Duende Art Projects’ ambition is to inspire people and enrich their lives by sharing our profound passion for the art of the African continent. Our purpose is to strengthen Africa’s visibility and significance within the global and diverse art world through a strong digital presence and curated exhibitions on unique locations.
Duende is a Spanish word that is difficult to translate; it is a concept related to flamenco, referring to a magical moment of inspiration and genius. It is the heightened state of emotion when encountering a moving work of art, a sudden experience that can’t be captured, a moment of goosebumps. While Spanish in origin, the word has an African ring to it - indeed it is a universal concept, and indicative of the gallery’s ambitions. Duende Art Projects goes beyond labels and reveals the art’s multiplicity of layers.
The gallery wants to open up the western-dominated perspective in the art world, and offers a well-rounded and fresh take on African art, both classical and contemporary. Establishing strategic collaborations with other galleries and institutions worldwide, it wishes to create opportunities to support and promote art and artists from the African continent. The gallery strives to advance the careers of the artists it exhibits and strengthen their international exposure.
Our mission is to connect people — the curious and interested, aspiring and seasoned collectors, connoisseurs, emerging and renowned artists, art advisors, curators and writers — with art from the African continent and its diaspora. We facilitate easy access through compelling exhibitions — offline and online, in Antwerp and on location. Our online platform provides insightful educational content and wishes to be a home for ideas, news and stories. We offer a bespoke and discrete art advisory service that covers all aspects of building and managing a collection.
Duende Art Projects was founded in 2021 by Bruno Claessens, a passionate art expert with 15 years of ample experience in the African art market. Previously, he was the European director of the African art department at Christie’s for 5 years. Bruno has published three books on African art (Ere Ibeji (2013), Baule Monkeys (2016) & UNÛ (2021)) and has ran a popular blog on the subject since 2013. Throughout his career, he gained a profound knowledge of art of the African continent, both classical and contemporary, and has developed a great network of collectors, curators and scholars as well as strong institutional ties.
Duende Art Projects’ values are more than just words. We live our values and believe that galleries with a strong culture and a higher goal do better. Our values are to be genuine, personal, responsible and open-minded. We pursue growth and learning, embrace and drive change through innovation, are passionate and determined, and aim to create both inspirational as joyous moments.