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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Top 12 African Artists that Perform in London Art Fair

African happens to be one of the leading continents when it comes to artistic practices and performance – this record has been in existence over the years.

The London Art Fair is a symposium for emerging individual artists and gallerists from across the globe to showcase their contemporary, modern arts. 

Like most art fairs worldwide, the London Art Fair creates an avenue where artists connect with art lovers and make quick sales.

Surprisingly, some of the African artists with exceptional talents and charisma have the opportunity to perform in this almighty art fair on one occasion or more.

These artists come from different parts of African countries, and their qualities in the art industry are top-notch.

Below are the top ten (10) African Artists you should know that perform at the London Art Fair. 

1. Pippa Hetherington – South Africa

Hetherington is an African photographer and a visual artist from South Africa who performs at the London Art Fair.

She has lots of experience in lens-based work and documentaries, working independently in photojournalism while focusing on human rights. 

Her artwork has been over 20 years, focusing on cultural identity, history, memory, and family. Most of her works appear in national and international publications.

Her artistic skill focuses on video documentaries, textiles, and photographic portraiture while exploring untold stories of remembrance and loss in creating new identities.

She’s a joint-founder of “Behind the Faces” – a storytelling project of pan-African women (launched in 2013 at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg). 

The project’s sole aim is to encourage women to know their rights and let their opinions impact society. 

She founded an internet-based photographic archive in 2012, which is accessible via “Africa Media Online.”

In addition to performing in the almighty London Art Fair, she has memorable representations in many exhibitions both in solo and group across various cities listed below;

  • Johannesburg
  • Cape Town
  • Bloemfontein
  • Durban
  • Port Elizabeth
  • London
  • Dublin Ireland
  • New York City and Washington DC.

2. Niyi Olagunju – Nigeria

Niyi Olagunju is a contemporary artist from Nigeria, West Africa, born in 1981, performing in the London Art Fair.

He devotes his interest to modern, traditional African sculptures, which continues his global trade exploration, also explores his word ‘the absolute commodification of everything.’

Olagunju’s sculptures exhibit the initial sketches that separate upright and have their internal surface wholly made of metals mined from the region where they are the source.

His sculptures’ exhibition, coated and primed with metals mined from Africa on their internal surfaces, go along with preparatory sketches bisected vertically.

His art projects drive continuous growth in trading the traditional artifacts of Africa, crafted and used for particular traditional functions for a prolonged period.

According to their rarity and provenance, his works now have great value and several global exhibitions. 

One can also find the sculptures of these practicing studio artists not just in Africa but also in America and Europe.

Again, Olagunju uses both precious and semi-precious, which considers the complex relationships resulting from the natural exploitation of Africa’s resources.

The sculpture also emphasized the effect of the exploitation on the communities and their cultural legacies.

Most art fairs around the world showcase Niyi Olagunju’s sculptures, and they include;

  • 2019 Get Up, Stand Up Now, Somerset House in London 
  • KUBATANA, Vestfossen Kunstlabratorium, Oslo (2019)
  • 2020 TEFAF Maastricht by the House of the European History – Brussel, Belgium.

3. Nana Yaw Oduro – Ghana 

Nana Yaw Oduro, an African artist from Accra, Ghana, was born in 1994 and counts as one of the artists performing at the London Art Fair. 

He started his carrier as a photojournalist while using images to show a picture of himself. 

The stories which emanate from his images are so captivating and inspirational by his past.

Nana inspects issues embedded in his individual life with his masculinity, and this act ignites the sense of suspense in the viewers’ minds.

His photographs depict the sense of freedom through the photographer’s imagination.

He has a series of active participation in various exhibitions across different countries, including the United States, Ghana, and China.

Some of his current exhibitions are;

  • SÍSIFO, at HOA Galeria, São Paulo – solo exhibition in 2021 
  • Between Rivers, Waterfalls, and the Deepest Sea, at M+B Gallery, LA – a group show in 2021.

4. Doaa Fakher – Egypt 

Doaa Fakher is another African artist from Egypt, born in 1992, performing in the London Art Fair. Her works of art offer a quick look into Egyptian Gen Z’s mind.

She derived inspiration from nature, referencing her aethereal creatures directly from trunk-like trees, and then adds human characteristics to make it realistic.

Her works differ in color choices she adopts, to which she includes the sudden disparity between the background foreground to state her subject clearly.

Doaa’s participation in several exhibitions and fairs is notable, such shows are;

  • 2018 Dai Arab Youth Festival – Dai Gallery, Cairo
  • The 10th Luxor International Painting Symposium
  • 2016 & 2017 Youth Salon at The Palace of Arts – Cairo Opera House
  • Solo exhibition at Townhouse Gallery 2018 in Cairo

She has many accolades, including the Salah Taher Award in 2018, the 10th International Painting Symposium participation award in 2017, and the 28th Youth Salon prize in painting. 

Additionally, Fakher’s works of art take a significant part of the arts displayed at the Museum of Modern Art collection located at the Opera House Cairo.

5. Joana Choumali – Cote d’Ivoire

Joana Choumali performs at the London Art Fair as one of the renowned African artists, mainly working with documentary forms, mixed media, and conceptual portraiture. 

She’s from Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, born in 1974, also living and working in her country.

The sole aim of her work is to disrupt flawed preconceptions of a homogenous, continent-wide identity, with a specific focus on Africa. 

