One thing we realised during the lockdown was our incapability to fully enjoy the world and its wonders before the pandemic hit in 2020. We eventually came up with new ways to satisfy our visual urges, but there’s so little virtual galleries can do.
Now that the world is returning to normal, galleries have opened to welcome visitors as they nurture visual artists, promote their work, and expose them to the public, collectors, media and cultural institutions. They continue to work tirelessly and strategically to develop the artists’ careers and establish them in the professional art world both locally and internationally.
The best thing is to seize the opportunity to visit the galleries we haven’t been to yet, and explore the many artworks they display. Here are a few suggestions.
Founded in 2002 by Daudi Karungi, Afriart Gallery (AAG) is a leading contemporary art gallery representing artists from Africa. Located in Kampala, Uganda, the gallery provides an environment where collectors can find powerful contemporary artistic ideas and discussions.They are committed to creating a fair playing field and supportive community for artists by continuously implementing projects that foster their growth through mentorship, visibility, and information archiving.Works by AAG artists feature frequently on major platforms like museums, biennales, important exhibitions, and significant art fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach, Abu Dhabi Art, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair NY/London, Art Paris, INVESTEC Capetown Art Fair, Joburg Art, Art X Lagos, AKAA Paris, and ARCO Lisbon.
Nike Art Gallery
Nike Art Gallery is an art gallery in Nigeria. Founded in 2007 by Nigerian textile artist, Nike Okundaye, Nike Art Gallery aims to provide a unique environment for the display of artworks and positively transform the neglected arts and culture industry in Nigeria to ensure an enabling environment for the growth of African cultural heritage. The five-story building in Lekki Peninsula holds over 8000 works of art such as paintings in different media, batik and Adire fabrics, embroidery, appliqué, beadworks, pen & ink drawing on paper and on canvas, aluminum & copper works and sculptures also in different media. Since its founding years, the gallery has other branches in Osun, Kogi and Abuja.
African Arty is an art gallery dedicated to the Art of the African continent. The gallery support to artists’ career by promoting their work and developing their opportunities through exhibitions and international art fairs. With a network developed over the years on different continents, African Arty sets up partnerships with institutions and curators in order to connect the different cultural actors and to discover the talents we represent. The gallery operates in parallel with its annual program of international fairs, with exhibition spaces in Marrakech, Casablanca, Paris and London. Some of their artists are Atiye Afolabi, Victorien Bazo, Ebenezer Akinola, Victor Olaoye and several others.
Stevenson is a contemporary art gallery founded in 2003. The gallery presents artists from in its region in solo and group exhibition in its spaces in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Amsterdam. Stevenson also publishes extensive catalogues and regularly takes part in international art fairs such as Art Basel, Frieze London, Paris Photo and Art Basel Miami Beach. Besides helping African artists gain access to the international market and show their work abroad, the gallery promotes exchange with artists from around the world. Some of their artists are Odili Donald Odita, Frida Orupabo, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Ruth Ige, Mawande Ka Zenzil and several others.
Signature African Art Gallery
The Signature African Art gallery was founded in 1992 in Nigeria and opened a second location in Mayfair, London in 2019. Contemporary Art by artists from Africa and the diaspora are the focus of the gallery. The goal is to give the artists a platform to thrive and have their works accessible by all art lovers. They represent established artists like Oluwole Omofemi and Dotun Popoola, as well as emerging artists like Damilola Opedun and Djakou Kassi Nathalie. Since their launce, they have hosted shows presented by Ava DuVernay, which received a 4 star rating by the Telegraph, and Maro Itoje, which highlighted the lack of African history in the UK curriculum.