The achievements of African art fascinated many European artists and collectors in the 20th century. From André Breton to Picasso, all were seized with a buying fever that quickly spread in the community. If these sculptures take on more of an artistic dimension for Westerners, it is nevertheless through their ritual sacralization that they are revealed to the African peoples. Their ceremonial role indeed gives them a unique power that distinguishes them from other forms of ethnic art.
To put an end to the myth of an African Eden frozen in its case, six visual artists from Nigeria, Tunisia, and Morocco alert on the environmental threats hanging over the continent and the destructive impact of man on the nature that surrounds it.
A nauseating smell would almost emerge from the piles of waste, captured by the lens of the native of Lagos, Aàdesokan Adedayo, for his project Waste identity – Bola Bola living, as the installation seems alive. Yet behind the tangled clusters of this Olusosun landfill – one of the largest on the continent – the artist sheds a vibrant light on the Bola Bola, migrants who settled there and developed an ecosystem in them. Pressing recycling. The questions of the movement of waste mapped by the artist are shown as metaphors for human migration.
For the Nigerian Ayo Akiwandé, this sense of ethics has obviously deserted our humanity, carried away by the blast of the violent, accidental explosion of an explosives depot in Lagos in 2002.
Participate in the circularity and visibility of contemporary art in Africa. This is the mission given by Idelphonse Affogbolo, the Beninese businessman behind the traveling exhibition.
One hundred and fifty works of contemporary art – paintings, sculptures, photographs, ceramics – produced by fourteen artists, all from Benin, which are to be discovered for a month in Abidjan, at the Amani Gallery, and at the Donwahi Foundation, before their departure to Cotonou in September then Dakar in December.
Among these artists, the great Dominique Zinkpé, whose career really took off twenty years earlier, here in Ivory Coast thanks to obtaining the prize for young African talents. Since then, his works, many large paintings with bright colors and movements often inspired by the nocturnal exercises of the ceremonies of the animist culture, have toured the world and obtained recognition on the international scene.
Amoako Boafo has long been under the radar of the art world. Today, however, it is difficult to ignore the 36-year-old Ghanaian, whose portraits around black identity have inspired Dior’s men’s collection this year. With the auction of more than $ 1 million won in December at Christie’s, Amoako Boafo is now the second-highest-rated African, closely following his elder and compatriot El Anatsui.
Like them, Amoako Boafo seizes the techniques of the great Western masters – the sinuous line of the Austrian Egon Schiele in his case – to revolutionize the portrait and, in his words, “to decode the nuances of the color of the skin.”