The Contemporary Art Society Collections Fund at Frieze has acquired eight photographic C-prints by Ibrahim Mahama from White Cube, which will enter the collection of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. The first acquisition of works by the Ghanaian artist for a UK institution, the prints depict the tattooed arms of long-term collaborators Mahama has worked with in Ghana. Some are placed over historic colonial maps of key locations in the country, others are photographed against decaying leather train seats, salvaged from the Gold Coast Railway. According to the artist, the works “look at the relationship between the body, tattoos and the maps created by the British” and “relate to the idea of the commodification of the body”. Rosy Gray, the curator of Modern and contemporary art at Norwich Castle, sees this acquisition as building on the museum’s existing collection and “providing insight into global narratives around land ownership and human migration”.
More institutional purchases have been made courtesy of the Frieze Tate Fund. Supported for the seventh year by Endeavor, the majority owner of Frieze, the fund provides a team of Tate and guest curators with a budget of £150,000 and early access to Frieze and Frieze Masters to buy works for the Tate’s collection. This year, the Tate team was joined by Habda Rashid, a curator at Kettle’s Yard and the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the US artist Carolyn Lazard, who has a solo show at Nottingham Contemporary in February 2023. “It’s amazing Tate has decided to include artists in this process of institutional acquisitions,” says Lazard. “Artists have a lot to say about art history and the issues of the day that are not always shared by curators.”
The seven artists chosen this year range from across the globe, with works dating from the 1970s to the present day. The three more historical pieces are Praying Mantis, a 1970 watercolour by the Surrealist artist Leonor Fini, bought from Loeve & Co; Canadian artist Romany Eveleigh’s abstract untitled work on paper from 1976, acquired from Richard Saltoun at Frieze Masters; and UK-based Rita Keegan’s oil on canvas, Homage to Frida Kahlo (1987), bought from Thomas Dane.
The rest of the acquired works were all made this year: a new series of works on paper by Sandra Vasquez de la Horra from Sprovieri; Frida Orupabo’s collage, Little Devil, from Stevenson; three mixed-media works on paper by Amol Patil, which relate to his Black Masks on Roller Skates performance at Documenta this year, from Project 88; and UK artist Lewis Hammond’s first and only oil portrait of his mother, from Arcadia Missa. “Thanks to the ongoing support of Endeavor and Frieze, we can respond to the very latest developments in art practice—as demonstrated by this year’s fantastic selection,” says Maria Balshaw, the Tate’s director.