Hosted by
Riah Pryor

The Bigger Picture Podcast.

Special Guest
Liza Essers

Special guest Liza Essers, of Goodman Gallery, joins us to discuss her passion for working with artists from across the globe, united by a desire to drive social change. From shifts in the art market, the importance and role of educating collectors, to the future of digital models instigated during the pandemic, Liza’s insight is invaluable listening to anyone working in the art world today.

"Bringing major international artists and shows to South Africa over the past 15 years has been hugely rewarding- it’s been a process, first of all an educational process, it’s not about just doing things for immediate financial gain”

By showcasing the work of artists from Africa to an international audience and vice versa, Liza Essers’ role in embracing and supporting creatives working to breakdown social barriers, regardless of their geography, has expanded a historically significant gallery’s programme.

Photography by Anthea Pokroy
Courtesy of Goodman Gallery

In this week’s podcast, we learn more about Liza’s role in shaping the market for African artists, the opportunities and challenges of working in an artworld facing multiple social, economic and political challenges and the need to support broader cultural ecosystems around an artist and how she puts her own advice, to just ‘do it’ in the face of barriers or challenges, into practice.

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About the Guest

For the past 15 years, Liza Essers has been the owner and director of Goodman Gallery – a pre-eminent art gallery in South Africa, and one of the oldest contemporary galleries in the world, founded in 1966. In 2019, Essers expanded the gallery’s global presence from Johannesburg and Cape Town to a third location in London's Cork Street with regular seasonal galleries in the United States, currently in Miami. Essers has built on the gallery’s long-standing reputation for social engagement while broadening its global roster to include artists such as Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Shirin Neshat, Hank Willis Thomas, Alfredo Jaar, Candice Breitz, Nicholas Hlobo, Kapwani Kiwanga, Ravelle Pillay and Grada Kilomba. During the pandemic, Essers pioneered and co-developed South South, an innovative digital platform involving fifty leading galleries from the Global South, which encompassed an art fair alongside talks and exhibitions programmes to promote art from outside the United States-Europe axis. Since 2020, Essers has been recognised among the art world's most influential people in Art Review's Power 100 list for "continuing to find new ways of amplifying the voices of African artists and rerouting power from the artworld’s established centres". In 2022, Essers featured in Artnet's list of 35 Innovators from around the world who are "cultivating the market centers of the future, integrating new media into dusty museums, and building institutions that the artists of today don’t even realize they will need in 50 years".Here, Essers was recognised for transforming Goodman Gallery into "one of Africa's contemporary-art powerhouses, representing artists from across the continent and diaspora. The program exemplifies her longtime focus on 'artists interested in social change,' and belief that art has the power to 'shift people's consciousness'."

About the Host
Riah Pryor is an investigative journalist and author specialising in the relationship between art and law, supported by her experience working at New Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Unit. She previously worked at The Art Newspaper as Art Market Assistant Editor and continues to write for them on a freelance basis, in addition to report writing and editorial consultancy for a range of art market clients.
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Hosted by investigative journalist Riah Pryor, The Bigger Picture is an inside look at the businesses that make the art world work and the stories behind the people that shape them.
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