African Contemporary Art: The Revolution Of African Women

The names of the commissioners Simon Njami (Cameroon) and Okwui Enwezor (Nigeria) are on everyone’s lips … But beyond these two indispensable men, a generation of women struggling to promote a new vision for the arts of the continent. We have chosen ten, among many others.

African artistic creation to conquer the world?


Christine Eyene


Specialist South African photographer George Hallett, critic and art historian, the Cameroonian Christine Eyene has curated or co-curated several art events of international dimension as the Dakar Biennial in 2012 or “The word to women” presented end of 2014 to Blachere Foundation (Apt). In 2011, she led the African selection Photoquai festival. Rather secretive about his upcoming projects, it now stands as part of the Biennale Ireland EVA International, Limerick, “Murder Machine”, a group exhibition linking the Irish anti-colonialism, especially in terms of the defense of language, some African movements.


Marie-Cécile Zinsou


No introduction Marie-Cécile Zinsou: businessman’s daughter and unsuccessful candidate in the last presidential Lionel Zinsou of Benin, she heads for more than ten years the foundation that bears their name, in Cotonou. It is also necessary to their credit the creation of a contemporary art museum in Ouidah, which hosts a number of works from their collection. Active promoters of Benin art scene, which has benefited greatly from their dynamism, the Zinsou have shifted in recent years towards a more social approach and avant-garde, free welcoming school children, creating libraries, not hesitating to turn to dance or music.


Koyo Kouoh


For a year, the Raw Material Company, she heads to Dakar, was closed for a year. However, hard to say that “Sabbath” is a good word to evoke the Cameroonian Koyo Kouoh, polyglot and jumps border which multiplies interventions. Responsible for educational forum of the fair of contemporary African art 1:54, it was last year the curator of “Body Talk”, presented in Belgium and France. This year she hits harder still ensuring the curatorship of the excellent Irish EVA International Biennial, entitled Still (the) Barbarians, an event that asks the question of how to postcolonialism completely open and relevant.


N’Goné Fall


She would this list be extended to subjective Marilyn Douala Bell, who founded the first independent art center in 1991 in Cameroon, and the commissioners Meskerem Assegued (Ethiopia), Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), Nontobeko Ntombela (Africa South), Suzana Sousa (Angola) and Sarah Rifky (Egypt). N’Gone we still remember that Fall was one of the first to wear the colors of contemporary African art, first in the team black journal and with Africalia and during several Biennales Dakar. A teacher time university Senghor of Alexandria, jury member of the Prince Claus Fund and the last Bamako Encounters, N’Goné Fall is currently the curator of the exhibition “When Things Fall Apart, Critical Voices on the Radar “Kolding, Denmark (until October 23).


Bisi Silva


Independent Commissioner, the Nigerian Bisi Silva is known as the founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos, opened in 2007. Just as the Raw Material Company Koyo Kouoh, the CCA is a hybrid space-oriented research, documentation and promotion of exhibitions related to contemporary art. Since, Bisi Silva was the curator of many art events like the exhibition “JD Okhai Ojeikere: Moments of Beauty” in Helsinki in 2011, and the latest Bamako Encounters. She was also part of the jury of the 55th Venice Biennale and is present in several editorial boards, including those of n.paradoxa: International Feminist Art Journal and ContemporaryAnd.



Mpho Diop


Not even 30 years old, Mpho Diop will at the end of 2016 the artistic director of the fair Akaa (Also Known as Africa), Paris. With a very definite idea “. Designing Africa not as an exotic place, but as the starting point of a perspective” talented pianist, Mpho Diop headed the Africa Centre in London and worked for the gallery Tiwani Contemporary before becoming independent curator. Children of St. Louis in Senegal, she holds a Master history of market business of art, and it feeds a training project for artists and workers in the art world.


Elise Atangana


Surprising as it may seem, the Franco-Cameroonian Elise Atangana works at the SNCF, France. But she has another hat, that of curator. “Formed” by his compatriot Simon Njami, in whom she sees a man who “speak truth”, she was co-curator of the last international exhibition of the Dakar Biennale in 2014. Specializing in mobility and their link artistic practices in a context of development of virtual realities, Elise Atangana will be the commissioner of the newly Biennale Kampala (Uganda), Seven Hills, from September 3 to October 2, 2016.


Mary Ann Yemsi


From 30 March to 2 April 2017, Art Paris Art Fair will contemporary art in Africa in the spotlight: Mary Ann Yemsi will be specifically charged. Born in Germany of German and Cameroonian parents, she is the founder of Creative Officer (s), Board workshop in contemporary art and cultural production to promote emerging artists from the continent and the diaspora. In 2015, Mary-Ann Yemsi proposed to brass Brussels’ African Odysseys “, demanding exhibition of young artists from the south of the continent watching the history of their country with new eyes.


Nathalie Miltat


A graduate of the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne, the Beninese Nathalie Miltat created in 2005 The Black Gallery and Apartment in 2012, where she exhibits of international artists, including many African artists. In 2014, she was responsible for creating the price Orisha, with Timothée Chaillou, who had controversial beginnings. Today, it provides not giving up to continue the adventure of this award to encourage the creation in Africa, in a new form that should not be open to criticism. Stay tuned … before the end of 2016.


Touria El Glaoui


Obviously it is difficult to talk Touria Glaoui without citing his father, the painter Hassan El Glaoui. Especially because this relationship largely the choice of forty, who, after working in telecoms and banking, decided in October 2013 to run 1:54, fair specifically devoted to contemporary African art abutting Frieze Art Fair in London (UK). Ignoring the prejudices of those who saw a ghetto-fair, she was able to anticipate the demand in Europe for such an event to the meeting gallery owners, artists, collectors, critics and audiences. If his fondest dream is to relocate 1:54 in Africa, it is time for the faithful to two western cities: London (October) and New York (May). Still smiling, she is preparing to compete in her little French sister Akaa (Also Known as Africa), also created by a woman: the French-American Victoria Mann.


Nicolas Michel




Written by How Africa

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