African Art to Shine at Miami's Art Basel

The Root Recommends: Art Africa Miami 2012, cultural highlight of the globally recognized show.

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Mickalene Thomas: Qusuquzah, Une Trés Belle Négresse 2, part of the 2012 Art Basel

(The Root) -- The 11th annual art carnival known as Art Basel Miami Beach is set to kick off next week and will feature Art Africa Miami as its cultural hub. The event will occur in an 8,000 square foot exhibition tent at 919 NW 2nd Ave., which is adjacent to the Lyric Theatre in Miami's Overtown section, and will showcase more than 50 contemporary artists from the global African Diaspora from Dec. 6 to 9.  

Typically, Art Basel (which was founded in 1970) pulls from more than 250 leading art galleries from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, exhibiting modern artworks by more than 2,000 artists. Until 2011, when Neil Hall -- owner of TheUrbanCollective's Art Africa Miami -- stepped in, the main show hadn't had black galleries represented.

"The only criterion is that excellence will always trump race," he told the 2011 Art Basel crowd. "So if we produce the finest of things, others will follow. We have a tradition of that."

This year's exhibitions will showcase a wide spectrum of black culture, including a musical memorial of Mambo King Cachao, a celebration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary and many more pieces from a potpourri of the Diaspora's best contemporary visual artists.

Check out our coverage -- including work from black artists like The Root 100 honorees Hank Willis Thomas and Kehinde Wiley -- from last year's Art Basel.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story included the wrong location. The event is not at the Miami Beach Convention Center. We regret the error.

Previous recommendation: Meshell Ndegeocello Honors Nina Simone.

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