Jarolimek said, “We were blown away by the number of visitors and how many of them engaged with Ato Malinda and myself, and who took the time to look at her work, to ask questions. We were impressed by the number of museums and institutions too who visited us, the great press coverage and important new contacts we made.”

Circle Art Gallery in Art Africa
“If I can make it there…”
Art South Africa 28 June 2016

Curated by Nicola Elphinstone and Robinah Nansubuga, the first image that grabbed my attention was a painting by Mukiza, depicting a picture of a girl kissing three frogs … The frogs, too, were not just any frogs; they were painted in the flags of three global powers: China, USA and the European Union.

Collectors say they’re taking a closer look at contemporary African art now because the continent’s whole scene is making a seismic break with tradition. Samit Gehlot … said he started going to pop-up shows and auctions of contemporary African art organized by Circle Art Agency three years ago.

Circle Art Agency and quote by Danda Jaroljmek in The Wall Street Journal
The New Face of African Art
Wall Street Journal 13 May 2016

Her dealer Danda Jaroljmek at Circle Art Gallery said the artist isn’t afraid to examine “things that are a bit scary,” including one performance piece about prison sex she performed within the walls of a 16th-century Portuguese fort in Mombasa.

Participating for its first time was also a gallery from Nairobi, Circle Art Gallery, showing works of Geoffrey Mukasa, one of the best-known Ugandan modern artists. According to the gallerist Danda Jaroljmek, Indian gallerists have shown quite an interest and recognized said influences in Mukasa’s work and Art Dubai seems to be an important platform for selling East African art. On the second day, most of his works were already sold, with prices ranging from $ 6 000 to $ 15 000.

Art Dubai: Modern Art Comes Alive
Art and signature 24 March 2016

The exhibition, curated by Nicola Elpinstone and Robinah Nansubuga, serves as a welcome introduction to Ugandan painting, and follows last year’s Circle show of works from Ethiopia. What is immediately clear about these artists is their technical competence. Their drawing is accurate, they paint with clarity, and photographs are properly exposed and in focus. In other words, they get the basics right.

Circle Art Gallery de Nairobi présente ainsi le travail de la Kenyane Ato Malinda, dont les performances et installations explorent la nature hybride de l’identité africaine, à rebours de tout essentialisme.

Four pieces at this year’s auction sold for more than a million Kenyan shillings ($100,000). That’s double the number of the year before – showing a marked growth potential. And that trajectory, as well as the interest from both local and international clientele, is heading steadily upwards.

t Circle’s auction this month at a five-star Nairobi hotel, the top-selling work, a painting by Ugandan artist Geoffrey Mukasa, went for $15,656. The sale also featured Ethiopia’s Dawit Abebe, Uganda’s Eli Kyeyune and Sudan’s Rashid Diab.

Kenyans boost East African art scene
Citizen 15 November 2015

“The development of modern and contemporary African art certainly is one of the most exciting parts of the art market at the moment,” said Giles Peppiatt, director of Modern and Contemporary African Art at Bonhams. “What is being produced here is just as good as anywhere else in Africa,” said auctioneeer Dendy Easton, formerly of Sotheby’s. “It’s really very good value.”

“Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, meanwhile, will bring a video installation with performance and photography by Ato Malinda, exploring lesbian, African and diaspora aesthetics”

Circle Art Agency press coverage in Financial Times
African artists on the way up
Financial Times 13 November 2015

The Factory has also provoked excitement in Nairobi’s incipient art scene, where one of Kenya’s only contemporary galleries, the Circle, opened in early 2015. “It’s a wonderful thing for Kenya what Nicholas [Logsdail] is doing,” enthuses the gallery owner, Danda Jaroljmek, who has also created an annual art auction that connects regional artists with collectors. She hopes that there will be a chance for her city-bound artists to broaden their cultural horizons. “It would be wonderful if our Nairobi artists could go to Lamu and meet Nicholas’s superstars,” she says. “Kenyan artists very rarely have the opportunity to travel and meet individuals of their caliber.”

