Expanding on our previous course – The History of African Art, this programme will focus on some of the bigger issues relating to African Art offering a more in-depth look at the creative processes as well as the cultural and historical influences that have had an impact on African artists both past and present.
London-based art advisor and curator Kami Gahiga provides bespoke art advisory services to private collectors, companies and institutions. She offers guidance in the collection management process, from acquisitions to sales, as well as expertise in the global art market with an emphasis on the African art scene. Gahiga is a member of The Baer Faxt Art Advisory and a regular contributor to art publications, exhibitions, market reports and talks. She is the recipient of a First Distinction Art Business Master's degree from the Sotheby's Institute of Art in London.
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Image Credit: Eva Blue, Unsplash
Gender and African Art – Kami Gahiga
The contemporary African Art Market is ranked second highest across all regional art markets with African women artists occupying a dominant position. This session will highlight some of the major women artists and their works with a special focus on the themes displayed within their art as well as major contributors to the success in the market and their visibility including dealers and collectors.
- A wider knowledge of major African women artists
- A deeper understanding of the key themes included in these works
- A greater appreciation of the landscape in which African women artists are working including the market and its key players.
Modern Art Within the African Context - Rikki Wemega-Kwawu
Rikki Wemega-Kwawu asserts that apart from photography and video art which did not originate in Africa, all the seminal art movements of twentieth century Modernism, including Conceptualism, Assemblage Art, Installation and Performance Art, have their antecedence in classical African art. Why is it, therefore, that many contemporary African artists of this generation and a generation or two before like to disassociate themselves from Abstraction, a characteristic feature of the whole Modern Art agenda, seeing it as an anathema, erroneously pointing to it as the art of the Whiteman? How did figurative art come to represent African (Black) artistic expression of the twentieth century and beyond, into the new millennium, to the extent that if you are African (Black) and seen to be indulging in Abstraction, fellow African (Black) artists and non-artists, alike, feel you are lost and only mimicking the White European?
Rikki Wemega-Kwawu, in his presentation, addresses these critical questions and many others in the African art production in the 20th and 21st centuries. He brings new perspectives to bear on the historical narrative of the development of contemporary African art and its emergence on the global stage. He juxtaposes Contemporary African Art in dialogue with Modernism, Post-Modernism and Post-postmodernism.
- A broadened knowledge of the conversation on what constitutes contemporary African art through a historical reconstruction of works by major African artists who lived and worked on the continent, and whose practices helped shape 20th and 21st century art of Africa.
- The conceptual framework in defining 20th and 21st century African art practices, including a deeper awareness of indigenous categories and their philosophical underpinnings.
- The vast and wild eclectism of contemporary African art production illuminate and underscore the African continent's importance as a unique place for Unity in Diversity, with an inexhaustible, extraordinary fountain of aesthetic sensibilities and creativity.
- Bring to the fore a pantheon of unsung contemporary African art masters; revered artists in their time, who through no fault of theirs, but some ill-faith, been unduly under-recognized and under-appreciated and/or whose vital contributions have been largely undeservedly forgotten or relegated to the background, leaving them out of the limelight which contemporary African art is currently enjoying on the global stage.
Rikki Wemega-Kwawu is a contemporary Ghanaian artist, born on February 3, 1959 in the city of Sekondi, Ghana. His projects include those that address the effects of globalization and the African diaspora on African art. Rikki writes about the politics of cultural dictatorship in the evaluation of modern African art. A devoted painter since 1981, he carries out forays into sculpture, photography and installation art. His work is characterized by a synthesis of the past and the present, incorporating a plethora of ancient African symbols and graphic systems into his large-scale paintings. He is largely self-taught, though an alumnus of the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, where he had the privilege of studying with world-renowned artists in the persons of Kerry James Marshall, Joyce Kozloff, Glenn Ligon, Rick Lowe, Janine Antoni and the artist-duo of Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel. Rikki has participated in numerous exhibitions across the world, in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.A.; notable among them is the Poetics of Cloth, 1998, at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, NY, in which he was exhibited alongside some of Africa’s biggest names in art – El Anatsui, Abdoulaye Konaté, Sokari Douglas Camp, Yinka Shonibare, Owusu-Ankomah, Rachid Koraïchi, Viyé Diba, Atta Kwami, Sue Williamson, Malick Sidibé and others; The World in Hand/ Welt in der Hand, 2010, at the Kunsthaus Dresden, in Dresden, Germany; Interwoven Dialogues: Contemporary Art from Africa and South Asia, 2017, at the Aicon Gallery, New York, NY. Rikki’s work is in many important private and public collections worldwide, including the Dutch Artotheek.
In 2008, Rikki became an Adjunct Professor of Art at the New York University, Accra, Ghana campus, where he taught Post-colonial Studio Practices.
Rikki directs the El Anatsui Experimental Studios in Takoradi, Ghana, where he is an artist-in-residence himself. The El Anatsui Experimental Studios is an eponymous residency space and project set up and funded by the globally renowned Ghanaian master, El Anatsui, to nurture a new crop of highly creative Ghanaian artists. The residency program’s focus is on active experimentation, with bold and innovative approaches to media, materials, concepts and techniques. A consummate writer aside his art, Rikki is currently completing the catalogue raisonné on El Anatsui.
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About Livestream Courses
All virtual courses are delivered over Zoom with high quality sound & video. There will be an interactive Q & A with the academic as well as time for a group discussion through the lecture.
Recordings will be available to watch with unlimited playback for 14 days. Registrants will receive the viewing link following the class.
For any queries about this course please contact
London Courses Department