By Robin Hodgson
The OAS Tribal Art Fair in Sydney this year on Saturday 23 July was, according to the organisers: ”A good, successful day… Probably the best presentation to date… The venue worked well.”
The venue was the lovely old sandstone hall adjacent to St Matthias Church of England in Oxford Street Paddington. There were fifteen stall holders with a variety of wares (as you can see from the photos) ranging from top-end Oceanic artefacts – with dealers clamouring for early entry to get at them – to interesting handcrafts, paintings and books from a variety of Oceanic, African and Asian countries, including for the first time, a stall dedicated to Australian Aboriginal wares. Also, for the first time, a silent auction was held with stallholders providing an artefact each from which sales OAS received a percentage.
Our visiting guest lecturer on Polynesian art and culture, Mark Blackburn, stayed over especially to attend the fair and made the following comment:
“What a unexpected joy the Tribal Art Fair. Although a lot of varied material to suit every budget and collectors ambitions, I was pleasantly surprised to find several good Polynesian items that I eagerly purchased. With careful nurturing this could be the “Parcours” of the Pacific. I encourage both international collectors and dealers to exhibit and attend this exciting event. Would love to come back same time same place as I really enjoyed the fair.” Mark also said that if he had known about the auction he would have brought and donated a piece to OAS!
Advertising worked well, and the $2 coin donation jar at the entrance clinked continuously through the day. OAS had several people join our membership and even more requesting information be sent to them on future events.
The silent auction provided some very intense last minute bidding, with strong words and some ruffled feathers, and a few lessons were learned about set up and control.
Still, buoyed by the general success of the fair, OAS is planning bigger and better things for the years ahead. We may need to find a larger venue. We will keep you posted. Next year’s fair will either be known as the Sydney Tribal Art Fair, or the Sydney Oceanic Art Fair. Let us know your preference there.
All photos courtesy Jerry Liew.