Circle Art Agency and quote by Danda Jaroljmek in The Wall Street Journal
Welcome to Lamu: Africa’s Most Captivating Artists’ Retreat
Wall Street Journal Magazine 24 November 2015

Since it’s founding in 2012 this auction house in Nairobi, Kenya has seen an influx of clients willing to bid high. Source: CNN

The highest artwork, a painting of oil on canvas dubbed ‘At Home’ by Ugandan artist Geoffrey Mukasa that depicts human relationship with the environment and animals, sold at Sh1.6 million. South Sudan’s artist Rashid Diab’s acrylic on canvas dubbed ‘Out of Focus’ anchored on Sudanese heritage was also bid at the same amount.

The third annual Circle Art Agency auction drew close to 300 artists, art lovers and collectors of modern and contemporary art, recording more than US$187,000 in sales. Dickens Otieno participated in the auction and joins CNBC Africa to talk about the art industry in Kenya.

Organised by the Circle Art Agency, now in its third year, the auction saw art lovers turn up to enjoy the work of artists like Dawit Abebe, Peterson Kam- wathi and Jak Katarikawe. The auction had the highest bid at Sh1.7 million.

The Third East African Art Auction
The Star 6 November 2015

Over the last three years, Circle Art has been masterful in marketing East African art, figuring out innovative ways of raise interest, awareness and investment potential among prospective art-lovers. They have targeted primarily new clients, especially ones with disposable incomes which they will ideally spend on East African art.

“Well, each country is incredibly different, but I think the commonality is really that it [the East] is less known than other regions in Africa,” said Jaroljmek. “And we are trying to raise that awareness and to expose artists from this region, and to bring in international and local buyers, to make sure that they are aware of the great art that is here.”

The Circle Modern and Contemporary East African Auction follows the lead and success of London based Bonhams and Nigeria based Arthouse Contemporary auctions which have staged regular art auctions in a bid to build the emerging African art market. The Circle auction, the only one in East Africa; has transformed the art scene in Kenya, creating enormous interest in East African art regionally and internationally.

The six countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Namibia and South Africa, from where the 51 lots will be auctioned.

Some of the artists that will be featured include 94-year-old Edward Njenga, Dawit Abebe, Rashid Diab, Jak Katarikawe, John Muafangejo, Charles Sekano.

All 51 artworks being auctioned that night were up this past weekend at Circle Art Gallery in a public preview that strongly suggested this third Circle Art collection is the most impressive one assembled to date. Another public preview is currently on at the Kempinski ballroom, up until noon of auction day.

Circle Art Auction media coverage in Business Daily
Incredible art works on show in the city

November 3 will be the annual Circle Art Agency’s Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction at the Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi. This will be the third edition of the auction, which is the only one in East Africa, following the lead of London’s Bonhams and Nigeria’s Arthouse auctions. According to founder and director of Circle Art Agency, Danda Jaroljmek, the auction has garnered international recognition and has seen the re- introduction of artists from the region.
“Hosting the [auction] gives us a unique opportunity to introduce modern masters and cutting edge contemporary artists from six countries…” she said.

On Wednesday, East Africa’s first visual art advisors Circle Art Agency, hosted the media for an exclusive preview of the 51 Lots to be auctioned at the upcoming third Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction. Highlights in the auction will be a selection of rare Tanzanian art from the 70s, which was collected by the late hotelier Emerson Skeens.

Circle Arts’ third Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction will take place the following Tuesday, November 3, in the Ballroom of the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel.

Circle Art Auction media coverage in Business Daily
November jam-packed with art events
Business Daily 23 October 2015

“There is a large community of artists in Addis who persevere despite a still-limited art audience in the country,” Zeleke writes in an essay on the show.” Though most contemporary artists live and work in Addis, their work depicts what is happening all over Ethiopia; the turbulence caused by the dramatic development and transformation of the country. These changes are a source of inspiration for most of the artists here.”

It was a long and difficult process, selecting the 11 artists that would eventually be shown in the Nairobi-based gallery. Mifta explained that there are about 1,800 professional artists in Addis to choose from, though, due to various constraints, “only 200 of them are active and 100 are very active”. In the end Mifta, along with Circle Art agency director Danda Jaroljmek, made the final selection – opting for painters, painting has always been the predominant medium for artists in Ethiopia.

It is a fascinating exhibition, full of colour and light, the pictures dancing on the immaculate white walls of this pared down space.

And equally interesting (as I clamber on my hobby horse) is the fact that all 11 artists were academically trained — 10 of them at the Addis Ababa University Alle School of Fine Art and Design. The 11th, Ephrem Solomon, went instead to the Entoto Art School, where presumably greater adherence to traditional iconography is encouraged.

