There is a movement going on.
From the streets of Accra to the pavements of London; all across the globe, young millennials of the diaspora are rediscovering their roots and celebrating their heritage. They are lifting their voices and letting the world know that #BLACKLIVESMATTER. The awakening is spreading, and it is making its way into the art world.
Creating art across borders and socio-political boundaries, young black and brown artists have painted, snapped and scultped a niche for themselves. Bypassing the establishment, they are staking their claims, and the best part of it all is that they are tweeting, snapchatting, and live-streaming their journeys. The revolution is being live-streamed and you can have a front row view. All you have to do is turn on your smart-phone.
We here at Yellow Hibiscus Gallery decided to put together a list of our top 5 favorite artistes of the African variety that we’ve been secretly stalking. Very soon the rest of the world will discover what you will already know - these guys are awesome!!!
So, without further ado ... here goes our top 5 emerging artist of African descent (as voted by the YH Team) .... *drumroll*
Aida Muluneh is an award winning photographer and contemporary artist. In 2001, she graduated from Howard University, with a B.A. in film, radio and television. Her interest in photography began in her teens as a reaction to stigmatizing stereotypes and images of Ethiopia. In 2007, she relocated from Canada to Addis Abba.
Laola Senbajo started out as a lawyer. But over time he discovered that his passion for music and art was too great to ignore. He calls his art “Afromysterics” meaning “the mystery of the African thought pattern.” A self styled Afrofuturists, he pushes the boundaries while paying homage to his Yoruba heritage. In addition to his prowess as a visual artist, he is a budding musician and an activist.
Disclaimer here. We consider Serge Attukwei Clottey a friend here at Yellow Hibiscus Gallery. He is a contemporary Ghanaian visual and performance artist who is on the verge of breaking through. His work is characterized by use of distinct yellow gallon containers that were at one point discarded imported oil containers up-cycled to transport water during an intense period of water shortage in Accra, Ghana.
eL Seed is a is a French Tunisian graffiti artist from Paris. His work incorporates elements of Arabic calligraphy and graffiti. In 2016, eL Seed unveiled his latest work, Perception, large-scale work in a Cairo neighborhood called Manshiyat Nasr. The work extends to over 50 buildings and can only be seen from an elevated position.
Ndidi Emefiele is a black feminism. Mdidi uses mixed media and discarded materials such as CDs and fabric, to explore her personal experiences and reflect themes such as the treatment of women in Northern Nigeria. Her style is very unique and highly distinguishable. You can identify her work by her representation of women with heads that are not anatomically proportional to their bodies.
We know that this is a short list, but hopefully this will just be the beginning of your exploration of the rich world of contemporary artist of African descent out there.
What does the word ‘art’ mean to you?
Does it conjure up images of foreboding galleries with gold-framed paintings from hundreds of years ago? Or is it that strange sculpture you pass every day on your commute and aren’t sure why it’s there...