Category Archives: African Art Exhibitions

African Photography|The Palaces Of Nigeria’s Monarchs Captured by George Osodi

The Newark Museum presents an exhibition of 40 large-scale portraits from a new series by acclaimed Nigerian photographer George Osodi. Royals and Regalia: Inside the Palaces of Nigeria’s Monarchs running through August 9, 2015. Exhibited for the first time in the United States, the glowing coloured photographs feature the leaders of modern-day monarchies throughout the country, from Umiaghwa Abraka Kingdom, Oshogboland, to Idumuje Unor.


“The images provide audiences with a rare and intimate look inside Nigeria’s palaces and throne rooms, capturing the personalities of the rulers, the splendor of their dress, and the details of their settings,”

said Christa Clarke, Ph.D., the Museum’s Senior Curator of the Arts of Global Africa, who organised the exhibition.

The George Osodi’s ongoing project has taken him into the palaces of more than 20 kings and queens all over the country. The project is intended to show off Nigeria’s history and cultural complexity, and to promote harmony in a country often torn apart by ethnic and religious conflict. This is the first showcase of the photographer’s works and believes the project has special relevance for Nigerians in diaspora and their children, who have never been to their homeland.

Speaking to Slate Magazine, he says

“I feel that it’s high time we as a country see this diversity as a point of unity in Nigeria rather than something that divides us.”

“These kings, some of them have had ancestors who were kings in the early days of slavery. Some were kings in the early days of the Europeans capturing various kingdoms. Some were heavily humiliated, and they were photographed in ways that were dehumanizing by some of these captors in the early days of colonialism,” Osodi said. “I wanted to now show them in the modern day as true kings of the 21stcentury.”

“We are living in a much more modern society today, and a lot of people have misplaced their cultural identity, especially because of technology and globalization. I think it’s good to remind Nigerians who left the country and had the next generation born in foreign lands that you have a home, a place where you come from, and this is what it looks like.”

Exclusive| All Photos from Dinaka Gallery’s Opening of Sensory Experience By Sor Sen

Sor Sen was born on the 24th August, 1985. He is a graduate from the, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts (2008) and doubles with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Painting degree.
He has participated in many group exhibitions, competitions and international workshops. Sor Sen’s works engages social, cultural narratives of his immediate environment employing line a fundamental element of art for expression with strong stylistic influences from the post impressionist artists. Sor Sen’s paintings are sensitive yet evocative creations, which dramatizes his style. He lives and practices art in Abuja.

Awards / Prizes
2009: First prize winner, second edition of Egypt embassy, Abuja Art contest.
2010: Second position, professional category 2010, 3rd national visual art
competition. Organized by, National Gallery of Art
2011: Third prize winner, Life in my city art festival, Enugu
2012: Second position, National Visual art competition, professional category, organized
by National Gallery of Art, Nigeria
2013: Special recognition. Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library national art
Competition (OOPL) Ogun state
2013: Second position, Visual arts competition organized by embassy of Spain, Abuja
2013: Fourth prize winner, Experience Nigeria art show, organized by Africa Arts
Resource Centre, (AARC) Lagos

The sight of an artwork is capable of inducing critical thinking. It is not always seeing the world as representing the world as it exists and sometimes it can also stretch our ‘mindscape’ to see more than our physical eyes.
Sensory experience, within the literary milieu is described as an action that promotes consciousness of one or more of the five human senses: Hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste.
The conception of this exhibition aims to offer a survey of my body of work developed over time. Sor Sen’s works are an exploration of a conscious and unconscious artistic exploration that grant meaning to the essentials of living informed by my experiences gained through social interactions , readings on philosophy, poetry, patriotism, travel and history.
These artworks are not a purely objective description of the exterior nor an absolute subjective responses but an interface between the two. They bear social, moral and cultural values of the society. They also reflect the times and circumstances of their creation.
This exhibition is a personal artistic sojourn of years of practice, the endless routines, the hours of doubt and the tenacious overcoming of obstacles endured.
These works seek to engage the viewer on a personal visual vocabulary on social and cultural structures of the society as encountered by Sor Sen.
I am however optimistic that, a view of these works will elicit responses that is mental, perceptual and sensuous.


