Major Galleries in New York Pioneering African Art

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With the growing demand for African art, galleries worldwide have embraced numerous African events. Among them, a distinctive group in New York continues to host several events featuring talented African artists, passionately striving to boost their recognition. Over the past decade, these galleries have skillfully showcased African artists through curated art events, films, and publications. This article celebrates three major New York galleries that have unwaveringly championed the African spirit by collaborating with exceptional African artists.

 Brooklyn Museum 

In New York, the majestic Brooklyn Museum boasts an exhilarating history intertwined with African art. It stands as the first-ever US museum to exhibit works and crafts from the continent. Back in 1923, they introduced the collection ‘Arts of Africa,’ showcasing diverse aesthetics from around the continent. Holding the most diverse collection of contemporary African art ,the museum’s commitment to supporting African artists continues to shine. Today, they continue to host numerous events and exhibition that attract audiences of all ethnicities and ages.

Mbeuk Idourrou” collection, Imane Ayissi, Paris, France, Autumn/Winter 2019 Image courtesy of Brooklyn

Recently, the Brooklyn Museum played host to a stunning exhibition titled “African Fashion.” This mesmerizing showcase delved into the influence of African fashion from the 1950s up to the present day. A captivating array of garments, visual art, music, and style proudly displayed the brilliance of African creatives. The exhibition emanated the pride, ingenuity, and global impact of African fashion from the late ’50s. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary exhibition, which continues to mesmerize visitors. Explore the works on the Brooklyn Museum website and be enthralled by the artistic brilliance of African fashion


Founded in 1920 by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was a trailblazer for contemporary art. Its commitment to collecting and pioneering modern works has elevated it to become the largest and most influential museum in the contemporary art world.

In 1935, MoMA made history with its groundbreaking exhibition “The African Negro”. This exhibition challenged stereotypes and misconceptions while introducing Western audiences to African Art. Showcasing diverse artifacts from various African ethnic groups, the exhibition emphasized cultural significance and historical context. Today, 88 years later, MoMA’s unwavering mission continues.

Yagazie Emezi. “Untitled” from the series #EndSARS Protests. 2020. Image courtesy of the Mordern Museum Of Art( MOMA)

Currently on view in New York, their latest exhibition, “New Photography 2023,” emphasizes photography’s role as a tool for shared culture and personal experiences. The captivating showcase features seven remarkable Nigerian photographers, whose art beautifully portrays their connection to the vibrant port city of Lagos. Notably, this exhibition marks the first-ever focus on a specific place within the continent, serving as a poignant reminder of Africa’s remarkable appreciation and rich diversity.

The Africa Centre 

Founded in 1984, the Africa Center in New York is devoted to increasing public awareness of African art. Moreover, the center aims to transform perceptions of Africa to a global audinece. Serving as a vibrant hub for exchanging ideas through music and diverse art forms, it passionately inspires enthusiasm and advances thoughts on African art. Their dedicated trustee board members, Ms. Lupita Nyong’o and CEO Haliko Dangote, tirelessly provide educational resources on African art.

The center hosts numerous exhibitions and talks featuring African authors, actors, and visual artists. Currently, for the 50th celebration of African art, the center hosts curated summer block parties and an art workshop led by Kibrom Gebremedhin, an Ethiopian arts educator in New York. Don’t miss the chance to explore the diverse world of African art and acquire unique African keepsakes at their shop. These curated events aim to showcase the vibrant tapestry of African creativity.

The Africa Center is a vibrant hub, hosting myriad exhibitions and talks featuring African authors, actors, and visual artists. Embrace this rare opportunity to explore the diverse world of African art through their perfectly curated events and workshops.

These exceptional art instititions continue to passionately nurture and promote African artists and their remarkable creations. They galleries stand as beacons of cultural diversity, offering a kaleidoscope of artistic expression that captivates audiences far and wide. Discover the cultural richness and historical significance these galleries bestow, perpetuating the enduring legacy of African art in the heart of New York. Make sure to check their websites, as they constantly unveil captivating events and awe-inspiring exhibitions.


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.

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