breaking down the boundaries of artist and audience at Basel

In an insiders video, filmmaker Emmanuel Olunkwa and curator India Salvor Menuez explore the importance of performance art at Miami’s favourite art fair, Art Basel

Miami Art Basel exemplifies the most colourful of micro-migrations the art world has ever seen, with a melting pot of cultural gamechangers showcasing their works each year – including Alexandra Marzella, Matt Sukkar and Sarah Kinlaw, to name a handful. 

In the video below, LA-born, New York-based photographer-filmmaker Emmanuel Olunkwa – who most recently went head-to-head with BFF Amandla Stenberg in a much-needed discussion on the difficulties of being a ‘minority’ in the art and fashion worlds – documents his first time at Basel. Uncovering some of the intriguing acts to sprout out of this year’s crop, India Salvor Menuez – who curated “Booklub 9”, hosted at the Baby’s All Right pop-up show Baby’s All Basel – was also on hand to explain the sometimes-mysterious, raw medium of performance art.

“I am not keen on artwork that privileges a certain class or education – I am most interested in provoking a feeling or memory” – Emmanuel Olunkwa

"The way Miami shifts to accommodate Art Basel is what interests me the most. The culture and the people it attracts is unlike anything I have witnessed. It was a conglomerate of art and business people, and socialites networking – it is truly bizarre," Olunkwa explains. "Recently I have been really drawn to creating more video work and including performative elements. In this video, ‘Art Basel’, I thought it was important to present the footage in the way that I experienced the show. I am not keen on artwork that privileges a certain class or education – I am most interested in provoking a feeling or memory. Performance art demands that the audience participate and does not allow for anyone to be submissive."

See more work from Olunkwa here. The artists in this video include Human Mandala, Matt Sukkar, Rachel Libeskind, Alexandra Marzella, Sara Grace-Powell, Buoy, Sarah Kinlaw, Fluct, Jude Liana, Billy Jones (of Baby’s All Right), Aaron Maine (Porches.), Alexandra Gordienko + Jenny Law (of Marfa Journal), Richie Shazam, India Salvor Menuez