Top 10 Artists Out of Africa

Chimene Montgomery March 28, 2014

Kudzanai Chiurai
The aesthetics of contemporary African art is bold and powerful, but Africa’s artists, often overlooked in the mainstream art world, are creating masterpieces that are influencing and helping to lead the development of African modern art. With their complex styles and creative niches, these producers of fine art, mixed media, sculptures, and abstract paintings can compete across the global art world. Here, Face2Face Africa takes a look at 10 avant-garde artists who share themes of African history and political issues in their work.

SEE ALSO: Street Style: Johannesburg Import Conner Varin on Fashion and Photography

1. Kudzanai Chiurai of Zimbabwe (work pictured at top) is positioned to become one of Africa’s most-important artists. Rembrandt would appreciate her coloring and techniques that connect to his work “The Blinding of Samson.” Chiurai’s work — like Rembrandt — is subtle yet the lighting and coloring has a depth of emotion.

Tracey Rose art

2. South African artist Tracey Rose’s (pictured above) style incorporates digital manipulation and hunting imagery to skillfully portray the duality of a people, a nation, their sub-cultures, and the conflicts that lie within.

Meschac Gaba's work of Benin

3. Meschac Gaba‘s work of Benin uses local materials to create his installations that consist of paintings and ceramics.

Nástio Mosquito of Angola


4. Nástio Mosquito (work pictured) of Angola creates multimedia art and videos that look more like dreamscape hallucinations. Mosquito conveys a self-reflecting form of dual reality that seems to ask the question, “Who is looking at whom?”

Ethiopia's Julie Mehretu

5. Ethiopia’s Julie Mehretu (work pictured) has a very independent style. Her art does not directly display any historical significance, but in her piece entitled, “Stadia Series,” she uses calligraphy and scattered brush strokes within a collage of geometric shapes to portray the solidity of time and space. Each individual viewer would find something different in this piece.

Ghana's El Anatsui's

6. Ghana’s El Anatsui’s process of using power tools to create his art (work pictured) elevate his materials into a masterpiece of art, turning what would be considered worthless items into collectable items. Anatsui uses his art to express social historical conflicts.

Ibrahim El Salahi

7. Ibrahim El Salahi of Sudan is considered the “God Father of African modernism.” The former political prisoner is a calligraphy artist (work pictured) who’s work spans 40 years.

Sokari Douglas Camp

8. Sokari Douglas Camp of Nigeria has broken barriers to become one of the top-female African sculpture artists (work pictured). She employs tribal Kalabari culture and traditions to create her signature modern steel sculptures.

Abdoulaye Konaté9. Mali’s Abdoulaye Konaté dominates different fields of art; he uses photography and digital media manipulation along with ink and oil paint to create social, political, and imaginary objects that are self-reflective dreamscapes.

Cheri Samba10. Chéri Samba of the Democratic Republic of Congo creates signature-styled, bold self–portraits (work pictured) that undoubtedly represent the life and vividness of Africa’s rainbow.

SEE ALSO: Haitian-American Artist Uses Art To Empower Youth

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: March 28, 2014


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates