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Brafa art fair gets around Covid restrictions with more than 100 smaller exhibitions

05:59 21/01/2021

Just like for so many cultural events, the coronavirus pandemic raised existential questions about the 2021 edition of Brafa. Founded in 1956, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious art fairs in the world, exhibiting objects from the Bronze Age to the 21st century.

Brafa has solved the problem by extending an invitation to the galleries to participate in an alternative fair – Brafa in the Galleries.

The premise of the event is to invite the galleries that had confirmed their presence at Brafa 2021 to develop exhibitions in their own galleries of the works that they had selected for the fair. They could then invite visitors, in compliance with the current Covid-19 measures, to visit in person.

A total of 126 galleries heeded the call, in 37 cities across 13 countries: Belgium, France, Germany, the UK, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the US.

With the exception of the 11 galleries in Knokkke-Heist, all the exhibitions will open for the same date and times. In most cases, the exhibitions will take place in the participants’ respective galleries, though some dealers are creating joint exhibitions.

All of this will be connected by the Brafa website, revamped for the occasion. It will contain all the necessary information with each participant having their own personal page which will display a number of the artworks they had chosen for Brafa 2021 with complete descriptions, contact details and - for those dealers who wish to produce them - original videos.

Additionally, visitors will be able to download PDF maps for the cities with the largest concentration of participating galleries. The four lectures originally scheduled to take place during Brafa 2021 will be livestreamed on the website.

 “These past few months were a potent reminder of how important direct and personal contact is in our relations, between a collector and a work of art, between a buyer and a dealer,” says Brafa president Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke.

“Our trade is profoundly human because it is founded on emotion first and foremost. We hope that this initiative can re-establish this link, in an environment and under conditions that respect the measures in force in the various countries.

“More than anything else, Brafa in the Galleries was created in support of our galleries. We are pleased to note that so many of them share our hope of a return to better times.”

Brafa, 27-31 January

Written by Richard Harris