Contemporary or modern Art normally reflects on the diverse issues that shape the constantly evolving world that we live in. Through their Art, various contemporary African artists raise challenging questions, inspect individual or cultural identity, examine social structures and may sometimes redefine Art itself. Recently, the market for contemporary African Art has globally grown as more auction departments, art fairs, museum and galleries become devoted to exhibiting the talents of many African Artists.
Here are the 5 contemporary African Artists you should know about:
1. SOLY CISSÉ, 1969, Senegal (Dakar)
Soly Cissé is a mixed media painter and sculptor and he is one of Senegal and the world’s most celebrated artists. His work is typically greatly inspired and contextualized by his upbringing. The artist’s iron sculptures typically represent mythological beasts and are full of fantasy and mysticism. Cissé’s paintings typically feature hybrid beings with unusual abstract forms and landscapes. The artist is known for creating fantasy magical contexts were figures emerge from a sort of chaotic disharmony. A sequence of codified letters and numerals are often seen in his work.
2. MOR GUEYE, 1929, Senegal (Dakar)
Mor Gueye is currently at the very top of Dakar’s glass painting scene. Gueye’s specialty is painting on the back of glass panes, a technique known as ‘sous-verres’ in French (‘under the glass’ or ‘reverse glass painting’).
The artist’s works come in various genres but most of his art pieces represent scenes from Mourides’ history. He considers his paintings to be like prayers, which convey ‘baraka’ or blessings. Gueye’s work is quite popular amongst the region’s residents, expats and tourists and has been featured in numerous exhibitions in Europe and Africa.
3. RANSOME STANLEY, 1953, Nigeria
Born in London, UK, in 1953 to a Nigerian father and a German mother, Ransome Stanley presently lives and works in Munich, Germany. Through his work, Stanley raises questions about cultural identity and race. He portrays images from the Western bourgeois culture of the 19th century as well as Western images and colonial clichés of an ‘exotic’ Africa that are widely spread across global media. The artist’s abstract art, his writing and torn posters are thus far from spontaneous.
4. GEORGES EBRIN ADINGRA, 1933, Adaou
George Adingra (1933 – 2005) is a visual African artist born in Adaou (Ivory Coast) . In the 1950s he was a student of the Academy of Visual Arts in Marseilles and then settles to live in Paris. Adingra is renowned for mixing oil paint with fine sandstone, adding depth and texture to his works of Art.
5. Charly D’Almeida, 1966, Benin
Charly d’Almeida is part of a generation of artists who paved the way to contemporary Art in Benin. His work typically highlights his African culture and often features Voodoo signs he seeks to translate: “ In Benin, Voodoo is more than a religion it’s a culture, a tradition. Benin is divided into two categories, Catholics and Muslims, but all are animists, the Voodoo is omnipresent in people’s lives”.