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Top Ten Takeaways From CAFA 2024

Updated: Apr 8

CaFA invitation to fair in Barbados
CaFA Invitation

Have you ever heard of the CaFA Fair Recently, I participated in the 14th annual CaFA Fair from March 6 – 10, 2024 in Barbados. It was a worthwhile experience to attend an in-person art fair post-pandemic. And for those unable to be there, check out the virtual platform

Here are my top ten takeaways as a participant:

10. Sharing and Socialising

If marketing and promoting intimate you as an artist, I suggest socialising. c at CaFA Fair to share more about my practice. I engaged fellow attendees in

conversations of mutual interests. It is an ideal time to socialise as everyone is curious about everyone!

9. More than the Exhibition

I expected the displays from regional and diaspora art galleries and artists. However, the

schedule of events was jam-packed with workshops, film screenings, presentations and

discussions. Some activities cover interdisciplinary practices. If you are not a participating

artist, you can still get involved.

CaFA Workshop Poster
CaFA Workshop Poster

8. Inspiration and Insights

I enjoy challenging myself. The artworks from the region and diaspora sparked inspiration

and provided insights for me. From the perspective of the creative process, I marvelled at

the current trends and artistic styles. I also learnt more about different approaches to

curating fine art.

7. Long-Term Financial Opportunities

I rarely engage with collectors and art business professionals, but it was possible at CaFA

Fair. Like most artists, art sales are essential. However, there is the potential for long-term

financial opportunities such as commissions, art dealer partnerships, gallery representation

or future invitations to participate in gallery shows.

6. Budgeting and Managing Expenses

Before I even applied to participate in the CaFA Fair, I budgeted the estimated expenses

related to in-person participation. It included airfare, accommodation, ground transport,

meals and refreshments, shipping and participation fees. My advice to you is to make a

budget and stick to it.

5. Reputation and Recognition

Most CaFA Fair attendees I met for the first time there. So, I increased the visibility of my artwork and art business among regional and diaspora art collectors and galleries. It was an ideal way to build my reputation and gain recognition in the Caribbean and Diaspora art community.

Group of artists hanging out at CaFA in Barbados
Hanging out with other artists

4. Networking and Collaboration

I connected with the other participants from day one at the CaFA Fair. I enjoyed networking

with other artists for future collaborative projects and group exhibitions. What is most

important is to share art opportunities that can bring us closer together as a region to

access international creative ventures.

3. Professional Development

I believe professional development is necessary for success. At the CaFA Fair, there was so much to learn about the art business and working the art circuits from artists who have attended previous CaFA fairs and exhibited at other art fairs and shows. I am more prepared now to venture out beyond the Caribbean.

Film Screening Poster at CaFA in Barbados
Film Screening Poster

2. Attendance as an Investment

Some may see it differently, but I view attendance as an investment in gaining media

exposure and access to international art markets. Online publications in Barbados and

internationally covered the CaFA Fair. I may be uncertain about the return on investment given that there is no guarantee of gains, but the doors are open now.

1. Shipping Artwork

My experience was quite challenging. Honestly, I had limited experience in shipping artwork in the region. So, now I know better with the timely advice of my fellow artists and the organisers. Utilise the brokers to navigate customs or make alternative arrangements to travel with the artworks.

Written by Tavernelle Wells -

March 2024 (photos published with the kind permission of Aaron Hamilton and Yaena

Eugene-Carbon from Dominica)

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