Danda Jaroljmek wears many hats. She is not only an artist herself, but also an art consultant and, more recently, an auctions director and curator. Living in Kenya since 1997, she and two co-founders started the Circle Art Agency in 2012 to focus on building local and international markets for East African artists. Today, Circle has grown into a thriving institution, offering annual auctions that attract bidders from all over the world.

This year’s auction will be held on November 3, 2015, and features contemporary and modern African artists such as Dawit Abebe, Peterson Kamwathi, Jak Katarikawe, and many others. Here, Jaroljmek explains the history of the Circle Art Agency, and why collectors should take notice of the developing East African art scene. Read more

Obras de 51 artistas de África Oriental han sido vendidas por más de 160.000 euros en la segunda edición de la única subasta de arte africano contemporáneo que se celebra en Kenia, con la que los artistas buscan dar visibilidad internacional a sus obras.

El arte africano se cotiza en Nairobi
eldiario.es 4 November 2014

Featuring 51 artists from six different African countries, the heavily anticipated Circle Art Auction took place on November 3 and grossed over Sh18.7 million on the night, with 85% of the lots sold.

Circle Art Agency is planning the second art auction following the success of the inaugural auction in November 2013. This year’s auction will feature 51 artists from six East African countries. The pieces have increased to 57, from last year’s 47.

Expectations are high as Circle Art Agency confirmed it’s got an eye for artistic excellence, not just evident at last year’s auction, but also visible at the various ‘pop up’ exhibitions held in the past two years.

…surely Kyeyune must be the African Matisse. His certainty of line and ability to describe volume and the weight of flesh with a few confident passes put him among the continent’s masters.

African goddess by forgotten master
The East African 16 Oct 2014

It was the poor relation of the art world, but now a new generation of experimental and increasingly exciting East African painters is turning heads and filling auction houses. But the revolution didn’t happen on its own — Daniel Howden meets the Nairobi innovators reinventing the market

East Africa’s art boom
British Airways High Life August 2014

West and South Africa are well established on the world stage for contemporary art, but what exactly does East African art look like? Presently, with the international lens so focused on African art, collectors are actively exploring the region to discover new talent. Circle Art Agency, Kenya’s first independent art agency, is on a quest to convey the face of art in East Africa today.

An auction in Nairobi of modern and contemporary art from across East Africa in November attracted large crowds and buyers for works like a woodcut plate of a cow with a barcode by the young Kenyan artist Peterson Kamwathi.

“It’s a positive step for the market in east African art, it opens up the art scene,” said Sudanese artist Eltayeb Dawel Beit, most recently working on an installation for the lobby of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ new Nairobi office.

Kenya: East Africa’s debut art auction whets investor appetite
Financial Times Blogs

#Kenya: East African art coming of age? 1st commercial auction in Nairobi @circleartagency interview with Danda Jaroljmek, director, Circle Art Agency.

East African art coming of age
Radio France Internationale

Buyers snapped up works for more than $200,000 at east Africa’s first commercial art auction, organisers said today (5th November), hailing the success of an event that highlighted the rise of the region’s art scene.

East Africa art on rise as Kenya holds 1st commercial auction
Yahoo News

“Over the last few months we travelled to numerous places in search of exceptional works, many of which were buried away in artist’s studios in neighbouring towns or hanging on hidden corridors in collectors’ homes,” Danda Jaroljmek, from Circle Art Agency

Kenyan art auction held in Nairobi
BBC News Africa 5 November 2013

The first ever auction of East African Modern and contemporary art, to be held in Nairobi November 5, is raising the profile of the region’s growing art scene.

In celebration of Kenya’s first major auction of East African art (held this past Tuesday in Nairobi) we’ve rolled out some of our choice pieces from the Circle Art Agency event. 90% of all pieces sold for a combined Ksh18.5 million ($216,000). Kenyans accounted for over half of all buyers. Above we showcase paintings from East African artists the likes of Michael Soi, Sane Wadu, Fitsum Berhe Woldelibanos.

Booming sales in first auction of East African art
France 24

My concern is that there are too few people determining what art is seen from the African continent, lots of power in a few hands, artists need to take control of their own destinies and come together to curate their own group shows and put themselves out there.

