East Africa

Contemporary Feminist Artists On Our Radar In 2022

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There is no denying that feminist art will always be a significant aspect of contemporary art. There are female artists that have done the work of centring the female perspective in their works, exploring ideas around sex, identity, mental illness, sexuality, and spirituality, among a myriad of social themes. 

This year, these feminist artists have highlighted the complexities of being a woman, challenged stereotypes and channelled their efforts towards gender equality in the art scene. 

Rehab Eldalil

 Biography  Born (1989) and currently based in Cairo,...

Image courtesy of the artist.

Rehab Eldalil is a visual storyteller and documentary photographer. Her work explores the broad theme of identity through documentaries. In her practice, she investigates how to challenge traditional documentary frameworks by developing methods to engage subjects in the creative process and give them agency. She uses her personal experiences as creative inspiration, having lived in the United States during 9/11 and experienced rising xenophobia before returning to Egypt. She is drawn to subjects that call into question linear narratives and oriental ideologies. With rising border issues, stigma, and general loss of identity all over the world, she uses her work to advocate for social justice and understanding.

Eldalil was awarded the Foto Evidence W Award 2022 to publish her project in a book format, she has won the World Press Photo Regional Award 2022 (Open Format/Africa) and was also awarded the Premi Mediterrani Albert Camus 2022. Eldalil’s work has been exhibited in many international collective exhibitions around the world including Egypt, USA, UK, Germany, Brazil, Canada and Greece. 

Image courtesy of British Journal of Photography. 

You can find the artist here

Muofhe Manavhela

Muofhe Manavhela
Image courtesy of Latitudes.

Muofhe Manavhela (b. 2000) is a Johannesburg-based multidisciplinary visual artist. She uses her art to make social commentary about the position of Black women in a world that constantly underestimates them. 

The artist uses themes of sexuality, gender, race, the body, youth, freedom, pleasure, and women’s domesticity through a variety of mediums, primarily painting, printmaking, and embroidery. Her work is simultaneously fun and honest. She is actively reconstructing our perceptions of black womanhood by drawing inspiration from her positionality and lived experiences as a black woman. 

The young artist has a promising and growing stature having shown at her debut solo exhibit ‘12 seconds’ at Bubblegum Gallery, and group shows ‘Unusual Suspects’ at the African Artists Foundation, ‘Mother of Mankind’ at ADA x HOFA, and ‘The Human Experience’ at Project Space Africa – her work finds a home amongst different contexts. 

Muofhe Manavhela, ‘God created girls in 24 hours: Night’, 2022, Painting, Acrylic on Canvas, Eclectica Contemporary
God created girls in 24 hours: Night, 2022, Acrylic on Canvas, 50 × 50 cm.
Image courtesy of Artsy.

You can find the artist here

Abi Salami

Image courtesy of The Hopper Prize.

Abi Salami is a self-taught artist who creates large-scale surrealist works that explore her experiences as a Nigerian immigrant and Black woman in the United States. Through the use of a personal visual lexicon made up of symbols, she explores topics such as memory, mental health and race. Salami’s work destigmatizes mental illness in African communities.

She has gone on to exhibit in Dallas and across the United States including at The Women’s Museum, the African American Museum of Art in Dallas, Band of Vices Gallery in Los Angeles and Field Projects in New York City. In 2021, she won the Hopper Prize. She was selected as a candidate of the Saatchi Art 2020 Rising Stars under 35 Class and a 2021 New Voices Top 100 Artists. She and her work have been featured in the Washington Post, New York Times, Artland, Artsy, D Magazine, Glasstire and Patron Magazine. In 2022, she exhibited at the 1-54 Art Fair and Dallas Art Fair. Her works have been shown in California, Texas, Germany, and Los Angeles. 

A Farewell to My Battle Scars, 2021
A Farewell to My Battle Scars, 198 x 152 cm, Acrylic paint and gold leaf on unstretched canvas, 2021.
Image courtesy of the artist. 

You can find the artist here


Iyanuoluwa Adenle is a graduate of Linguistics and African Languages from Obafemi Awolowo University. She is a creative writer and art enthusiast with publications in several journals. She is a writer at Art News Africa.

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