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Some of the most important artists offered by the African continent

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

Some of the most important artists offered by the African continent

This article will give you a look on a couple of the most famous contemporary African artists that the continent has produced in recent years.

Sokari Douglas Camp is a female African artist that has been noticed on the European art market with some extremely expressive man-high metal sculptures that show her very close relationship to her home country, even though she left it at the age of twenty-one in order to study in Oakland, California and then at the London Royal College of Art. Her sculptures make use of masks and ritual clothing as compositional themes in order to reflect the relationships, both cultural and political between Africa and the West.

Dilomprizulike is an enigma of an artist, considering himself the “junk man of Africa” he creates sculptures and various performances which are intricately tied into the traditions of African masquerade, but which at the same time seem to have a certain post-modern awareness. In fact it can be considered that he is his own art at the same time as living in his art because he lives in what can be considered a junkyard where he constantly creates artwork by recycling the detritus of Lagos. Despite this, his creations are extremely beautiful, intriguing as well as sober and serious.

Pierre Atepa Goudiaby is an architect who got his degree in New York in 1973, and despite his humble beginnings of being born in a small village, he is regarded nowadays to be among the mostsuccessful architects in Africa with his company being responsible for some of the most innovative and modern building designs in Senegal. These projects include the West Africa Central bank in Dakar which is modeled on the baobab tree. He chose a baobab tree because in his culture the elders used to gather round a sacred baobab tree and have discussions.

Tracy Rose is a mixed-race feminist who weaves a crazy world where she wields identity and sexual politics in a sort of a war on her fellow South Africans’ sensibilities through her films and artworks. She creates a virtual car crash of pop culture mixed with extreme sociology into something that is so absurd that it can only draw you in. Even when considering the polarized backdrop of her home town of Johannesburg she weaves a sort of visual poetry that can make one laugh as well as feel guilty for colluding.

Ibrahim El Salahi is considered to be the godfather of African modernism creating some great pieces of work over a span of five decades, having as many chapters to his work as Picasso as well as generating his own personal art-history. It is said that while he was thrown in jail for six months during the ‘70s being accused of anti-government activities by the dictator at that time, he asked a guard for paper and pencils only to have the guard laugh in his face saying: “You’re not in New York now!”. Despite this, he managed to beg and steal what he needed in order to paint and draw being full conscious of the threat of being beaten or worse.


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