Since its inception in October 2012, Circle has made a gracious imprint on the local art scene and, if the November auction is implemented with the same finesse as their first exhibition ‘Xtract. Subtract. Abstract,’ which was held at the PWC Towers at the Delta Corner in Westlands, Nairobi, in May, it will certainly be a compelling experience for all those attending the viewings beforehand or participating in the final sale.

Biggest art sale in East Africa
The Star 29 October 2013

And with the Circle Art Agency organising a regional auction November 5th at Nairobi’s new Kempinski Hotel, Kenyans will have a chance to see how a professionally-run art auction can attract collectors from all over the world.

Kenya’s capital Nairobi hosts on November 5 the first ever commercial auction of East African Modern and Contemporary art, a sign of the growing profile of the region’s flourishing art scene. The high society auction at an upmarket hotel includes 47 lots from the past three or four decades, with prices expected to range from a few hundred dollars (euros) to almost $30,000 (22,000 euros).

Kenya is set to host its first ever modern and contemporary art auction this week – amid a surge in global interest in African art. The retrospective, to be held on November 5th, will span the best work produced by artists from across East Africa over the last 40-plus years. Fiona Fox, co-founder and director of Circle Art joins CNBC Africa’s Nozipho Mbanjwa for more.

Nairobi held its first major, international commercial auction of East African art. The auction, organised by the Circle Art Agency, featured 47 works from 43 artists from six countries spanning the last four decades. In terms of sales, it was a huge success, with 90% of the works going for a combined Ksh18.5 million ($216,000).

Curated by the Circle Art Agency, the showcase of the exhibition was the ground floor of PwC’s new headquarters in Nairobi’s Westlands, in the expansive and high-ceiling wing known as Delta Corner.

Since their launch on February 7, 2013 Circle Art Agency is showing Nairobi just how it’s done – with flair.

Circle Art Gains Traction
The Star 17 May 2013

Soi is one of the few Kenyan artists making a living from his work because the local market is small and international exposure limited. But that is changing.

A picture of modern Kenya
The Times May 2013

With the launch of the Circle Art Agency early this year, the Kenya contemporary art world has expanded significantly. Since January, the agency has secured several substantial art commissions from Nairobi’s corporate community for Kenyan artists to fill.

NAIROBI— As the art scene in Kenya has grown, Michael Soi’s works have become searing depictions of society, including the underworld of strip clubs, prostitution, and police corruption, as well as everyday contradictions in politics and personal lives.

“In recent years the international art world has taken a keen interest in Africa as an investment opportunity; emerging financial markets are frequently followed by emerging art markets,” says Fiona Fox at Circle Art Agency, who helped set up the Tate’s Africa committee. Her Kenya-based agency hopes to hold the country’s first art auction later this year with a retrospective of the best Kenyan works from the past 30 years “to create a buzz” and “regulate” prices.

“I decided to give it the full throttle when I learned that the proceeds go towards promoting art in my country. How could I say no?” says visual artist Paul Onditi, about donating a captivating mixed-media work featuring his legendary ‘Smokey’ character.

The works, which are being packed and flown to the UK this week, are by Peterson Kamwathi, Beatrice Wanjiku, Michael Soi, James Muriuki, Paul Onditi, Cyrus Kabiru, Anthony Okello, and Bertiers. The charity sale was arranged by Danda Jaroljmek, former director of the Kuona Trust in Nairobi, and now a partner in the Circle Art Agency.

Kenyan art travels the world
East African 19 April 2013

Set the agency up to cater to the growing number of Kenyan businesses who are beginning to buy art collections, multinationals who want to be seen to support Kenyan culture, and individuals from across the board.

The Collection Bug
START Journal of Arts & Culture March 2013

“It’s quite hard to find art in this town. There is more to discover. We need to increase art collections and conversations with other artists. We are organising a lot of events to know talents that we cherish.”

Meanwhile, one of the most exciting features of 2013 will be the launching of the Art Circle Agency at the end of January. Aiming to expand both the local and global art markets for Kenyan artists…

Circle Art Auction media coverage in Business Daily
An art-filled 2013 awaits Kenyans
Business Daily 20 Dec 2012

Jaroljmek explains the details to the dynamic band of artists in attendance “There aren’t enough places to show art in Kenya,” she began. “By encouraging businesses and individuals, we want to work harder to get Kenyans to buy art. We want to create a buzz around local talent.”