African Art in London

London / Art / Africa

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Temitayo Ogunbiyi @ Tiwani Contemporary

This evening, there’s another Art Connect event from Tiwani Contemporary. Following her spot on a panel at Africa Utopia at the weekend, US-born, Nigeria-based artist Temitayo Ogunbiyi will be taking centre-stage to discuss her practice, which is often site-specific and uses a variety of media including drawing, fabric and collage. More info here.

Event: Tuesday, 24 July, 6:30pm

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street
London W1W 8BP

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Cyrus Kabiru workshop @ V22 Summer Club

Cyrus Kabiru

On his first visit to the UK, star Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru is leading an experimental workshop, Found in Deptford, as part of the V22 Summer Club. Swapping Nairobi for the streets of South London, Kabiru and local artist Richard Parry will accompany participants on a forage around Deptford Market, before heading back to V22 in Bermondsey to create sculptures and explore ideas thrown up by the objects collected. According to the organisers, the workshop aims to develop a “dialogue between place, context and perception”, by exploring how the objects might suggest alternative stories and strategies of place-making.

A more creative response to place (and what constitutes being ‘out of place’) might have been helpful during  the debacle surrounding Kabiru’s recent visa application to the UK, the details of which have been recorded by his UK agent Ed Cross Fine Art here (and also appeared in this rather woolly article by Ian Birrell in the Independent). Kabiru was supposed to come and collect his recently awarded TEDGlobal fellowship in Edinburgh last month, but was denied a visa by the British High Commission in Nairobi. Although they subsequently reversed their decision, it was too late for him to attend the award ceremony. Edinburgh’s loss is London’s gain (and fortunately, Kabiru will be able collect his award at a later date in Los Angeles) but really, this should never have happened.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the visa restrictions on visiting artists, as well as a campaign to get them changed, have a look at the Manifesto Club’s Visiting Artists Campaign, and their recent statement on progress.

Workshop: Friday 20th July, 15.00-19.30

Price: £14 plus booking fee

Booking details: go to the eventbrite page

Location: meet at Deptford Railway Station at 3pm

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Obiora Udechukwu @ Tiwani Contemporary


Delicate Burden – Obiora Udechukwu (1984)

Obiora Udechukwu is best known for his creative experimentation with traditional Igbo Uli motifs. Tiwani Contemporary’s new showFrom Uli to Li: A Natural Synthesis, presents work from the 1980s, when the artist was exploring his interest in Chinese calligraphy with delicate pen-and-ink drawings and watercolours.

Hopefully, this show’s existence is a sign of how far things have moved on in London. A few years ago, a mixed-bag group-show of ‘contemporary African artists’ was about as much as one could hope for; but now, galleries like Tiwani are starting to explore the depth and breadth of work of some of Africa’s best-established and most influential contemporary artists.

Read more about Udechukwu, and the Nsukka group of which he is a part, here.

The next event in Tiwani’s Art Connect series is taking place on 21st July at the Southbank Centre as part of the Africa Utopia festival – more info here.

Show: 11-26 July

Opening hours: Weds-Sat, 11.00-18.00

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street, London

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Kivuthi Mbuno @ HOME studio (MASK benefit)

On Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July, artist Alla Tkachuk will be opening her HOME studio in Pimlico to show (and hopefully sell) ten works by painter Kivuthi Mbuno, as well as some works of her own. Mbuno’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

50% of profits from the sale will go to MASK (Mobile Art School in Kenya), a charity focusing on creative education in Africa, which Tkachuk founded and of which Mbuno is a patron.

For further info, call 07957734313 or email .

Sale: 21st and 22nd July

Opening hours: 13.00-19.00

3A Alderney Street, Pimlico, London


Africa Utopia @ Southbank Centre

Just a quick reminder (to myself as much as anyone) about Africa Utopia, the gigantic festival of all-things-African which has just kicked off at the Southbank. I posted about some of the tempting events in this series several weeks ago, but now that July is upon us, the programme has expanded excitingly in all directions. Here are a few of the contemporary art highlights (just block-book your diary for 21st July…)

Africa Sci-Fi Screening – a chance to see some shorts from the Arnolfini’s Superpower exhibition
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Weds 4th July, 9.30pm, free (+ booking fee)

Nollywood or Bust: Africa at the Movies – discussion on the future of African cinema
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Sat 21st July, 11am, free

Imagining Africa: a Granta Salon – Yinka Shonibare and others in discussion, hosted by Granta Magazine
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Sat 21st July, 12.30pm, free

ARISE and shine – salon event hosted by ARISE Magazine, featuring Dak’art 2012 curator Christine Eyene, among others
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Sat 21st July, 3pm, free

Art Connect: Contemporary African Art and the Global Art Market – the next discussion in Tiwani‘s series (previous ones here and here), with my good friend Emeka Ogboh, Mary Evans and others
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Sat 21st July, 6pm, free

We Face Forward: Art from West Africa Today – session about the current festival up in Manchester, led by Whitworth curator Bryony Bond
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Sun 22nd July, 3.30pm, free