It’s undeniable that Contemporary African artists are rising more and more interest in the contemporary art market. Just last year, London based auctions registered a notable increase in African Art sales. Moreover, the exhibits around the world and the growth of new artistic institutions are helping to introduce a canon that marks an advantageous nod to the future.
The rising of Contemporary African Art
What are the reasons behind African Art consecration in the last year? Collectors’ demands increased consistently for works by African artists. The tendency roots to many theme-focused art fairs that helped to get to know an art heritage rich in media and variety. The seed must be found in a rich cultural actuality, and not less, in strong art schools over the continent.
In France, the African art scene has a key role and boasts good media coverage. Expositions as “Beauté Congo” by Fondation Cartier, 2015, turned the spotlight on the most interesting African creations, bringing them closer to a wide audience of diversified interest.
Still in France, Art Paris 2017 focused particularly on African artists’ work while AKAA (Also Known As Africa) was the first salon in Paris entirely dedicated to African art.
Moreover, the development of local collecting is contributing to support the artistic scene of the continent. It is no coincidence that Johannesburg’s collectors are the first players in this market. From an overall perspective, prices aren’t the highest on the market but they are steadily increasing. That is why they represent an opportunity for collectors that are seeking pieces of great historical and aesthetic consistency.
As for defining an art capital, differently from Asia where Hong Kong has a key role for the trades, Africa boasts by now different countries that are growing in importance for the art market. Still, for now, it lacks a preeminent art-market center.
Discovering African Artists
What’s impressive is the creativity those artists are bringing to the Contemporary Art panorama. Painting remains the most popular art form in East Africa but often African artists express through different media braided together. That’s the case of Maroccanean artist Ghizlane Sahli. In particular, this artist works with repurposed materials in an interdisciplinary way, that ranges from architecture to embroidery. Her works, inspired by natural and organic shapes, were recently displayed in London, Paris, Marrakesh, Milan, and Germany.
Remarkable representatives of African art come from Nigeria. A path opened by Ben Enwonwu that widened notably these last years. In particular, Nigerian artists seem to share the intent of creating social and environmental-conscious art.
Renowned sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp represents contemporary concerns through the rituals of the African world. In works like “Green Leaf Barrel” she focuses on the dramatic pollution conditions in the Nigeria Delta.
Nnenna Okore, another impressive artist from Nigeria, uses a combination of biodegradable materials for her artworks. Her paintings and sculptures remind of natural primordial shapes that she creates through tools such as paper, ceramic, fabric, and hessian.
Another incredibly interesting figure in the contemporary art panorama is Gerald Chukwuma. His vibrant canvases quest about anthropological, social and human conditions in Africa. Cameroon artists Salifou Lindou and Boris Nzebo on the other side, approach struggling themes with unique figurative identities. If Salifou Lindou’s overlapping lines reflect the ambiguity of life itself, Boris Nzebo’s multilayered paintings portray the social and political life in Douala, the biggest city of Cameroon.
Find out more about these Contemporary African Artists in RDN gallery and in our articles section!