African Art in London

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African Beauty @ The Africa Centre

Photo by John Kenny

Photo by John Kenny

The Africa Centre in collaboration with Capital Culture Gallery are hosting a photographic journey through the eyes of John Kenny. African Beauty is a collection of Kenny’s portraits of Africans in ‘traditional communities’, from the fringes of the Sahara to Angola and Namibia. Kenny’s work is very much that of an outsider looking in and can feel a tad National Geographic, anthropological as opposed to artistic. Agree? Disagree? If you’re in  the mood to discuss you’re in luck because Kenny will also be hosting a couple of talks alongside his exhibition.

African Beauty: Seven amazing stories behind the images
Saturday, 1 June

What makes visual expression so spectacular in Africa?
Wednesday, 5 June

Tickets: £6 (Free for under 16s)
Contact: the exhibition or email
All proceeds to Survival International

Exhibition: 24 May – 9 June

The Africa Centre

38 King Street
Covent Garden
London WC2E 8JT


Interview: Winnie Awa, founder of Uli-Museum

Have you heard of Uli-Museum? If you’re even the slightest bit interested in Nigerian art, it is time you did. Uli-Museum is an online gallery focused on showcasing the talents of contemporary Nigerian artists, it displays work across a range of styles and disciplines and features in-depth profiles on emerging artists (see: this excellent interview with Karo Akpokiere).

KARO AKPOKIERE: Man, Woman and Scissors, 2010

KARO AKPOKIERE: Man, Woman and Scissors, 2010

Uli-Museum is interested in art for all, its manifesto champions enthusiasm over connoisseurship: ‘We want to make this whole art thing accessible, no ‘arty farty’ talk if we can help it…’ Going forward African Art in London will do its best to let you know every time Uli-Museum is shining its spotlight on a new artist but if you really want to be sure to stay in the loop follow the museum’s presence on Facebook.

African Art in London recently sat down with Uli-Museum’s lovely founder Winnie Awa and fired a few questions at her concerning the how’s and why’s and ultimate goals of the digital art space she has built.

What made you decide to build an online museum? 

About a year ago, I started discovering some really interesting artists from Nigeria and across Africa, who in my view were truly challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries in terms of style and medium, beyond the archetypal view of art from Africa – Njideka Akunyili, Ruby Amanze, Karo Akpokiere and Modé to name a few. My appetite was growing and I would stumble across one or two more artists but I wanted to know more but there wasn’t one place I could go to learn, discover and share my emerging interest. Marrying the two, technology and art to achieve this aim seemed like a no brainer to me.

Why an online museum showcasing Nigerian art?

Accessibility was key, both for the artists being featured and the users consuming the artworks online. Last year, I attended a talk about Contemporary Nigerian Art at SOAS University and was surprised at the number of artists who stop working as a direct result of the lack of patronage. I think patronage goes hand in hand with exposure and an online platform bridges geographical gaps.

What are the aims of Uli-Museum?

The aim of Uli-Museum is to document the brilliant body of contemporary art and artists work in and around Nigeria, providing comprehensive online content for art lovers and budding collectors, as well as global exposure to talented artists. It is really about discovering, engaging and sharing art. Our manifesto summarises the Uli-Museum DNA pretty well.

How do you select artists?

We focus on emerging and established artists from Nigeria or diaspora, from painting to sculpture to installations to video art. It usually starts with first contact with the artist, either via email or a conversation, from which point it is mutually agreed as to the best method to use for profiling the artist.

MODÉ ADERINOKUN: The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, 2012

MODÉ ADERINOKUN: The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, 2012

What’s the best way for people interested in Nigerian art to get involved with Uli-Museum?

Collaboration is at the heart of what Uli-Museum does. If anyone’s interested in being a guest curator, or writing, or filming, please do get in touch with us. As a regular art lover who just wants to enjoy and engage with the artworks on display, you can get stuck right in. We recently teamed up with Wana Udobang of to release an exclusive feature with award winning Nigerian artist, Nnenna Okore. To get involved and engaged further, please LIKE the Uli-Museum Facebook page to share your views on Nnenna Okore’s work, become part of the debate and keep abreast of upcoming and exciting new features.

NNENNA OKORE: Agbogho, 2009

NNENNA OKORE: Agbogho, 2009

What’s the ultimate goal of Uli-Museum?

Ultimately, it is about contributing to the Nigerian art market. Whilst this is an exciting time for Nigerian art at the moment, there is still little documentation on the ground. In covering art from a wholly accessible way, we hope to revolutionise the way people consume and engage with art.


Trends in Contemporary Nigerian Art Talk @ SOAS

Two of Nigeria’s most distinguished contemporary artists will be at the School of Oriental and African Studies this Thursday.

Ben Osaghae and Fidelis Odogwu, both alumni of Nigeria School of Art Polytechnic in Edo State will be discussing trends in contemporary Nigerian art.

Ben Osaghae has been described as a ‘social chronicler’. His paintings, drawings and mixed media creations contemplate the mundaneness of daily life. A discerning colourist, his work is often identified by bright figures floating on the wide, flat surface of his canvas. Osaghae’s work is often charged with political opinion revealing of his frustrations with regards to the development of his country.

Endurance March, 2011

Endurance March, 2011

Fidelis Odogwu is a sculptor who works within the visual narratives of Nigerian art, using repetitive designs and traditional motifs. Odogwu is able to transform masses of metal into objects that look fit for astral travel. He is a master of shape and symmetry using zig-zags, spirals, and parallel lines to symbolize forces of nature. His art work retains a preoccupation with outdoor environments and man’s connectedness to the universe.

Fulani Herdsmen, 2011

Fulani Herdsmen, 2011

Thursday, 23 May


School of Oriental and African Studies

Room B102
1st Floor, Brunei Gallery Building
Opposite  main Building SOAS
Thornhaugh Street,  Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG

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Bérénice Saliou and Aaron Cezar: In Conversation about Artist Residencies @ Tiwani Contemporary

Trankat at Dar Ben Jelloun, exhibition and seminar room, 2013

Trankat at Dar Ben Jelloun, exhibition and seminar room, 2013

To compliment Younès Rahmoun’s exhibition at Tiwani Contemporary his  Fedden co-founder, independent curator, Bérénice Saliou will be in house for a chat this Thursday. Saliou will be speaking with Aaron Cezar, Director of the Delfina Foundation. Topics of conversation will include artist residencies in Morocco and Dubai, as well as discussions of Rahmoun’s artistic practice.

Thursday, 9 May

6:30pm – 8.30pm


Tiwani Contemporary

16 Little Portland Street, London

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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

This brief post is one of pure congratulations  a glass raised to Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye, as last week she became the first black woman shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

Yiadom-Boakye is of Ghanaina descent, born and based in London she atteneded Central Saint Martins, Falmouth College of Arts and Royal Academy Schools. She is currently represented by Corvi Mori. An imaginary painter, her shortlisted exhibition Extracts and Verses (at the Chisenhale Gallery) consisted of portraits of black people with invented histories, black bodies the focus of her loose European-style traditional painting. We’re encouraged to stare at them and think about how we read pictures, how we read black subjects.

Yiadom Boakye isn’t currently exhibiting in London but as soon as she is this blog will make some noise about it. An an exhibition of the four nominated artists. will be held in Derry-Londonderry between 23 October 2013 – 5 January 2014.  The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Monday 2 December 2013.

Complication, 2013 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye/Marcus Leith/PA Wire

Complication, 2013
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye/Marcus Leith/PA Wire

More info on the Turner Prize.