African Art like you have never seen it before at 1:54 London
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Kesh Angels, Hassan Hajjaj, 2010
Kesh Angels, Hassan Hajjaj, 2010

1:54 London is the biggest contemporary African art fair. Over the last five years, the fair has grown in notoriety, attendance and depth to become the platform of choice to experience and discuss the contemporary artistic creation of Africa and its diaspora.

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Alexis Peskine’s “Power Figures”: a spectacular rendition of the black experience.
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Alexis Peskine, Soninke, 2017. Photo Jonathan Greet, cout October Gallery
Alexis Peskine, Soninké Whispers, 2017, Photo Jonathan Greet. Courtesy October Gallery

Alexis Peskine is a visual artist who explores the “black experience” in his artwork. Looking at the large portraits created for “Power Figures”, his first solo exhibition in the UK, you could be tempted to call him a healer, or at the very least, see his art as a beautiful visual antidote to some corrosive stereotypes that have poisoned the public discourse – when talking about black people.

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Boris Nzebo’s Noir Desir exhibition opens at the Jack Bell Gallery
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Painting by Boris Nzebo, Ampoule rouge, 2017
Boris Nzebo, Ampoule rouge, 2017

Boris Nzebo, the Cameroonian Contemporary Artist is back at the Jack Bell Gallery for his 5th solo exhibition in London: Noir Desir.

His paintings are rooted in the buoyant urban environment of his home city Douala, Cameroon. His new body of work is a visual exploration of the political and social issues that are gripping his society: inequality, adultery, and acceptance of individual success. In a recent interview with CNN, He is seen completing one of the paintings of the exhibition while talking about his role as artist.

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Contemporary African Art at the Royal Academy summer exhibition
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Entrance Summer exhibition

The sign for the Royal Academy 2017 summer exhibition bears bold, bright and overall promising colours. They mirror the colours of the Wind Sculpture VI by Yinka Shonibare MBE. The sculpture itself has been erected in the courtyard, right in front of the statue draped in an african wax fabric. Together, they set the tone for the diversity of the art selection and the representation of Africa at this years’ exhibition.

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Francis Kéré designs a futuristic Serpentine Pavilion inspired by African trees
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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Francis Kéré

Ever since the summer of 2010 when the late architect Zaha Hadid designed the first Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, it became something of a fixture in the design and architectural calendar. Earlier this year, the Berlin based architect Diébédo Francis Kéré was commissioned to design the 2017 Pavilion.

Kéré conceived a futuristic tree-shaped pavilion. This modern version of a tree has curved, striking blue walls under a seemingly floating roof. The rainwater collected from the roof is drained into an underground reservoir – thus completing the image of the tree.

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20 African Art & Design events you need to know about
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20 African Art & Design events

The African continent is at the epicenter of attention. For decades, art emerging from the continent has been hastily categorized as “exotic”, “primitive” and cornered into specialist shows. However the convergence of a series of factors, the emergence of contemporary African art, some high profile fairs and exhibitions and the success of some artists who managed to harness the power of social media, have contributed to a major shift in perception.

This is evident in the record level of growth recorded in African art in the last few years. This shows no sign of abating, sustained by both international collectors and wealthy Africans keen to invest and to promote their heritage. In a game of catch up, a record number of exhibitions and fairs have been organized so far this year, and the second half of the year is set to be just as riveting. Here is a selection of 20 African art and design events not to miss.

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Loud: Ndidi Emefiele’s first solo exhibition in London
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What does it mean to be a Black Woman today? And what is expected of a Black Woman today? These questions may lend themselves to a multitude of tentative answers. Over at the Rosenfeld Porcini gallery, the Artist Ndidi Emefiele is exploring these questions and offering an emphatic answer in her latest series of work: Loud.

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PICHA: Painting a contemporary image of Africa, one picture at a time
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Picture of Josiane Faubert, Founder of PICHA

Let’s run an experiment. If you google “Africa”, besides the maps of the continent, about 10% of the first 400 images are safari pictures closely followed by stunning landscape pictures. In comes Josiane Faubert. Three years ago, the creative Entrepreneur, originally from Gabon, launched Pichastock – a photography marketplace with a mission: paint a contemporary image of Africa, one picture at a time. We spoke to her to find out more.

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