Arts & Academia

5 Incredible African -Based Female Artists Standing Out in the Art World

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By Goodnews Buekor

Over the years, whites and male artists have monopolized the art world. In 2017, the list of top-selling artists published showed only thirteen female artists. However, none of the 13 women on that list is are of African descent.

The gender disparity is just one out of the many obstacles female artists from the African continent have to withstand on their way toward International recognition and honour. Consequently, a host of contemporary female artists who exhibit their work in the galleries and museums worldwide have vacated the African continent.

Despite these challenges, African contemporary female artists have gained capacity in the international art market.

These five outstanding female contemporary artists, who are still based in Africa, are breathing in new life to the African contemporary art world and promoting the future development of the art market in the continent.

Portia Zvavahera

The Zimbabwean artist was born in 1985; she currently lives and works in her home country. She studied at BAT Visual Arts Studio, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, from 2003 to 2005. She also obtained a diploma in fine arts from Harare Polytechnic in 2006.

The artist’s debut solo presentation ” Ndakaoneswa Murima” was held in New York and her second with the gallery was on view at David Zwirner, New York, this year. Zvavahera’s work is stored in the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

Peju Alatise

Peju is a Nigerian-born artist, writer, and poet. She is an associate at the National Museum of African Art and trained as an architect at the Ladoke Akintola University in Oyo State, Nigeria. After graduation, she worked as a studio artist for over 20 years.

Her work is exhibited at Venice Biennale’s 57th Edition, themed Viva Arte Viva (Long Live Art).

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi

The African -American artist was born in 1980. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Nkosi’s first solo show at Stevenson Gallery in Johannesburg, entitled “Gymnasium,” opened in June 2020. Her paintings and films have been exhibited in several countries, including South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Vernice, and Portugal.

She won the 15th Tollmand Award for Visual artist, held in South Africa.

Marion Bohem

A descent of Duisburg, Germany, but lives and works both in Germany and South Africa. Born in 1964, she started her artistic career in Johannesburg, creating her extraordinary magnificent collages. Marion worked as an interior Architect in Europe, then moved to South Africa in 2010.

Her work is an impressive combination of artistic integrity, conceptual vision, and aesthetic beauty. Her artworks have been displayed during shows and art fairs in South Africa, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Morocco, the United States of America, Switzerland, and a lot more other countries.

Virginia Chihota

Born in 1983, the Zimbabwean artist currently lives and works in Addis Ababa. She received official training in Fine Arts at the National Gallery BAT Workshop School(now National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design) in 2004. In 2006 she obtained a Diploma in Visual Arts from Harare Polytechnic.

Chihota represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and was conferred the Prix Canson in the same year. Personal experiences and everyday life inspire her work.

She has been showcased in several collections, including the Deutsche Bark Collection, Amiens National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, London, and more. She is also represented internationally in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, The Drawing Room London, Korea Foundation Cultural Center, Tiwani Contemporary in London, and others.

The art world is fast evolving, and African female contemporary artists are not relenting, despite the challenges of gender and race. Against all odds, they are taking front and centre stage in the industry.

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