Alongside African fashion and interior fashion is a budding market and interest in African Art. Art, especially contemporary, is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to some of the cultures of African nations, considering Africa has always conjured up stunning patterns, colours, and styles, mixed into gorgeous paintings, statues, and the like. Any trip to the African continent would include some variation of art to be experienced – usually in the form of a hotel or home décor, perhaps bold fashion statements found in local markets or just on the streets of towns and villages. But for a more modern view, here is a contemporary African art gallery list to help round out your African Art experience. The best part is that many galleries offer prints to purchase, allowing you to take home a copy of your favourite pieces
Goodman Gallery, Joburg & Cape Town, South Africa
The Goodman Gallery, founded in 1996, has focused on art pieces by both African and international artists who create pieces inspired by South African’s socio-political issues. This gallery hosts both well-known as well as up and coming artists from around the continent as well as abroad, creating a fantastic mix of styles and variations. The ethos of this African art gallery is to support and develop artistic talent in those with politically charged voices who have something to say and are saying it through art, helping to build and develop a cultural consciousness. The gallery encouraged artists to still showcase work through the apartheid era, staying true to its persona of encouraging political pieces. You can find the gallery in the Parkwood neighbourhood of johannesburg or the Woodstock neighbourhood in Cape Town.
Afriart Gallery, Kampala, Uganda
This gorgeous contemporary African art gallery on Kenneth Dale drive in Kampala plays host to a vast collection of paintings and sculptures by both well-established and up and coming Ugandan artists and other artists from across the continent. This gallery regularly features different artists and has, therefore, become a prime focal point for Uganda’s developing art scene. Afriart gallery also provides consulting services and a shop selling books, statuettes, traditional fabrics, locally made clothes, recycled glassware etc. A must-see for any trip to Kampala to get a feel for the art scene here.
Banana Hill Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
Primarily showcasing artists from Kenya and East Africa, this contemporary African art gallery on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi, is a real find for an introduction into fantastic art from the region. Artists and sculptors showcased here focus their art on showing the struggles of real life in both the cities and countryside in the area, a look into life and culture of regional peoples. The main vision of this particular gallery is to bring exposure to African artists and to promote art in all its forms throughout the region. Banana Hill Art Gallery is found on Banana Raini Road, on the outskirts of Nairobi.
First Floor – African Art Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe
This independently run African art gallery is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. Run entirely by emerging artists and founded in 2009, this inner-city gallery showcases the artwork of rising and promising artists who are supported by the gallery through their professional development. Growing exposure of emerging artists, both locally and internationally as well as running art classes and workshops and also running parts of the gallery as experimental art spaces, helps this be a progressive and engaging space where people of all backgrounds can come to experience and be introduced to local art. Recently it’s been run in conjunction with live art events such as poetry readings, music events, and film screenings. First Floor Gallery can be found on George Silundika Avenue in Harare.
Zoma Contemporary Art Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Listed as one of the top places to visit by the New York Times in 2014, the Zoma Contemporary Art Centre in Ethiopia focuses on creating environmentally conscious art projects across the country in a variety of disciplines and forms. It also encourages international exchanges between artists in the form of art and cultural exchanges. This unique African art gallery is housed in a structure made of mud, sand, stone, and straw sculpted by its founder, Elias Sime. The gallery, in its very structure, promotes its philosophy of driving environmental sustainability through art. The gallery also hosts visiting artists, runs artist-in-residence and education programs, and has a second, smaller gallery in a historical town named Harla.
Omenka – African Art Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
This leading contemporary african art gallery in Lagos showcases the work of emerging and acclaimed Nigerian and international artists and also is home to one of the largest collections of the paintings of famous Nigerian artist Ben Enwounwu. This gallery participates in small and large scale, solo, themed and collaborative exhibitions as well as international art fairs and workshops to help encourage dialogue and promotion of contemporary art in not just the country but the continent. Omenka regularly collaborates with international artists to help showcase a culture of experimental art as well as creative and cultural exchanges between local and international artists.
Eureka Galerie, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Located in the capital city of the Ivory Coast, this fantastic little African art gallery is devoted to discovering, sharing, and growing the appreciation for contemporary art in the Ivory Coast region and beyond. The gallery hosts wooden and bronze sculptures, carvings, paintings, and antique masks, traditional fabrics and other textiles. The gallery has also showcased work by groundbreaking Ivorian artists as well as a few international artists as well. The gallery can be found on Rue Marconi, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and is a must-see for those interested in unique African art.
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