Africa's growing place on global contemporary art scene.

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

The taste of contemporary art collectors has been shifting to the South for over a decade. The contemporary arts of Africa are more attractive and the artists are more and more presents in European fairs, galleries and museums.

Between October and December 2018, fairs 1-54 (London) and AKAA (Paris) have become accustomed to gather artists, gallery owners and collectors of contemporary African art scene. These occasions are opportunities to see great names of the art scene like the Ivorian photographer Ananias Leki Dago and unveil the new initiates as Moustapha Baidi Oumarou (Cameroonian painter).

Contemporary artists are also pushing the doors of traditional institutions. It is quite common today to compare classic and modern productions during exhibitions. In 2017, the exhibition "Africa of Roads" at Quai Branly Museum (Paris) closed on the Yinka Shonibaré (Anglo-Nigerian plastic artist) installation La Méduse. Artists from the African continent or the diaspora are now present in museums. They establish the bridge between common problems of both worlds: migration, ecology, urbanism. Tate Modern (London) inaugurated this emergence by inviting, in 2013, the Nigerian Otobang Nkanga to perform a performance in its new premises. Today in Tate Modern’s permanent exhibitionsyou will find works by Ghanaian El Anatsui, Cameroonian Barthélémy Toguo or Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu.

However, African artists do not shine enough from their own continent, but expose themselves in the network of Western capitals (Paris, London, Berlin, New York). African scenes, such as Dakar Biennale (Senegal), 1 :54 Marrakech (Morroco) or Cape Town Art Fair (South Africa), were created to attract the network to more southern regions. It is now necessary to build a market for general African art, so that beyond the individuality of the artist the continent develops a base on the international scene.


By Maxence Zabo