The rise of Boafo comes at a combustible moment: At long last, many buyers have come to realize that their collections are overwhelmingly (and ahistorically) white. But where some see a movement toward a fuller story of art, others see a financial opportunity. Certain buyers may have sensed that, against the backdrop of today’s conversations about representation, a Ghanaian artist’s eye-friendly, vivid portraits of Black figures were likely to increase in value—perhaps in short order. And then there are those who are simply doing business in the art world’s time-honored, if opaque, way. Their espousal of African artists is likely to be as genuine as their ability, and apparent compulsion, to turn a profit.
“There must be a flippers’ committee, because they all say the same thing: ‘The virus slowed my business’ or ‘I don’t like it anymore,’” Bennett Roberts, who runs Roberts Projects with his wife, Julie, said. Of some of the flippers, he added, “It’s all of these wealthy white collectors who are making huge money off of African artists during Black Lives Matter. These people must not care about Black lives at all.”
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