From Mars to Basel

From Mars to Basel: MARS first Australian gallery to show at Art Basel Photo

Atong Atem wins the La Prairie Art Award and a gig at Photo Basel as art market rebounds

Atem’s spectacularly vivid and colourful photographic portraits have gained her the inaugural La Prairie art award, which will see the Art Gallery of New South Wales spend $50,000 acquiring the artist’s work and fund a $30,000 international residency in Zurich in June, for Atem to attend the Art Basel international art fair. 

MARS Gallery, who represent Atem, were already thrilled to announce the official acceptance of involvement into the upcoming Photo Basel 2022. Photo Basel is Switzerland’s first and only international art fair dedicated to photography-based art. As part of its participation, MARS Gallery will be exhibiting a selection of photographic works by Atong Atem. According to The New York Times “Photo Basel, now in its fourth year, wants to offer something different: a boutique fair of vintage and fine-art photography, and photography-based art…” 

And the timing for MARS and Atem couldn’t be much better. The sixth edition of The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report is now available and reveals a particularly strong recovery of the market with the return to live sales and events, while online sales continue to grow. Written by renowned cultural economist Dr. Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, and published by Art Basel and UBS, The Art Market 2022 presents the results of a comprehensive and macro-level analysis of the global art market in 2021, including a survey examining the behaviours of high-net-worth collectors, conducted by Arts Economics and UBS Investor Watch.  

The bottom-line is that the art market is strong and getting stronger. 

MARS Gallery is the first and only Australian gallery to exhibit at Photo Basel. 

The gallery’s involvement also marks the artist’s first showing at an international photo art fair. To celebrate this achievement, and to give a worthy introduction into Atong Atem’s work, MARS will be presenting a range of pieces from across three key bodies of work from Atem’s oeuvre, Ego (2019), Immigration Museum (2019), and Banksia (2021). 

Andy Dinan, Director, MARS Gallery, said, “I’m so excited to show this work at a time that it feels more necessary than ever. There is a sense of urgency that resonates from Atem’s work, conversations and ideas around identity, place and belonging that her art prompts are pertinent both within Australian and global contexts. I’m excited by what this means for other artists living in Australia. It shows that it’s possible for a small heartfelt gallery led by passion can work to see their artists appear on an international stage. 

“I truly believe that the landscape for galleries and artists has changed so drastically and there are so many new opportunities for Australian artists locally and internationally.”

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