African Art in London

London / Art / Africa

1 Comment

Wosene Worke Kosrof @ Gallery of African Art

Wosene Worke Kosrof comes to London town this week. Wordplay, his first major show in the UK in over 10 years opens at the Gallery of African Art today. It features 16 new and recent large-scale paintings.

Mind of the Healer, 2008

Mind of the Healer, 2008

Wordplay XIV, 2011

Wordplay XIV, 2011

Hailing from Addis Ababa, Wosene is internationally known for using fiedel, the script forms of his native Amharic as a key element in his creations. His paintings are conversations, visual vocabulary, speaking of the mapping of cultures. Says Wosense: “I create a visible, interactive surface. My paintings invite viewers to dialogue with them, to take them into their memory.”

On Saturday afternoon the Ethiopian artist will be in house talking about his work. The conversation will be moderated by the exhibition’s curators Mesai Haileleul and Raku Sile.

Wosene Worke Kosrof: In Conversation
29th June
From 1pm-3pm
Artist talk 2pm-3pm

27 June – 26 July

9 Cork Street,
London, W1S 3LL.

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday: 10am-6pm
Saturday: 10am-4pm

Leave a comment

Introducing: Gallery of African Art

Exciting news! A new space dedicated to showcasing African art has opened in London.

Gallery of African Art

Gallery of African Art

The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) which soft launched last month is located on Cork Street, W1, home to a cluster of contemporary galleries and one of the city’s most prolific art hubs. FYI: Its the street that via the The Mayor Gallery saw the first  London exhibitions of creative titans such as Joan Miró, Max Ernst and Francis Bacon.

GAFRA is spread over two floors and is currently exhibiting the work of a giant of African modernism – Bruce Onobrakpeya. You’ll have to hurry if you want to catch Art and Literature, a collection of his innovative sculptures, etchings and illustrations (based on the literary works of important African writers including J.P. CLark, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka), as the show finishes this Friday.

Man and Two Wives, 2012

Man and Two Wives, 2012

Ethiopian painter and mixed-media artist Wosene Worke Kosrof is up next and AAIL  will have more details on his exhibition closer to it opening.

As the crow flies the nearest tube station to the gallery is Green Park but Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street are roughly 10 minutes walk away.

9 Cork Street,
London, W1S 3LL.


El Anatsui @ The Royal Academy of Arts

Feeling defeated by the lack of London sun? Craving light, colour, ebullience?

Then make your way down to the Royal Academy of Arts’ Burlington House which is draped in the glimmering meshwork of El Anatsui’s TSIATSIA – Searching for Connection (2013).

TSIATSIA - Searching for Connection, 2013

TSIATSIA – Searching for Connection, 2013

The courtyard installation – which at the beginning of this month won the Charles Wollaston Award – is the stunning opener to the Royal Academy of Arts 245th Summer Exhibition. Measuring at 15.6m x 25m it is the largest wall-hanging sculpture that Nigerian artist Anatsui has ever created and is formed using his unique technique and combination of materials including bottle-tops, printing plates and roofing sheets.

The artist explains: When you collect them from the streets – and it is important to me that all these caps have been used, touched and so loaded with what I think of as a human charge – they give you a sense of the sociology and the history of a place.

Anatsui is a Ghana born, internationally acclaimed artist with a forty year career as both sculptor and teacher. He was Professor of Sculpture and Departmental Head at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His work often addresses a wide range of social, political and historical concerns.

Anatsui’s work is hanging from the balustrade of Burlington House for the duration of the Summer Exhibition (until 18 August).

Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London W1J 0BD

020 7300 8000

1 Comment

Ellen Gallagher @ Tate Modern

Deluxe, 2004-5

Deluxe, 2004-5

Ellen Gallagher’s first major UK retrospective is currently being held at the Tate Modern until 1 September. The title of the exhibition, AxME, is a play on words: to resemble the cartoon corporation Acme, known for its outlandish products that fail catastrophically, also a reference to the African-American vernacular for “Ask me”.

Gallagher’s work is gorgeously intricate, bringing together myth, nature, art and social history in painting, drawing, relief collage, print, sculpture, film and animation. In 2007 a series of her Watery Ecstatic paintings, inspired by the myth of the Black Atlantis – an underwater city populated by the descendents of Africans thrown off slave ships – was shown at the Tate Liverpool.  To know more about her work and how she creates be sure to read this Guardian interview with her from a few weeks ago. Also: Jackie Kay’s review of her Tate Liverpool show, Coral Cities.

