All you need to know about African Artists From 1882 to Now
Get an entire continent of carefully curated art, between the beautifully designed covers of one book
In March 2020, the Economist asserted that “contemporary art from Africa has become one of the hottest art markets”. Eight months later, the Art Newspaper upped the bid, with the headline, “Africa’s art market grows even amid adversity.”
Today there are specialist auctions at Sotheby’s and Bonhams dedicated to African art; well-regarded art fairs and festivals in Cape Town, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and elsewhere; and numerous commercial galleries from Africa, establishing themselves in the wider art world, by opening exhibition spaces in Paris, Los Angeles and London. At the 2019 Venice Biennale, Ghana’s debut pavilion drew the greatest attention, meanwhile, institutions such as the Tate, the Whitney and the Serpentine Gallery have all staged acclaimed solo exhibitions by African artists, such as Zanele Muholi, Julie Mehretu, James Barnor.
There’s an incredible wealth of beautiful, important and rewarding art being produced by African artists. However, some gallery goers might not know their El Anatsui from their Samuel Fosso. And that’s where our new book comes in. African Artists: From 1882 to Now presents an almost overwhelmingly rich selection of images, produced by over 300 modern and contemporary artists born or based in Africa. The book captures the continent’s booming scene, and contextualises it geographically, in relation to other art movements, and within the wider sweep of art history.
Though largely focussed on living artists, the book does reach back to just before modernism, profiling three artists born during the 19th century, including the Nigerian painter Aina Onabolu whose birth year, 1882, lies at the very earliest point of this survey.
Despite there being a strong showing from photographers and painters, all media are represented in the book, including collage, drawing, installations, moving images, performance, prints, sculpture, sound installations and textiles. Indeed, the book’s cover was created by a South African designer, who was inspired by the work of celebrated Ndebele painter Esther Mahlangu as well as the colour palette commonly seen in Mozambican textiles.
Within these beautifully conceived pages, you’ll find works by familiar figures, such as William Kentridge, Marlene Dumas and Lubaina Himid, as well as a huge array of lesser-known, though equally talented, engaging and profound practitioners. Each artist profile is illustrated with a beautifully clear image of a representative work, and the accompanying texts are written and edited by experts within this field, enabling readers to gain greater enjoyment from and understanding of the art displayed.
African Artists suits well-travelled cultural connoisseurs perfectly; artists and art students looking for fresh sources of inspiration will find much to draw on in these pages; collectors will discover new niches to explore; and it is also the perfect book for art lovers who fear they’ve seen it all. To find out more and order your copy go here.