Choumali explores people’s complex identities using her works, with a thematic interest in gender issues and the assumed binary amid tradition and modernity.

In one of her art series called Ça va aller, the expression was Bassam residents’ emotional hurt and trauma following the rebellion attack of March 2016.

She was among the awardees of Prix Pictet 2019. Below are some of her most current exhibitions;

  • ‘We the People, Biennale Internationale d’Art Contemporain de Casablanca, Casablanca (2016)
  • Afrotopia, Biennale Internationale de la Photographie Africaine de Bamako, Bamako (2017)
  • Welcome Home, Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakech (2019)
  • Persona, the social mask, Les Rencontres d’Arles
  • Africa Forecast, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta

6. Dickens Otieno – Kenya

Dickens Otieno is one African artist who participates in the London art Fair; he is from Migori in Kenya.

The artist captures people’s attention using the drawn tapestries where he attaches meanings to low object that people ignores.

He uses aluminum cans that are one of the trashes to calve papyrus raffia and so on.

The artist focuses more on his natural surroundings, but mostly in his home town Nairobi to carry out his work.

 He also gathers much experience from his mother about tailoring, which grows his interest and knowledge about drawing, color, and objects.

7. Patrick Bongo – Congo 

Patrick Bongoy is from Kinshasa in DR Congo, and he also performs at the London Art Fair.

The textured surface of his works results from a thorough process of cutting and weaving together.

Specifically, his work takes its basis on the aspects of dehumanization that occur when peoples and communities experience challenging historical narratives, degrading physical environments, and socio-political violations. 

He produces his artwork from recycled rubber strips that depicts dark narratives.

He performed in the first Stellenbosch Triennale in 2020.

His work was a showcase at the fair, including the contemporary Istanbul, 1- 54 London, and Lisboa Art Fair, with his work in place for collection around the world.

8. Tuli Mekondjo – Angola

Another African artist who participates in the London art Fair is Tuli Mekondjo from Kwanza- Sul, Angola, born in 1982.

She resides and works in Windhoek, Namibia, exploring the identity politics and history using the lens of Namibia’s independence war exile inhabitants.

Tuli Mekondjo works with textured, layered mixed media including mahangu millet grain – (Namibian staple food), paint, collage, embroidery, resin, and expands to art performances.

She draws on photographs, histories, and archives of change, submission, and loss, stitching between the present and past, precisely when it has to do with women.

She sees her approach as firmly based on freestyle, and she states that after an idea comes to her mind, she starts working on experimental pieces to test it out. 

Her initial mentor was NJE Collective – an artist-run collective established in Namibia for Southern Africa artists.

That notwithstanding, Tuli, since 2018, has performed at fairs and exhibitions across different countries such as London, Windhoek, Paris Cape Town, and Johannesburg.

Her most current exhibition, ‘Borders of Memory,’ happened in April 2020 at Guns and Rain Artworks and Exhibitions in Johannesburg, South Africa.

9. Jean David Not – Cameroon

Jean David Not is an African artist from Cameroon who performs at the London Art Fair, born in 1989.

His theme borders with the trans- African migration, and his works combine both the comprehensive portraits with layers of complex cartographic information.

He draws upon the memory of uprooted people to build a powerful work filled with emotion, and it pays tribute to them and attests.

His ability to put faces on all those who went for exiles restores their dignities and reminds us that world history is made of exiles, of migrations, of tragedies, of sufferings but also hope.

The action portrays in his painting carries within itself some questions about the societies, their ability to settle conflicts, how they face environmental and economic challenges.

10. Rahman Akar – Sierra Leone

He is an African artist from Sierra Leone and the founder of Signature African Art who performs in the London Art Fair.

Rahman started experiencing art wort while growing up among a collection of antiques based in Africa, and his father gathered the antiques during his travels on the continent.

On the initial state of his work, he focuses on older artists such as Ben Enwonwu and Ngoko, but he later adds other contemporary artists.

He provides mentorship and subsequently exhibition before opening. 

For over 30 years that he stands his signature, he opens a new space in London, launching his gallery out of Africa.

11. Dudu [DuduBloom] – South African

DuduBloom is a visual artist from Johannesburg in South Africa that established the Proof Studio of art.

Specifically, her work revolves around the consternation that pinpoints her as an African woman.

Dudu exhibits his artworks in many groups, even on public display during art fairs and exhibitions across the globe. 

She won the accolade of the Cassirer Welz Award in 2019, and recently, she is a member of the RMB Talent Unlocked program.

 12. Adjani Okpu- Egbe – Cameroon 

Adjani Okpu Egbe is one of the African artists that play a vital role in the London Art Fair. He was born in 1979 in Kumba, Cameroon, where he lives and works but travels to different parts of the world for art exhibitions.

His painting reviews multiple topics, and drawing concentrates on several fields and political movements.

Okpu Egbe’s artistic work incorporates the use of raw and eloquent words to pass autobiographic messages.

He has active participation in various exhibitions within and outside Africa like the London Art Fair, Contemporary Art, and Afro-Futurism, among many others.

Bottom Line

The almighty annual art exhibition, London Art Fair, gives talented African artists opportunities for international recognition and the chance to feel a sense of belonging.

It also encourages the up-and-coming African artists to strive relentlessly to achieve their dreams in the field of art.

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