A standout piece from AxME, a piece that gives a good feel for the focus of Gallagher’s creativity, is a series of wig-map grid collages appropriated and incorporated from old African-American magazine advertisements. Gallagher transforms these hair and beauty product faces from the 1930s-1970s into new world beings, some look like startled astronauts, others like startling aliens. Much of what Gallagher creates has the sheen and feel of a too distant future, unsurprisingly she cops to being particularly inspired by groundbreaking African-American science-fiction novelist Octavia Butler. Accordingly the Tate Modern have arranged a talk to discuss Afrofuturism in the context of Gallagher’s work. Speakers Amna Malik, Hazel V. Carby, Zoe Whitley and Lilli Reynaud-Deward will ‘explore and complicate readings of Afrofuturism and its influence on contemporary artists’ practices, creating an intricate understanding of the genre and its evolutions’.

Coined by Mary Dery, Afrofuturism is an emergent literary and cultural aesthetic that relies heavily on elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and non-Western magic realism to talk about the African Diaspora. Afrofuturism is my jam because it distills a belief beyond belief, a reckless optimism in the future. One of the most important things about being a diaspora African alive and trying, especially creatively.

Until 1 September
Adult £11.00 (without donation £10.00)
Concession £9.50 (without donation £8.60)

Afrofuturism’s Others
Starr Auditorium
Saturday 15 June
Time: 14.00-16.00
£15, concessions available

Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG

Leave a comment

Opening Tomorrow @ Tiwani Contemporary and Jack Bell Gallery

Tomorrow two new exhibitions begin at London’s most prolific African art galleries.

Gideon Mendel: Drowning World @ Tiwani Contemporary

The Outskirts of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria, 2012

The Outskirts of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria, 2012

At Tiwani Contemporary a collection of Gideon Mendel’s photographs go on show. Curated by Christine Eyene Drowning World is a selection of photographs, including 15 images that have never been exhibited, documenting flooding around the globe. It also includes a two-part video of people living amongst floodwaters in Bangkok and video portraits of Nigerian inhabitants returning to their flooded homes. The strength of Mendel’s exhibition – which forms part of his long term project on climate change, 5 of the images on featured in Drowning World were seen last year at Somerset House – is in capturing the stillness in once lively environments. Mendel’s who hails from South Africa has taken photographs all over the world including in England, India, Haiti and Australia seen together they demonstrate a shared human experience that erases geographical and cultural divides.

7 June – 27 July

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street,
London W1W 8BP

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday to Friday, 11:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday, 12:00 – 5:00pm

Stefan Krynauw @ Jack Bell Gallery

Untitled 9, 2013

Another South African, a thespian turned artist Stefan Krynauw will be presenting a solo exhibition of new paintings at Jack Bell Gallery. Krynauw works in abstract space, his paintings are both Baroque and expressionist, of the natural and architectural. His canvases are twisted and blurred splashed with dark, scratches made of light. Drawing on his experience as an actor – he holds a degree in Drama from the University of Stellenbosch – Krynauw is keen on showing performance in his painting. He is self-taught and builds his works up over time by layering, washing, drawing and writing on them.

This will be Krynauw’s first exhibition in the UK.

7 – 29 June

Jack Bell Gallery
13 Mason’s Yard, St James’s,
London SW1Y 6BU

Gallery Hours:

1 Comment

African Masters on The Africa Channel

African art in your living room!

The Africa Channel

The Africa Channel

African Masters is a new arts series that starts on the Africa Channel at 9pm tonight. The 6-part programme visits studios in Senegal, galleries in New York, artists residences in Nigeria and auction houses in London to reveal how the African art scene is emerging as a dynamic force internationally. The globe-trotting show shot on location in Nigeria, Senegal Benin, Kenya, South Africa, France, the USA and the UK features interviews with a wide range of artists, Ousmane Sow, William Kentridge, Romuald Hazoumé, Yinka Shonibare and Yusuf Grillo, exclusive studio  visits with El Anatsui, Ablade Glover, Soly Cissé, Sokari Douglas-Camp, Bruce Onabrakpeya and Mary Evans as well as discussions with art world key players including André Magnin (French Curator and Art Dealer) and Bisi Silva (Curator at the Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos).

Dedicated to providing bold, high-quality programming giving viewers unique insight into the continent The Africa Channel is available across the UK and Ireland on Sky channel 209 and Virgin channel 828.

For more info visit: The Africa Channel