Highlights from African Galleries Now 2021

Wole Lagunju, Study of Figure Surmounted by Leopard, 2021. Courtesy EBONY/CURATED, South Africa.

, June 2021

The contemporary art coming out of Africa over the past two decades has been some of the most innovative work being done by contemporary artists. If you haven’t been following this burgeoning art scene, there’s no time like now, as artists across the continent embrace Western ways of working while challenging the very artists who inspired them.

And what better place to look for African contemporary art than from the galleries in the countries where many of the artists live and work. Presenting a selection of artworks, the African Art Galleries Association has collaborated with Artsy to offer 48 artists working in a variety of media from 12 pan-African galleries in the virtual exhibition African Galleries Now 2021, which runs through June 27, 2021.

The dozen galleries from Sudan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Egypt, Mali, Cameroon and Tunisia have each presented four artists. From that selection, we’ve chosen our ten favorite artworks—ranging from representational paintings and sculptures by Wole Lagunju at EBONY/CURATED, Wanjohi Maina at Circle Art Gallery and Richard Atugonza at Afriart Gallery to abstractions by Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude and Pebofatso Mokoena at First Floor Gallery Harare and Elisia Nghidishange at StArt Art. 

Scroll through the images below to view all of our picks. WM


Richard Atugonza, Grace, 2021. Courtesy Afriart Gallery, Uganda.


Samuel Arão Djive, social disorder, 2020. Courtesy Arte de Gema, Mozambique.


Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude, Faith in Humanity Part 4, 2021. Courtesy First Floor Gallery Harare, Zimbabwe.


Thameur Mejri, Experimental Urges No4 , 2021. Courtesy Selma Feriani Gallery, Tunisia.


Sizwe Sibisi, Don't Love Me, 2021. Courtesy Guns & Rain, South Africa.


Stephané Edith Conradie, Birds of Paradise, 2019. Courtesy THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE, Angola.


Wanjohi Maina, Hawkers Republic XVII (Plastic bags), 2021. Courtesy Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi.


Pebofatso Mokoena, Neoclassical Taste Matrix, 2021. Courtesy First Floor Gallery Harare, Zimbabwe.


Elisia Nghidishange, The Women Power, 2021. Courtesy StArt Art, Namibia.

Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.



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