African art - both contemporary and traditional - is gradually making quite the impression in the international art market and London is the central hub of the African art market. So please find below a list of African art galleries and venues to fulfil your art cravings while in the city.
101 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1SR
+44 20 7468 8216; firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonhams - one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques - needs no introduction and Bonhams 'Africa Now' auction remains at the forefront of the market as the only sale of its kind globally. Africa Now sales include the very best of post-war and contemporary art from across the African continent in various media including painting, sculpture, and drawing. Of particular interest are works by artists including El Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, Yinka Shonibare, Romauld Hazoumé, Malangatana, Skunder Boghossian, Bruce Onobrakepeya, and other contemporary African legends.
GAFRA (Gallery of African Art)
45 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JL
020 7287 7400; email@example.com
GAFRA is a lovely art gallery located in the heart of Mayfair that specialises in Traditional and Contemporary African Art. Artists have included Chief (Mrs) Nike Davies-Okundaye; Vojiniaina; Victor Ehikhamenor and Ndidi Emefiele among others. The beautiful mother-daughter duo behind the gallery are Michele Cooper-Eliso and her mother, the enigmatic Mrs Cooper, Both have worked within the art industry for years and offer great expertise in up and coming contemporary African talent.
TAFETA: Gallery of African Arts
47-50 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SB
0207 637 2273; firstname.lastname@example.org
TAFETA is a small, visual art space in behind London's bustling Oxford Street that showcases up and coming contemporary african artists. Director, Ayo Adeyinka, has an exquisite eye when it comes to exhibiting and nurturing new talent and has brought to the forefront amazing and talented unknown artists from Africa. My favourite exhibition there was no doubt the works of Babajide Olatunji and his "Tribal Marks Series II". Babajide - a young, budding artist - created these 8 massive charcoal works which explored the practice of tribal facial markings in contemporary Nigeria; of which each took 4 weeks to complete.
16 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8BP
+44 (0)20 7631 3808; email@example.com
Tiwani Contemporary is a great space where one can view international emerging and established artists, with a focus on Africa and its diaspora. It is a great interactive art gallery, it is not just about looking at art on walls over here! The most recent exhibition was Zina Saro-Wiwa's Pineapple Show in which Zina curated the works of herself and 11 other African artists' interpretations of the pineapple.
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Strand, London WC2R 1LA
+44 207 373 3308; firstname.lastname@example.org
I am already counting down till October to attend this art fair again! The reviews from the show in New York were beyond positive with more than 150 contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora exhibiting. Essentially African art's "Frieze", 1:54 founding Director - Touria El Glaoui - has taken African art to a level no one else has achieved yet and has brought it to the forefront of the UK and US art markets. 1:54 serves as a platform to view ALL the up and comers in the African art world and as each fair grows, the London edition this October is set to be bigger and better than before. 40 galleries from 18 countries will be showing at Somerset House.
St christopher's place
26 barrett street
london w1u 1bg
+44 203 388 0540; INFO@tyburngallery.COM
Giles Peppiatt of Bonhams told me personally that Tyburn is THE gallery of contemporary African art in London. Founded by South African lawyer Emma Mennell, previous editor of the South African Journal of Human Rights, the space has exhibited some of the strongest and freshest contemporary artists currently on the market, my three personal favourites included - Moffat Takadiwa, Mohau Modisakeng and Dan Halter.
jack bell gallery
13 MASONS YARD
LONDON SW1Y 6BU
+44 207 930 8999; email@example.com
This wonderful, intimate gallery in St James's has introduced the art market to some exciting up-and comers in the contemporary African art world. Artists such as Aboudia - whom I had the pleasure of interviewing - Boris Nzebo, Armand Boua and Leonce Raphael Agbodjlou to name but a few. The success of Jack Bell Gallery lies in the close relationships it has with the artists it displays. The gallery nurtures its artists and forms a bond with them as well as the work they exhibit.
24 old gloucester street
LONDON wc1n 31l
+44 207 242 7367
October Gallery looks like a quaint space in Bloomsbury (next door to a cafe) but it has been the venue that has exhibited some of the greatest artists Africa has produced, most notably, the incredible El Anatsui. The gallery is also home to fellow contemporary champ Ablade Glover and the talented Nnenna Okore and has MANY other artists on its books. The October Gallery is such a heavyweight in the contemporary African art world, that it has had its works collected from institutions such as The British Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Centre Pompidou, Paris. The gallery has been operating successfully for 35 years and continues to be a pioneer for African art.
50 Golborne Road,
London, W10 5PR
+44 (0) 203 4418980
50 Golborne’s mission is to investigate the convergence between contemporary art, design and craft. Breaking down the boundaries created by the artificial separation of creative fields, 50 Golborne supports and promotes some of the best creative projects developed by international artists, designers and makers. It especially supports those relevant to portraying and interrogating a world which is changing fast and in which the African continent plays a dynamic and significant role.
Artsist include Joana Choumali, Pierre-Christophe Gam and the visually stimulating work of Emo de Medeiros.
sulger-buel lovell GALLERY
unit 2, la gare 51
london se1 0bz
+44 203 268 2101
The South African establishment has opened shop in London and is bringing its 35 plus years of contemporary African art experience to the capital. Another gallery that cares about its artists, Sulger-Buel Lovell Gallery is hand-in-hand with all processes as well as dedicating themselves into educating brand new buyers and collectors. Artists on their books include Paul Emmanuel, Carolyn Parton, Christine Dixie and my dear friend Victor Ekpuk.
Transcending Boundaries by Aabru Art
+44 7847 244 217; firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcending Boundaries, the UK’s largest selling West African art exhibition, is presented by Aabru Art in London. Aabru Art celebrates excellence in West African Contemporary art and has exhibitions and events in different venues around London but art can be viewed at their project space in Marylebone and Old Broad Street in London. Anshu Bahanda, the founder of Aabru Art, is a wonderful and elegant woman who can always be seen at the exhibitions as well as being a mere phone call and email away for those who wish to discuss the West African art market and the artists she represents.(Aabru also offer a consulting and curating of projects). For those wishing to learn more, they also run art programmes of educational events available to the public. Past Artist tours and panel discussions have been with the likes of Biyi Bandele (Director of Half of a Yellow Sun), Chris Spring (British Museum), Nkem Ifejika (Business Journalist), Giles Peppiatt (Bonhams) and Abiodun Olaku (West African Artist and Founder of the Guild of Fine Arts).