Art & CultureSlideshow

10 Amazing African Artists and Their Work as Presented at “The Illuminated Africa” Exhibit

On April 27, 2016, at the Donwahi Foundation for contemporary art in Abidjan, 54 works of art by contemporary African artists, one from each African country, presented work inspired by a single theme: “The Illuminated Africa”. According to African Artists for Development—creators of the exhibit—these works of art, which include photography, painting, calligraphy, video art, sculpture and performance art, more than exhibiting the diversity and richness of contemporary African art, declare the artist’s confidence that “the 21st century will be the century of the African continent”.

From the 54 works exhibited, here are ten we’ve specially selected:

Cape Verde | Tchale Figueira

Born, in 1953, in São Vicente, Tchalé Figueira moved to Switzerland in 1974 to study at the Basel School of Design. He returned to Mindelo, his hometown, in 1995. He is a multidisciplinary artist who expresses himself through painting and drawing, and also through music, writing and poetry. His work is a skillful mixture of the real world and a dream world, between observation and imagination.


The Future, 2015, ©Mathieu Lombard
The Future, 2015,
©Mathieu Lombard

Djibouti | Maan Youssouf Ahmed

Maan Youssouf Ahmed is a video producer and photographer born in 1958 in Djibouti, where she currently lives and works. She looks to create a bridge between the spectator and her own vision of Djibouti, especially through her photographs and her documentary films.


Not There Yet, 2015 ©Maan Youssouf Ahmed
Not There Yet, 2015
©Maan Youssouf Ahmed

Eritrea | Ermias Ekube

Ermias Ekube is an Eritrean painter, sculptor, engraver and poet, who currently lives and works in Västervik, Sweden. After completing his studies at the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and Design, he began experimenting with different techniques in painting and 3D work. Currently, he is focused on realist portraiture. He is particularly interested in capturing the suffering and strength that certain African faces can express.


Electricity is a Poetry of Science, ©Mathieu Lombard
Electricity is a Poetry of Science,
©Mathieu Lombard

Gabon | Nathalie Angueszomo MBA Bikoro

Born in 1985, Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro is a French-Gabonese multidisciplinary artist. She studied Fine Arts in Gabon and in England before receiving her Master’s degree in Political Philosophy at the University of Greenwich, in London, in 2008, and a PhD in Philosophy, Art and Postcolonial African Studies from the University of Greenwich and Humboldt University, in Berlin in 2013. Her work is a synthesis of collaborative engagements focused on the dialogue within the international community, the body politic and development on the continents, while focusing on the theme of the decolonization of history.


Future Monuments, 2015 ©Cadre en seine
Future Monuments, 2015
©Cadre en seine

Kenya | Cyrus Kabiru

Cyrus Kabiru was born in Nairobi in 1984, where he still lives and works. He is a multidisciplinary self-taught visual artist. His work oscillates between painting and sculpture, which he creates using rubbish and objects found in the streets of Nairobi. Kabiru pushes the boundaries of sculpture, design, painting and photography.


Cyrus Nganga Kabiru, Alternative / Solution, 2015, Metal sculpture (bike), ©Mathieu Lombard
Cyrus Nganga Kabiru,
Alternative / Solution, 2015,
Metal sculpture (bike),
©Mathieu Lombard

Libya | Naziha Arebi

Naziha Arebi was born in 1984 to a Libyan father and English mother. She grew up in Hastings, United Kingdom. Trained in the world of theater, which she focused on during her first few years of higher education studies, she choose to specialise in video art during her Master’s degree at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Current events, scenes from daily life in Libya, the local cultural habits and rituals become the main source of her creations. Her approach is both aesthetic and documentary.


Reflexions on Black Gold, 2015, ©Mathieu Lombard
Reflexions on Black Gold, 2015,
©Mathieu Lombard

Madagascar  | Malala Andrialavidrazana

Malala Andrialavidrazana was born in 1971, in Madagascar. Since the early 1980s Malala Andrialavidrazana has lived and worked in France. She graduated from the School of Architecture of Paris-La Villette, in 1996, and gradually oriented herself towards photography, using the multiple possibilities offered by this medium. She explores the links between architecture, contemporary art and anthropology, while calling into question, among other things, the city and its social structure.


Der sudliche gestirnte Himmel vs Planiglob der Antipoden, 2015, ©Malala Andrialavidrazana
Der sudliche gestirnte Himmel vs Planiglob der Antipoden, 2015, ©Malala Andrialavidrazana

Mauritania | Amy Sow

Born in 1977, in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Amy Sow is a self-taught visual artist, whose work oscillates between figuration and abstraction. She expresses herself through various mediums, which include calligraphy and photography; she also favors acrylic painting, which offers her limitless freedom. Amy Sow is an artist engaged in women’s rights issues, concentrating on themes relating to the lived experiences of African women.


Energie durable, 2015, ©Mathieu Lombard
Energie durable, 2015,
©Mathieu Lombard

Niger | Ibrahim Chahamata

Born in 1967, Ibrahim Chahamata is a Tuareg painter from the town of Agadez, at the gates of the Sahara. As a child, he worked with embroidery and made shop signs. The works of Ibrahim Chahamata are the results of a personal reinterpretation of ancestral Tuareg and Islamic art. A multitude of symbols, signs, geometric and symmetric forms mix to create a code, filled with a spirituality and mysticism, unique to the artist.


Emity Na-Zahir (Climate Change), 2015 ©Mathieu Lombard
Emity Na-Zahir (Climate Change), 2015
©Mathieu Lombard

Sao Tomé and Principe | René Tavares

Born in Sao Tomé and Principe in 1983, René Tavares is a multidisciplinary artist with a degree from the National Fine Arts School of Dakar, Senegal. In 2008, he received a scholarship to attend the School of Fine Arts of Rennes, he also completed the photography course of the ARC/Rennes. He lives and works between Sao Tomé and Lisbon. His work reflects upon his own experience of displacement and modern resettlement within the postcolonial context.

Série The Next Future, 2015, ©René Tavares
Série The Next Future, 2015,
©René Tavares


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