Malick Sidibé’s, first solo photography exhibition in London
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Malick Sidibé, the celebrated Malian photographer, passed away in 2016. In a lifetime dedicated to photography, he took a vast collection of pictures that shed a light on the major transformations that the Malian society had been through. In his black and white pictures, he captured the character and the essence of the youth of his country; exploding with joy, embracing modernity and pop culture. A selection of his pictures is now on display in London at Somerset House. “Malick Sidibé: the eye of modern Mali”, is the Artist’s first ever solo exhibition in the UK.

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A stop at the Fashion Cities Africa exhibition in Brighton
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Johannesburgh Display at the exhibition The term “African Fashion” has been bandied about lately. It covers, loosely, anything related to Africa and Fashion, such as Fashion Collections made using Dutch wax prints or African prints, clothing made on the continent or by African Designers.

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The Tunisian Embassy transformed into an Art Gallery
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Painting La Mer by Nidhal Chameh

What images spring to mind if you hear of Tunisia? The usual stereotypical ones would be of a sunny holiday destination or, more recently, the epicenter of the Arab Spring.

Now, a dynamic group of artists, whose work is being exhibited worldwide, are slowly painting an alternative image of their country: a thriving hub of Creativity and Arts. It is that image, that the Tunisian Embassy wanted to showcase to London when it was transformed into a temporary Art Gallery and opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, for the exhibition: Tunisia, The New Picture.

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AKAA: The first Contemporary African Art & Design Fair in Paris
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Entrance of the AKAA Fair in Paris

The first edition of the Contemporary African & Design fair – AKAA (Also Known as Africa) – was held from the 11th to 13th of November in Paris.

The objective of the fair, is to be a new platform for African artists to showcase their works to international collectors and to a wider public in order to gain the recognition they deserve. It is also part of a wider movement of people, determined to write a different narrative about Africa and counter what the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi called the “single story” of Africa.

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Yinka Shonibare At the Turner Contemporary Gallery
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Art Installation, The British Library, 2014, by Yinka Shonibare

As I stepped into the Turner Contemporary Gallery, I was taken aback by the sheer scale of ‘The British Library, 2014, an Installation by the Artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE .

From floor to Ceiling, hundreds of books are neatly organized in book shelfs that entirely cover 3 walls – Just like in a library. The books are covered in wax prints, one of Yinka’s signature materials. Together, the books make visible and almost palpable the contribution that consecutive waves of Immigrants have made to British Society. Glowing in the distance, are the names of some of the most famous immigrants and descendants of immigrants to the UK. As you step closer and read out the names, from Zaha Hadid to Anthony Bennett, from Prince Charles to Charles Mendes, from Laura Mvula to Mo Farah you couldn’t help but wonder what the alternative story – without immigration – would have been. What the UK would have looked like as a society? Which is precisely one of the objectives of the artist; questioning the role of immigration in our society.

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Interview with James Barnor on … Photography, Ghana & Muhammad Ali
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Drum Cover Girl Marie Hallowi at Charing Cross Station London 1966. Courtesy of Autograph ABP

Dear James, you are a pioneer among African photographers. You were the first Ghanaian photographer to shoot the cover for Drum, one of the first black magazines in the Sixties. We wanted our readers to learn more about your background and the impact of your work.

You trained as a basket weaver and worked as a teacher, what made you take up photography?

As I always say, Photography was practiced in my family: I had two maternal uncles who were Professional Photographers, when I was born; there were also two cousins well vexed in photography. I did not associate with any of them seriously but I remember showing an interest when I left school. I wanted to become a Police Photographer!
Somehow or somewhere along the line I ended up serving a two year apprenticeship with Mr. J.P.Darku Dodoo, one of my cousins, running a thriving practice in Accra Ghana.

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Eddy Kamuangan Ilunga at the October Gallery
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Painting entitled Lost by Eddy Kamuanga

 

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga is a young Congolese Artist. In his paintings, he explores the tension between tradition and modernity through the current fate of the Mangbetu people.

The Mangbetu are a small tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Originally a warrior tribe from Sudan, they have migrated and settled in Congo in the 18th century. Once a proud tribe, reputed for their crafts and their beautiful elongated heads, they are now reduced to a remnant group of elderly people. Like endangered species, their very existence and their culture are slowly dying out. Their elongated heads that used to be a distinct and proud sign of their tribe, have turned into an insult among their fellow citizens who value modern beauty standards.

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Discover Seydou Keida at the Grand Palais in Paris
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Seydou Keita Paris exhibition As I stood in front of the Grand Palais, admiring the architecture, I couldn’t help thinking that the imposing building was a good fit for another giant: The Malian photographer Seydou Keita who revolutionized the art of portraiture in the fifties, although the world wide recognition would only come much later.

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21 Major African Art & Design Exhibitions in 2016
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21 major African Art & Exhibitions in 2016

Contemporary African Art and Design is going through a renaissance period and 2016 will be no different. African Artists are moving from the fringe of the art scene, into the mainstream and enjoying greater recognition for their work. Read on to find out where the next exhibition near you is scheduled. Hope to see you there.

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A look back at the Beauté Congo exhibition in Paris
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Contemporary African Art is booming and 2015 was a year to remember. From the successful second edition of  1:54 Art fair in London to the “Kongo, Power and Majesty” exhibition in New York, it was clear that Contemporary African Art had burst onto the International scene and was gaining an overdue recognition.

One of the most successful African Art exhibitions last year was “Beauté Congo 1926 – 1915” at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. Its success was a testament to the global interest for this artistic style at the time when Auction houses had recorded the highest level of activity to date, for African Art.

Picture of Fondation Cartier, Paris

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