Heidi Erdmann and Giordano Raffaelli met in Cape Town in 1997; a collection of photographs by Bobby Bobson brought them in contact. They decided to cooperate and developed a program of exhibition exchanges between South Africa and Italy. This synergy lead to numerous projects including solo, group and museum exhibitions in both countries, it launched the international career of Conrad Botes and stimulated continued international exposure for Willie Bester. The program created an opportunity for South African artists to participate in international art fairs and the publication of numerous and innovative exhibition catalogues. Their collaborative booth at the Cape Town Art Fair marks their 21st anniversary of this ongoing exchange initiative.
Erdmann founded her gallery in 2001 with a special focus on contemporary photography working with visionary and historically significant artists. More recently her inventory includes those artists who work across disciplines by means of introducing new and challenging forms of creative expression.
Raffaelli founded Studio d’Arte Raffaelli in Trento in 1984. It became the first Italian gallery to exhibit and promote contemporary art from Africa. Recognition came with the groundbreaking exhibition Passport to South Africa hosted at the Museo Trevi followed by an invitation to Dakar Biennial in 2002. In 2007 Raffaelli curated the International Art Biennale in Rocca di Castagnoli in Italy. The gallery’s exhibition program regularly includes the biggest international artists of past 30 years. Two of these artists, Laurina Paperina and Joe Grillo will be featured at the fair. Early and recent works by Willie Bester is a testament to this gallery’s ongoing relationship with art from Africa.