It is no news that African art has witnessed a season of flourishing. International galleries have learned to embrace those who create and interpret traditional aesthetics, socio-economic realities, diverse beauty and navigating mental health crises in their community. Today, we take you through a journey of discovery to East Africa, highlighting 5 emerging contemporary artists who have the potential to take the art scene by storm.
Winner of the 2020 Mukumbya Musoke Art prize in Uganda, Ronald Odur is a visual artist who studies the complexities of social political interactions and their influences on the contemporary world. He uses aluminium printing plates, copper wires and acrylics for his sculptures and installation works to poke at the disregard of human life in the current political environment and his people’s struggles in false democracy.
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Works at Afropocene Studio Lab
Born 1996 in Rushoga/DRC, Izere Antoine de Padoue is a Rwandan-based impasto painter. His artworks are beautiful and original in its depiction of social life; emotions and feelings they incur in their everyday living communities. His recent solo exhibition, Stride, celebrates the progress women have made around the globe. Izere portrays them in a sequence of images as bold, wilful and significant to African history and culture.
The artist is represented by Mitochondria Gallery. Follow Antoine here.
Margaret Njeri Ngigi
This Kenyan artist, Margaret Njeri Ngigi, also known as Sherie’s secrets, is an emerging photographer, fine artists and filmmaker who uses women as her centre piece, highlighting the issues affecting them in their familiar environment. She stresses on the unspoken topics around gender and the crises of mental illness to confront the painful realities and create awareness. The Akka Project gallery represents Margaret and has worked on projects with her in outside Africa. Most of her works have appeared several publications like Photo London fair, Urbanautica Institute and Latitudes.
Ngigi is presented by Akka Project. Find the artist here.
Stacey Gillian Abe
Ugandan multidimensional artist Stacy Gillian Abe highlights the strengths and fragility of the female mind. She draws her inspirations from experiences and third hands stories to critique the stereotypical depiction of the black woman. Many of her works wear their own frustrations about spirituality, identity, gender, and cultural mysticism. Her first solo exhibition, ‘Shrub-let of old Ayivu’, explores her family lineage, alluding to the ways traditions are absorbed and transformed from past to present.
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A growing Rwandan multidisciplinary artist, Niyigena Romeo’s works reveal his discovery of diversity and culture in the world. In order to sustain his desire for art, he studied at the Ecole des Arts de Nyundo to become a graphics designer before settling for oils, acrylics and newspapers. Romeo’s paintings are characteristically known to be colourful, which allows the artist to depict the beauty of black and black culture. The artist’s work also contains poetic expressions that add meaning to every piece.
Find more about the artist here.