It’s only a year old, but Art14,  which opens its second edition this Friday, has already won itself a reputation as an energetic, surprise-filled showcase for art that really does originate from all corners of the globe.

In art fair terms “international” generally means the major America and Northern European cities with a smattering of spaces from Latin America and the Middle and Far East; but the 182 galleries brought together under Olympia’s vast steel and glass canopy this weekend have a genuinely broad reach, hailing from 42 different countries, with many – including Pakistan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mali, and Lithuania –notably absent from the regular art world roster.  

“People coming to the fair will find things they wouldn’t see at other art fairs – especially in London,” declares Art14 Director Stephanie Dieckvoss. “The work is so varied and provides many surprise encounters: you might have a big Bridget Riley painting and then there will be a work by Eko Nugroho, who has never been seen in England before – but who is one of the hottest artists in Indonesia.”

Dieckvoss, who knows a thing or two about the international scene having previously worked as Fair Manager at Frieze and as a Director of Art Hong Kong, is keen to shake up what can often be a somewhat homogenous and predictable art fair experience.  “We are trying to rebalance the western hegemony and to show galleries from all over the world on an even playing field: we think all countries are equally important – even if the work is less familiar.”

Good news for collectors of more modest means is that Dieckvoss’s notion of diversity also extends through to the range – and cost – of artworks on display, as well as to their varied countries of origin. “Many of the leading art fairs now seem to be so high-end and exclusive that what you might call “normal” collectors don’t feel they can take part any more – and that’s a big shame,” she states, citing Art14 exhibitors such as Edge of Arabia’s Projects studio, which commissions and publishes contemporary Middle Eastern art in limited edition prints. “What we have on show can range from affordable prints through to photography through to huge, very difficult museum quality installations – I think that also makes us different from other fairs.”

Another tool for the aspirant collector is an inspired series of 20 minute talks entitled “10 Things You Didn’t Know About….” which aims to break the usual panel discussion format to provide useful and accessible insider snippets on everything from Indonesian art (courtesy of Java Museum Director Dr Oei Hong Djien) to collecting photography (provided by London Photographers Gallery Director Brett Rogers).  

Adding to this sense of cultural shakeup is a programme of 24 artists projects that extend the Fair’s global ethos by punctuating the booths with often spectacular offerings from well known names such as the UK’s Yinka Shonibare and Benin artist Romuald Hazoume, along with a far greater number of relative unknowns including the wobbling organic abstract “belly dancer” sculptures by French-Egyptian Hoda Tawakol or a wooden sound-emitting installation by Hanaa Malallah from Iraq.

With overall quality control monitored by a committee that spans curators from the British Museum, the Henry Moore Institute and museums in Korea, mainland China and the International Centre for Photography in New York, the signs all seem to point to this vibrant, credible and user-friendly newcomer becoming a popular annual fixture on the capital’s art calendar.

Art 14: London Olympia Grand Hall, February 28 - March 2