Image: Sor Sen

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African Artists Apply For McColl Center For Visual Art Int’l Artist Residencies

Disciplines: Drawing & Painting, Media Arts, Sculpture

McColl Center for Visual Art is the leading center for the advancement of creative capacity for artists and the public.

McColl Center for Visual Art is located in Uptown Charlotte, a very short walk from the heart of the city. Charlotte is a growing, vibrant city coming into its own. A cultural campus is on the south end of Tryon, approximately 1 mile from the Center and includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, The Mint Museum, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (formerly the Afro-American Cultural Center). As an urban artist-in-residence program, McColl Center for Visual Art actively participates in and contributes to the energy and vibrancy of the city. The community is welcome to visit the Center and artist/public interactions are encouraged. Goals of the Center include demystifying the creative process – which makes contemporary art more accessible and raises the perception of the value of artists to society. Through interaction with artists in their studios, the Center provides a portal from which the non-artist can gain insight into the creative process.


McColl Center for Visual Art is a well-equipped 30,000 square foot facility with nine artist studios (230-819 sq ft), and common use wood, blacksmith and sculpture, ceramic, darkroom, printmaking studios, and a media lab (click here for a list of available equipment). There is twenty-four hour access to the Center’s facility, and staff support Monday through Friday during normal business hours. For Affiliate Artists (AA), there is a monthly utility/maintenance fee of $175. Stipend, materials budget, travel, and housing are not included. Artists-in-Residence receive a stipend ($3,300), materials budget ($2,000), travel allowance and housing (if outside of Charlotte). The Carolinas Healthcare Artist-in-Residence (CHC AIR) receives a stipend ($4,000), materials budget ($2,000), travel allowance and housing (if outside of Charlotte). In addition, there is a separate budget for materials for the CHC project. The Gail Peacock CMS Art Teacher-in Residence (ATIR) receives a materials budget ($2,000) and continues to receive their salary and benefits during their residency.


Residency sessions vary in length.

2 available sessions: fall (Sept-Nov) and winter (Jan-Mar) each approximately 11-12 weeks

Affiliate Artists:
2 available sessions: 11-months (April-March), summer (April- August) 4-5 months
Selected summer and 11-month Affiliate Artists will also be required to participate in the Center’s spring event, Studio Party . Artists will transform their studios into a themed event space of their own design (can include artists work) and then host their studio during Studio Party.


The residency program is open to emerging, mid-career and senior level. Artists may be formally trained or self-taught. Alumni may re-apply; however artists who have not yet participated in McColl Center for Visual Arts’ residency programs will be given priority. Students may apply, but may not be actively enrolled in classes during start of the residency period. Affiliate Artist residency programs are for artists living in Charlotte or within a 50 mile radius. The Artist-in-Residence program is open to local, regional, national and international artists.


McColl Center for Art + Innovation uses a curatorial process to select Artists-in-Residence. Artists are invited to be in residence who conduct creative inquiries into one or more of the Center’s Spheres of Impact. There are three exceptions – the Carolinas Health Care Artist-In-Residence, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Artist-in-Residence, and the Environmental Artist-in-Residence.

In addition to these three opportunities, the Center is always looking for groundbreaking artists whose practice includes social engagement and who would therefore significantly benefit from a residency, contribute to the vibrancy of the residency experience for all of the artists, and raise the level of conversation in Charlotte around one of our Spheres of Impact.

If you would like to express your interest in participating in our residency program, email Please know that, due to the high degree of interest, we cannot respond to each email.


Housing/Grounds Available
Private Studio

Digital Media
Fine Metals/Jewelry Making
Photography (non-digital)

McColl Center for Art + Innovation is a well-equipped 30,000 square foot facility with nine artist studios (230-819 sq ft), and common use wood, blacksmith and sculpture, ceramic, darkroom, and printmaking studios, as well as a media lab. We provide twenty-four hour access to the Center’s facility and offer staff support Monday through Friday during normal business hours.


To express your interest in becoming an artist-in-residence, email Please understand that due to the large number of inquiries, we are not able to respond to each individual email.

The residency program is open to emerging, mid-career and senior level artists that are formally trained or self-taught. However, artists who have not yet participated in McColl Center for Art + Innovation’s residency programs will be given priority. Students may apply, but may not be actively enrolled in classes during the start of the residency period. Affiliate Artist residency programs are open to artists living in Charlotte or within a 50-mile radius. The Artist-in-Residence program is open to local, regional, national and international artists.

