“The field of contemporary African art has expanded and grown in unprecedented ways, driven by internal developments in art patronage, primary and secondary markets, and the emergence of better-resourced art institutions. Until the 1990s, African artists depended largely on outsiders for support, a carryover from the colonial period. Moreover, the imposition of austerity measures as part of the International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment programmes in many African countries, as well as economic mismanagement by national governments, devastated cultural and educational institutions, depressing the continent’s nascent art industry during the 1980s. However, the consolidation of democratic governments and better economic outlook since the 1990s have given rise to a new generation of art collectors, the establish- ment of commercial galleries, biennials, art fairs and auction houses, as well as non-commercial art spaces and museums in major cities such as Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Cape Town, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Rabat. Similarly, international attention on African artists has grown exponentially, with group and one-person art exhibitions in major museums, biennials and galleries in Europe, the United States and Asia, just as new and vigorous art scholarship and publications have ensured their inclusion in emerging canons of global contemporary art. Today, African artists, whether they live and practice on the continent or in cities and towns around the world, draw on the legacies of more than one hundred years of critical engagement with art’s imaginative possibilities, with their shifting sociopolitical contexts, and with the idea of Africa and its complex entanglements with the rest of the world. The artists presented in this book testify to this.”
– Chika Okeke-Agulu, African Artists: From 1882 to Now (2021) by Phaidon.
Extract from African Artists: From 1882 to Now, a groundbreaking A-Z survey of the work of over 300 modern and contemporary artists born or based in Africa published by Phaidon in English and French.
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