African Abstraction: A Spotlight on Montague Contemporary

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

African abstraction is an artistic movement that is gaining popularity among art collectors and enthusiasts. It is a form of contemporary art that originated in Africa and has its roots in traditional African art.

The movement consists of geometric shapes, bold colours, and abstract forms to create a visual language that is uniquely African. The continent’s rich history, cultural diversity, and unique landscapes inspire it. African modernists such as Ibrahim El-Salah havei, is one of the pioneers of African abstraction.

Still Waters, Leo Mativo , 2023.Oil on Canvas | 70cm x 60cm. image courtesy of Montague Contemporary

The Montague Contemporary art gallery in New York is a leading proponent of African abstraction. The gallery features the work of several artists who are pushing the boundaries of the movement. One of these artists is the Nigerian-born painter, Odili Donald Odita. Odita’s work is characterized by vibrant colours and bold geometric patterns. He has exhibited in galleries and museums around the world and is highly sought after by collectors.

Another artist featured at Montague Contemporary Marc Standing, a Zimbabwean/British artist, born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1976. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honors Degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1999, where he excelled in painting. After spending ten years in Australia and Hong Kong, he currently resides in London.

Standing has showcased his artwork in various solo and group exhibitions globally and collaborates with Art Labor in Shanghai, Montague Contemporary in New York, and Pollen Collective in London. His work made him a finalist at the Sovereign Asian Art Prize, and The Groucho Club collection in London includes it.

Born Beneath the Sea, acrylic on canvas,78 x 118 cm.Image courtesy of The Rockerfeller Foundation Pernanent collection

African abstraction is an important movement in the contemporary art world because it challenges the dominant narrative of Western art. It provides a platform for African artists to express themselves and tell their stories on their own terms. It also allows African artists to reclaim their cultural heritage. Furthermore, It challenges the stereotypes and misconceptions that have long plagued the continent.

In recent years, African abstraction has become increasingly popular among collectors and investors. This is partly due to the growing interest in contemporary African art and the recognition of African artists on the global stage. It is also due to the fact that African abstraction is a unique and dynamic art form that offers a fresh perspective on the world.

The rise of African abstraction has also led to increased attention to African art in general. It has helped to showcase the diversity and richness of African culture and has highlighted the contributions of African artists to the global art scene. It has also created new opportunities for African artists to exhibit their work and connect with audiences around the world.

African abstraction is an exciting and dynamic movement that is redefining the contemporary art world. It is a powerful expression of African culture and heritage. It also provides a platform for African artists to showcase their work and tell their stories. As the movement continues to grow, it is sure to have a lasting impact on the global art scene and on our understanding of African art and culture.


Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

Write A Comment