Contemporary African art is on the rise! And not just back on the continent, but in other countries across the globe.
For those us contemporary African art appreciators, we can breathe a sigh of “about time” relief! For those that are new to art of any sort, I welcome you to enjoy the beautiful, visually-stimulating and eclectic collections that contemporary African art brings.
I have already written about my favourite London spots, so below are more African art galleries and spaces to check out on the home turf (Africaaaa), Europe and the USA.
Art Twenty One
Eko Hotel & Suites 1415 Adetokunbo Ademola Street Kuramo Waters, Victoria Island P.O. Box 8054, Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: + 234 812 955 5555; www.art21lagos.com
Art Twenty One is Lagos’ trendiest, newsest, most modern art space and the gallery has come into the Contemporary African art market with a BANG. Located below Eko Hotel in Victoria Island, Art Twenty One does not just give you art, it gives you an art scene. The space itself is amaaazing – open, bright, clean and contemporary. The artworks are fresh, young and bold. The events edgy, fun and interactive. Art Twenty One has the same vibe one would come to expect of a New York art gallery but the difference is this is African art in Africa. Perhaps Twenty One will be the one to give the cool, young kids an introduction to Contemporary African art? We shall be watching this space…
Arthouse Contemporary Limited
Flat 3, 36 Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: +234 1 774 0909; www.arthouse-ng.com
Arthouse Contemporary is one of the few (perhaps the ONLY) Art Auction houses located in Nigeria. Lagos’ own little ‘Bonhams’, their aim is the growth of Traditional, Modern and Contemporary African Art not just internationally, but locally and across Africa. Be sure to check out their website for upcoming auctions and exhibitions which they host in different venues in Lagos.
24, (Module Alakija) Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: +234 818 455 3331; http://omenkagallery.com
The Omeka Gallery is a new space in Lagos that I am yet to go to. Located in the home of one of Africa’s greatest artists – Ben Enwonwu - the gallery consists of an exhibition area and a second space. Run by Oliver Enwonwu, one can only imagine that the art gene has been passed down and we can expect great things of this art space. The gallery focuses on emerging and established Nigerian and international artists and is centered on contemporary art development in Nigeria, as well as Africa and its diaspora.
Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)
9 McEwen Street, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: +234 702836 7106 / 815580 7542; www.ccalagos.org
Curator, Bisi Silva, knows Contemporary African art. Unlike other rt galleries, the focus of CCA is on works in the new media and experimental visual art – such as photography, animation, film, video, performance and installation – that are still relatively little-noticed in the contemporary art world in Nigeria. Innovative space and work, CCA regularly hold events and exhibitions as well as workshops.
5 Military Street, Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: +234 809 321 5460; www.rele.co
It is wonderful to see new, modern spaces popping up in Nigeria. Some curators argue that it is the space that makes the art, and if that is the case then Rele Gallery is one of the best there is. The gallery opened February 2015 and has already hit the ground running in exhibiting artists who may be established on their home turfs, but need to tap into the global art appreciation world. A fan of instillation art, this is another gallery that understands the power of social media marketing and provides some exquisite content of art work on their books. Follow them on instagram: @re.le
NIKE ART GALLERY
No. 2, Elegushi Road, 3rd Roundabout, Epe Expressway, Ikate Cross Road, Lekki Phase 1 Peninsula, Lekki Lagos, Nigeria
PHONE: +234 803 303 6969 http://www.nikeartcenters.com
Nike Art is more than a gallery, it is a centre, it is a school, it is a community. Founded by the great artist Chief (Mrs) Nike -Davies Okundaye - one of the most interesting, amusing and creative women I have ever had the pleasure to speak with - and her lovely daughter. The gallery is part of the Nike Art Centre and is dedicated to promoting and teaching the arts, culture, tradition, language and heritage of Nigeria.It is also known to be West Africa's largest art gallery.
Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, PMB 66 — Ministries, Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue Ridge, Accra, Ghana
phone: +233 30 39 67 575; http://www.gallery1957.com
This new gallery on the block is already making massive moves for contemporary African art not just in Ghana but worldwide. Events, exciting new artists, mini fairs, collaborations, a strong social media campaign, not to mention an amazing space in a luxury hotel - Gallery 1957 are a force to be reckoned with! Check it out for the up and comers in the art world such as Serge Attukwei Clottey who was the talk of Chale Wote Festival 2017 with his street and performance art. African art has a new and edgy face! Instagram: @gallery1957
Lome Close, East Legon, Accra, Ghana
Phone: + 233 28 91 02 163; www.nubukefoundation.org
The Nubuke Foundation is a wonderful organization in Ghana that helps nurture budding artists regardless of age or background and is dedicated to the promotion of Ghanaian visual arts, culture and heritage. The foundation has an art gallery that is a great interior space used often to exhibit budding Contemporary African artists. Programs and workshops are also available for those wishing to up their art skills.
