Peju Alatise is an interdisciplinary artist, architect and author of two novels. The Nigerian artist, born in 1975, draws on the manifold cultural meaning of the national costume in both literal and symbolic terms. This is the basis for her artistic investigation into the significance and essence of womanhood. Alatise often weaves her artistic creations into her literary discourse on the advocacy campaign, ‘Child Not Bride’. Her success with her novels and writing is accompanied by a growing support from the art market. In 2015, Alatise’s High Horses triptych has made a great sale and has broken her personal record at the ‘Africa Now’ auction in Bonhams London. Her work Missing is her poignant polemic against the on-going problem of sex trafficking in Nigeria. Her work was first exhibited at the Nike Art Gallery in Lagos under the title “Material Witness” in 2012. The artist is regularly participating in international exhibitions and art fairs across the African continent and beyond.
The Unconscious Struggle, 2012, mixed media 254 x 152.5 cm – © Peju Alatise
Kudzanai Chiurai is an internationally acclaimed young artist from Zimbabwe. Born in 1981, the artist was exiled from his home country after producing an unflattering portrait of the President of Zimbabwe. He now works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chiurai’s work is a mixture of digital photography, editing and printing, painting and film. He is the first black student to receive a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. His caustic, theatrical multimedia compositions address the most pertinent issues that his generation faces in Austral Africa, from government corruption to xenophobia and displacement. Chiurai has participated in numerous local and international exhibitions ever since his first solo exhibition in 2003 in the Brixton Art Gallery, London. Most recently, his work has been exhibited in “Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and ‘Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now’ at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which has also acquired Chiurai’s work for their collection.
Untitled (The English Garden), 2013, Oil and enamel on canvas, 222 x 180 x 5 cm
Pierre-Christophe Gam is a French pluridisciplinary artist born in 1983 and raised in Chantilly, France. He studied architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and art direction at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London where he now lives and works. Inspired by his Egyptian, Chadian and Cameroonian heritage, his work combines design, photography and digital manipulation, creating an heteroclite palette of images where he explores identity, post-colonialism, globalization and power. In 2013, Gam founded AfroPolis, a cultural platform that through exhibitions and talks analyses Africa’s position on an international scale. His work was part of the exhibition “Making Africa” at the Vitra Museum in Germany and travelled to the Guggenheim Bilbao this year.
The Affogbolo, Her Pink, 2015, C-print mounted on aluminium, 40 x 40 cm Edition of 5.
Maïmouna Guerresi is an interdisciplinary artist mostly known for her mythical portraits. Born in 1951 in Italy, Guerresi is now based in Dakar, Senegal while travelling to Italy occasionally. Her work is not only limited to photography, she is also a sculptor and a video and installation artist. She is inspired by the 1970’s Body Art movement with conceptual experiment as basis for most of her work. During her travels in several African countries in 1991, Guerresi had a change in identity and direction with regards to her work and started to focus on themes of multicultural symbolism and feminine spirituality. For over twenty years, Guerresi’s work has been about empowering women and encouraging appreciation of humanity and the human body in the African cultural context. Guerresi fashions the costume in the portraits from fabrics she has gathered from travelling around Africa, and the photographs are shot against a wall outside her house in Dakar, Senegal. Guerresi participated at the Venice Biennale in 1982, the Biennale was curated by Tommaso Trini. Her work is now exhibited across the globe, including France, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Mali, and the United States.
Taliby, 2010, Lambda Print, triptych, Lambda Print
Julie Mehretu, born in 1970, is a painter who does large-scale, gestural paintings that are built up through layers of acrylic paint on canvas, then marked with pencil, pen, ink and thick streams of paint. The Ethiopian-born artist now lives in New York and travels between the United States and Berlin, Germany. Having spent her formative years at the University Cheik Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, Mehretu is extremely involved in the artistic education of the new generation in Africa. In 2003, the artist worked with 30 young girls from East Africa during her residency at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, US. In 2015, she was honoured with the United States State Department’s ‘National Medal of Arts’. Mehretu had her first exhibition in 1995 in “Ancestral Reflections” in the United States. One of the artist’s most widely known works is the 80-foot-wide mural in the Goldman Sachs tower titled Mural. Her pieces are shown in worldwide art fairs and exhibitions, and they are publicly accessible in museums across the globe including in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Heavier than air (written form), 2014, Ink and acrylic on canvas, 122 x 183 cm.
Athi-Patra Ruga was born in 1984 in Umtata, South Africa and is a multidisciplinary artist who constantly questions and confronts politics and ideologies through vivid colours and colourful installations as well as performances. His works are impregnated by eclectic references in which gender, humour and eroticism meet, creating a hybrid body of constructions. His first exhibition was in 2004 in South Africa. He currently works and lives between Capetown and Johannesburg. Moreover, his work is part of the Pigozzi Collection, the IZIKO South African National Gallery, Museion in Italy and the Wedge Collection.
Miss Azania, 2019, 2015, archival inkjet print on Photorag Baryta, 150 x 190 cm, edition of 10. Photographer: Hayden Phipps –
Yinka Shonibare Mbe
Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in London, UK in 1962, but his family moved to Lagos, Nigeria when he was three. Shonibare is known for his colonial and post-colonial themes within the contemporary context of globalisation through different media including painting, sculpture, photography, film and performance. He now lives and works in London, UK. The artist was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, and was awarded the decoration of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the same year. In 2010, for the first time, he was commissioned to create Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, which is on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. Shonibare’s first solo exhibition was in 1989 at the Byam Shaw Gallery and the Bedford Hill Gallery in London. His work is included in many public collections and museums in the UK, the US, Canada, Israel, Italy, Monaco and Sweden.