We advise you to keep an eye on the opportunities sections for more updates.

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Senufo: Art & Identity in West Africa Open in Cleveland Museum

Exhibition date: Sun, 02/22/2015 to Sun, 05/31/2015

Some of the most beloved artistic creations of sub-Saharan Africa, masks, figures, and decorative art labeled as Senufo have been the subject of numerous studies by African, American, and European scholars since the 1930s. The interest in sculpture identified as Senufo was largely stimulated by its discovery by the artistic avant-garde in the early twentieth century. Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger were among those to find inspiration in the oeuvre of their West African counterparts.

Through a stunning selection of objects in diverse styles and mediums, the exhibition introduces visitors to the poro and sandogo societies, the primary settings for the production and use of works of art in the Senufo-speaking region of northern Côte d’Ivoire. However, drawing on recent research in Mali and Burkina Faso, the exhibition also includes sculptures not usually attributed to Senufo-speaking artists or patrons, thus shattering the boundaries of the corpus typically identified as Senufo.

Featuring nearly 160 loans from museums and private collections in Europe, Canada, and the United States,Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa examines the shifting meanings of the term Senufo since the late nineteenth century and investigates assumptions underlying the labeling of art as Senufo. Revealing the shortcomings of labels tied to limited cultural or ethnic groups, the exhibition encourages a closer look at individual objects and their particular histories.

Organised by the Cleveland Museum of Art, Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa will subsequently also travel to the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France.


[Image: Mother-and-Child Figure (detail), 1800s-1900s. Africa, Guinea Coast, Ivory Coast, Senufo people. Wood; h: 63.6 cm. James Albert and Mary Gardiner Ford Memorial Fund 1961.198]

Kenyan Artist Cyrus Kabiru Holds First South African Solo Exhibition

We intend to bring you news as well as events of African artists making moves around the world.

Talented Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru has chosen Cape Town for his first South African solo exhibition ‘

The talented Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru brings his remarkable creations to Cape Town for his first South African solo exhibition C-Stunners & Black Mamba’ which is currently exhibited at SMAC Art Gallery in Woodstock and will run through to 14th of March, 2015.

The self-taught sculptor and painter is popular for his exceptional work of refashioning recycled and found materials across Nairobi.

According to the press statement:

By photographing himself wearing his glasses, Kabiru embraces this transformative aspect of Afrofuturism and allows himself to become a ‘blank slate’ on which the ‘C-Stunners’ aid him in forming unique identities. These straight-faced portraits cycle through a great variety of identities, sometimes gallant and accessible, sometimes sinister and sometimes even intimidating. These are portraits not just of Kabiru, but also of a new generation of African artists who demand face-to-face engagement.

This exhibition also combines, for the first time, Kabiru’s C-Stunners with his Black Mambas that are fixed gear bicycles, which have achieved an iconic status in Kenya as an affordable and popular method of transport for the Kenyan population.

Cyrus Kabiru was born in 1984 in Nairobi, where he still lives and works. His first solo exhibition was in 2008 at the Wasanii Workshop in Kenya and he has subsequently exhibited in England, the USA, Sweden, Holland, Italy, Turkey, South Africa and in his home country. Notable exhibitions include Upcoming in 2010 at the Kuona Trust in Nairobi and Cyrus Kabiru at the Kunstpodium T Gallery in Holland in 2011. Kabiru was awarded the Best Artist Innovation award at the Maker Fair and was celebrated by Guiness Africa and MTVBase in 2012. In 2013, Kabiru was a fellow at TED’s The Young, the Gifted, the Undiscovered in the USA. That same year, Kabiru also exhibited at the Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria and his work formed part of Afrofuture: Adventure with Makers, Thinkers and Dreamers at Milan Design Week, Milan, Italy


If you’re in Cape Town, check out Kabiru’s exhibition. For more information click here


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Survey Of The Work Of Malian Artist Abdoulaye Konaté Opens At Blain/Southern Berlin