Artists Alliance Gallery
Omanye House Tema Beach Road, Labadi, Accra, Ghana
Established Ghanaian artist Ablade Glover set up this gallery which has one of the best views in Accra. Three floors of art, sculpture and carvings overlook the sea giving the works that reside inside an even more inspirational edge as the colours of Ablade Glover’s works – as well as others – stand out in the bright rooms. A gallery for locals and tourists alike, there is even a pool at the back should you want a quick dip!
Berj Art Gallery
245/3 Ringway Link opp Video Mart, Ringway Estates, Adabraka & Asylum Down, Accra, Ghana
There is so much art and culture that exists in Accra. Everywhere one goes there are sculptures on the roads, fabrics in the market, paintings at the petrol station! It is a city that is in itself a large composition. So if you desire something a little smaller and quieter, the Berj Art Gallery is just for you. Located in Ringway Estates, this quaint gallery holds some wonderfully eye-catching works by Betty Acquah, Larry Otto and others. Check out their instagram page @BERJART for the paintings on exhibit.
Le Village des Arts de Dakar
Le Village des Arts, Route de l'aeroport,Yoff Dakar
Phone: +221 775521980; www.villagedesarts.com
One cannot go to Dakar without going to Les Village Des Arts! A community dedicated to the visual arts, under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and encompasses an area of four hectares, providing a gallery, a cafeteria, a bronze foundry (installed by a sculptor), open spaces, as well as the studios of the Village’s resident and visiting artists.
Galerie Nationale d’Art du Sénégal
Rue Rue Salva, Dakar, Senegal
Phone:+221 33 821 25 11;www.galerienationale.gouv.sn
Senegal has historically been a front-runner when it comes to promotion and appreciation of modern art in West Africa. Its biannual Dak’Art festival has been hugely successful in garnering local and international attention and has led to the development of a thriving art scene in the country’s capital. The Galerie Nationale d’Art is home to what is probably the country’s most eclectic collection of modern art.
ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury
06 bp 6499 Abidjan 06 Côte d’Ivoire
Galerie Fakjoury is a truly modern, nothing-before-seen art gallery in Abidjan. A forward pioneer of Contemporary and Modern African work, the works on display push boundaries. A space entirely dedicated to contemporary artwork exhibitions, it is a place for discoveries, exchanges and encounters. The gallery shows a new exhibition every two months and aims to broadcast the work of its artists abroad, in order to connect the African continent to the rest of the world and to reach a worldwide audience. A current favourite is the work of Aboudia.
P.O. Box 83 00502 Nairobi Kenya
ARTLabAfrica is a funky cultural and art platform from Nairobi that aims to get experimental and contemporary African art out into the world! One would see all sorts here, not just your traditional paintings and sculpture - performance, installation, painting, photography and more. The gallery nurtures and encourages creative expression in all its artists especially in the backdrop of a poverty stricken country. The gallery will be exhibiting at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair this October.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
ART EYE GALLERY
5TH FLOOR, ELLIS HOUSE ART STUDIOS, 23 VOORHOUT STREET, NEW DOORNFONTEIN, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
PHONE: + 27 71 386 2198; http://www.arteye.co.za
With the abundance of african art talent in South Africa, it is a wonder that galleries such as Art Eye, find the time to showcase them all! But they do, and do it well and this gallery is dedicated to exhibiting unknown artists, while supporting them through their collections and projects. The gallery also has a great collection of Apartheid/Struggle Art available.
Po box 3205, Parklands 2121, Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: +27 83 726 5906; http://www.afronova.com/
From the legend that was Malick Sidibé to the exciting emerging artist Lebohang Kanye - Afronova has exhibited major talent. Afronova has positioned itself as a space for African contemporary expressions and is so much more than an art gallery - it also hosts screenings, book launches and fashion shows all in the name of art.
62 Juta Street, Braamfontein 2001, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICa; PHONE: +27 11 403 1055/1908
Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock 7925, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA; PHONE: +27 21 462 1500 ; http://www.stevenson.info
Stevenson is a gallery that needs no introduction. It is one of the most forward-showing art galleries out of South Africa. It is regularly at the biggest art fairs around he world and has been behind the careers of some of the biggest artists out in the contemporary world.
163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, 2193 PHONE: +27 11 788 1113
3rd Floor, Fairweather House,176 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town; PHONE: 27 21 462 7573/4
Goodman has spend five decades shaping the way the world views African art. Another name that needs no introduction, the gallery has been responsible for bringing us artists such as Ruby Onyinyechi Amaze and William Kentridge. A firm Frieze favourite, one must congratulate the work that Goodman Gallery have done for contemporary African artists and look forward to what more they do in the next 50 years.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
67 Loop Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
PHONE: +27 21 424 9985; http://ebonycurated.com/
If you are looking for exclusive, one-off pieces and local designs then Ebony curated is the gallery for you. The gallery has many talented South African artists on its books as well as hosting shows from artists from the rest of the continent such as Nigeria's Victor Ehikhamenor. The gallery also has top notch furniture designs for the home.
