The contemporary art scene in Africa is dynamic and diverse, teeming with extraordinary talented and passionate artists using their work to reflect the continent’s cultural diversity, natural beauty, and long history. Although formal exhibition spaces remain limited in many African countries, there are a growing number of exceptional independent art galleries across the continent promoting and exhibiting the best of African contemporary art. We explore ten of these galleries and offer a unique Special Offer promotion from one of the best galleries in Uganda.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
The Goodman Gallery is at the forefront of contemporary art in South Africa, showcasing prominent artists and up-and-coming creative talents from South Africa, the rest of the African continent, and international artists who portray the African context through their artwork. With an ethos of developing artistic talent and cultural consciousness, the gallery focuses on artwork reflecting South Africa’s socio-political issues. Since its inception in 1966, the gallery has stood fast by its principles and encouraged all artists to showcase their work despite the stringent race laws during the apartheid era. Today the gallery represents about 40 South African and African artists including William Kentridge, conceptual artist Kendell Geers, and photographer David Goldblatt.
Zoma Contemporary Art Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Created by one of Ethiopia’s most original and active artists, Elias Sime, the Zoma Contemporary Art Centre (ZCAC) seeks to promote multidisciplinary contemporary art, facilitate international exchange between artists, and inculcate a culture of environmentally conscious art projects in Ethiopia. Listed by the New York Times as one of the top places to visit in 2014, the ZCAC is situated in an extraordinary house made from mud, straw, and stone. Designed and sculpted by Sime, it represents the center’s philosophy of driving environmental sustainability through art. Regular exhibitions are held in the center’s showroom, and there is an open studio for visiting artists. In collaboration with partner institutions, the ZCAC also runs artist-in-residence and education programs, and has a second location in a small historic village called Harla.
ZCAC, P.O.Box 6050, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, +251 91 124 9374
Omenka Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
A leading contemporary art gallery in Nigeria, Omenka Gallery showcases the work of emerging and acclaimed Nigerian and international artists, and houses one of the most comprehensive collections of the renowned Nigerian painter and sculptor Ben Enwounwu. Hosting solo exhibitions, group shows, and large, themed exhibitions, Omenka also participates in a number of international art fairs, runs an active publications program, and facilitates workshops to encourage critical development and dialogue on contemporary art in the country and the continent at large. Omenka regularly collaborates with international artists such as South African photographer Cedric Nunn, Angolan artist Manuela Sambo, and London-born Ransome Stanley, to create a culture of experimentation and creative exchange between local and international artists.
Eureka Galerie, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Situated in the Ivory Coast’s tropical bustling capital city, the Eureka Galerie is an outstanding gallery devoted to discovering, sharing and promoting appreciation of African contemporary art in Ivory Coast and the surrounding region. From paintings, wooden and bronze sculptures, to antique masks, traditional fabrics and textiles, the gallery spotlights a delightful collection of art pieces in its warm, earth-toned interior. The Eureka gallery has displayed the artwork of groundbreaking African artists such as the Ghanaian painters Gabriel Eklou and Samkobee, Ivorian artists Salif Diabagaté and Djédjé Mel, as well as a few international artists such as French painter Jean Claude Heinen.
Eureka Galerie, Rue Marconi, Zone 4C, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, +225 21 35 08 08
Galerie El Marsa, La Marsa, Tunisia
Galerie El Marsa is dedicated to representing current trends and developing the potential of contemporary artists in Arab countries, with a particular focus on artists from Tunisia and the North African region. The gallery takes pride in supporting artists who have made an exceptional impact on the contemporary art scene in North Africa and features art pieces that illustrate the region’s historical and cultural diversity, shared history, and Mediterranean, Arab and African influences. El Marsa has also enhanced its worldwide reputation by participating in international art fairs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Marrakech, and Miami, amongst others. Located along the Mediterranean coast in El Marsa’s historic and artistic neighborhood, the gallery is situated in an idyllic setting next to the shoreline and is definitely worth a visit.
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