Berlin Press Release

Blain|Southern Berlin’s forthcoming exhibition, Useful Dreams, is a comprehensive survey of the work of the Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté, one of the most eminent West African artists of his generation. Useful Dreams comprises works from the 1990s to the present, including nine new works created for this significant presentation.
Konaté is known for his large-scale compositions that use figurative and symbolic language. His textile-based installations explore socio-political and environmental issues, both specific to Mali and further afield; scenes of societal turmoil, military conflict, sovereignty, faith, globalisation, ecological shifts and the AIDS epidemic, all become subject to investigation and semiotic deconstruction. Employing materials typical to Mali, namely woven and dyed cloths, hand-embroidered and stitched together, Konaté draws on the West African tradition of using textiles as a mode of communication and commemoration. His referral to a localised cultural technique is then astutely realigned to meet with a wider geopolitical framework, the material acting as an intercessor between local and global structures.
One of the earlier works to be included in the show, Lutte contre le HIV, made in 1995, contemplates the devastating effects of AIDS. The installation comprises a suspended textile work illustrating a standing man, and a suitcase containing three screen prints of masterpieces and a blanket. Konaté has returned to this subject on various occasions, notably as a monumental 6000sqm patchwork, which covered the grounds of the Bamako football stadium at the opening of the African Cup of Nations in 2002.
Hommage aux arbitres (2005), a large textile work of the same period, gives focus to football in its symbolic representation in order to explore the global social condition through universal activity, particularly the mode by which nations communicate through its cultural structure. The game has a ubiquitous footing and reception. In West Africa it is strongly embedded into the fabric of society, from the rudimentary games played by children in the streets, to the large quantities spent on national teams by government authorities seeking to gain popularity and political advantage.
The exhibition also features the large-scale installation Bosnia, Rwanda, Angola the multifaceted works Gris-Gris Blancs and Danse au CAMM/BFK. Encompassing an adjacent series of four wall-mounted white sheets soaked by bloodstains, the ground before it covered in a patchwork of worn clothing, Bosnia, Rwanda, Angola (1995-96), humanises the mortal tragedies subsequent of genocide cases from across the world. In Gris-Gris Blancs (2013) Konaté makes reference to the traditional West-African hunter tunic, with amulets sewn to its surface, typically both recognised for its protective and fertility symbolic properties. Konaté has reformatted here the traditional tunic into a stunning minimalist wall piece.
Danse au CAMM/BFK (2008) is part of a joyful series that depicts figures coalescing the gestural qualities of contemporary dance with motifs of traditional ritual dance. Similar dancers conceived by the artist adorn the façade of the Foyer du Murier in Paris.
Recent works follow Konaté’s shift from his figurative depictions to adopt a looser abstract form. In the works Croix de lumière and Croix de sang (2010), countless strips of grey scale cotton – producing an overall monotone, are interspersed with flashes of red and white, to mark the symbol of a cross. Here, the artist is interested in examining the position that religion has often enacted, imposing hierarchical power structures by its theistic tenets. Utilising the three traditional Komo colours of white, red and black, the cosmological order of the universe as perceived in Mali is referenced; red to signify blood and fire; white to signify light, truth and air; and black to signify the mysteriousness surrounding the origins of life, earth and water. Homogenous western narratives are reformulated, as cultural singularity and global systems sit shoulder to shoulder.
The exhibition is accompanied by a colour illustrated catalogue including writings by the exhibition’s curator Koyo
Kouoh, and writer and curator Roger M. Buergel.


7 February 2015 – 18 April 2015


[Image Credit: Camille Millerand pour J.A.]

Cameroonian Curator Simon Njami Discusses WIR SIND ALLE BERLINER: 1884-2014


In Commemoration of the Berlin Conference


 Tuesday, 17th February 2015, 6 pm


with Simon Njami

WIR SIND ALLE BERLINER: 1884-2014 commemorates 130 years of the Berlin Conference, also known as the Congo conference and proposes a space for deliberation on the repercussions of this crucial conference, offering thereby an occasion to analyse the ideological, economic, political, and humanitarian justifications that underlay colonialism and still frame the asymmetric relations between the West and the non-West today.

Art historian and curator Simon Njami (France/Cameroon), who was artistic director of Bamako Encounters and curator of WIR SIND ALLE BERLINER: 1884-2014 will be presenting a lecture  “In the Heart of the Lights” at SAVVY Contemporary. The lecture will give room for discussion on the role and importance of artistic and cultural interventions in the context of shifting historical discourses and investigating politics of memory.



[Image credit: Chris Rijksen]



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