SMITH STUDIO FINE ART GALLERY
56 CHURCH STREET, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
PHONE: +27 21 422 0814; http://www.smithstudio.co.za
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Candace and Amy - the ladies of SMITH - at a pop up event they held in Okapi - a shop owned by our mutual friend in London's Belgravia. I loved every single art piece they showed from artists such as Kunyalala Ndlovu (who I also met!) Claire Johnson and Banolo Kavula. It is wonderful to meet people as excited and passionate about discovering talent as the team behind SMITH are! We could honestly speak hours of art. I look forward to their future exhibitions and to the artists they will showcase.
1 Argyle Street, Woodstock 7925, Cape Town, South Africa; PHONE: +27 21 447 2376
9 Keyes Avenue,Trumpet, Keyes Art Mile, Rosbank, 2196, Johannesburg, South Africa; PHONE: +27 63 251 9523 http://www.whatiftheworld.com/
I think that is currently my favourite art gallery! It certainly has some of my most favourite artists such as Dan Halter, Michele Mathison, Mohau Modisakeng, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Moffat Takadiwa....and SO MUCH MORE! Every exhibition brings something new and amazing making WHATIFTHEWORLD honestly the coolest gallery around. The team behind the space have an eye for all sorts of African artists and works - the inspiring, the conceptual and sometimes the hilarious!
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
ADDIS FINE ART
3rd Floor, Red Building, Behind Mafi City Mall, Bole Methane Alem, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
phone: +251 913 426553; http://addisfineart.com
With a special focus on Ethiopia, Addis Fine art is bringing African talent to every art platform. A regular exhibitor at art fairs the continent and world over, the talented Wosene Worke Kosrof is an example of the calibre of artists they have in their books.
Also Known As Africa(AKAA)
Le carreau du Temple, 4 rue Eugène Spuller, 75003 Paris
AKAA – Also Known As Africa - is a brand new art fair held in France that will be dedicated to contemporary art and design from Africa. Set to be the French version of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (check details under ‘London’) the first of this fair will be taking place in Paris in the first week of December. Galleries representing African artists, African American artists, artists from the African diaspora, and artists whose work is influenced by their connection to Africa will be showcased. It has some promise, I am intrigued by the concept and I do intend to go. I will let you know my thoughts! Dec 3. – 6. 2015
Primo Marella Gallery
Viale Stelvio 66 (cross via Valtellina), 20159 Milano MI
Phone: +39 02 87 384 885; www.primomarellagallery.com
Primo Marella Gallery is not only fOcused on Contemporary African Art – they have artists from all over the world including China – however, the artists they profile and the works they exhibit from Africa are exquisite. The team behind this gallery most certainly have a good eye and the gallery itself does want to include more and more African artists on their books.
Kurfürstenstr 33 10785 Berlin
“Listros” taken from the name given to Ethiopian shoe-shiners, has left its mark as a Berlin gallery for contemporary art in the African context. Initially, the gallery focused on artists who’s topic was Africa. However, now, it has become increasingly focused on cooperation with artists from African countries and the diaspora. A very sleek gallery with four large exhibition rooms.
New York, 529 West 20th Street, 5th FL.
New York, NY 10011
Phone: +1 212- 352-8058; www.skotogallery.com
If you want to see African art in New York, the place to go is the Skoto gallery. This gallery has a strong commitment to showcasing Contemporary African art and was one of the first galleries in New York to do so. An art gallery with a voice and message, the gallery also involves itself with contemporary issues and reflects this by the artists they exhibit. Currently exhibiting Ifeoma Anyaeji: Owu (Threading) until Oct 31. 2015
jack shainman gallery
513 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
phone: +1 212 645 1701; www.jackshainman.com
Jack Shainman and the late Claude Simard founded this gallery 1984 before the movement of contemporary African art was a 'thing'. The gallery has been a champion in pushing art from Africa since the 80s and is now one of the most forefront exhibitors, curators and collectors of contemporary African art. The waves of change are slowly happening in America for African art (as opposed to African American art) and we should thank Jack Shainman and his team for being one of the first to illuminate the talent coming from the continent in the global art community.
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)
80 Hanson Pl., Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: +1 718 230 0492; http://mocada.org
MoCada is a museum with a voice and a message. A first of its kind in New York, the space serves to promote and exhibit African and African diasporan artists with social and politically messages within their artwork. Their workshops and public programs regularly on contemporary issues impacting the African diaspora.
Smithsonian: National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20560
phone: +1 202-633-4600; http://africa.si.edu
A museum DEDICATED to African art in U.S. of A! The Smithsonian Museum of African art should most certainly be a stop off as well as checking out the White House whenever visiting Washington DC. From traditional works to historic artefacts to contemporary photography – it really does have it all. There are always exhibitions on – Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria stands out as the one to absolutely see – so one is able to get your African art fix at any time on any day of the year.
MARIANE IBRAHIM GALLERY
608 Second Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
PHONE: +1 206 467 4927; http://marianeibrahim.com
The Mariane Ibrahim Gallery is Seattle's go to for your contemporary African art fix. The gallery holds established as well as emerging artists. Favourites include Zohra Opoku, Fabrice Monteiro, Maïmouna Guerresi and Jean-Claude Moschetti who, although is not an African himself, his works throughout the years encompass all that we love about African art. Instagram: @marianeibrahim