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African Artist 5 contemporary artist you should know

Africa's Contemporary artists use beautiful creations to mirror Africa's culture, tradition and society in their art. Let's meet a few.

  • Published: , Refreshed:
bigoriginal play


( Kudzanai Chiurai, Moyo)

Contemporary art is the art of today!

Africa's Contemporary art mirrors contemporary culture and society, offering teachers, students, and general audiences a rich resource through which to consider current ideas and rethink the familiar.

Using their creations to interpret and portray Africa’s socio-economic realities, political challenges, rich traditions, and diverse beauty, these African artists continue to influence the evolution of contemporary art in Africa.

1. Sokari Douglas Camp

Sweeping box by Sokari Douglas play

Sweeping box by Sokari Douglas

(Sokari douglas camp)

London-based, Nigerian-born artist, Sokari Douglas Camp, belongs to the first generation of African women artists to have attracted the attention of the international market.

Douglas Camp's work is predominately sculpted in steel and characteristically takes inspiration from her Kalabari heritage, as well as drawing on other aspects of African culture. She creates large, semi-abstract figurative works adorned with masks and ritual clothing to depict her relationship to Nigeria despite having emigrated to London many years ago.

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2. Kudzanai Chiurai

bigoriginal play


( Kudzanai Chiurai, Moyo)

First black student to graduate with a BA in Fine Art from the University of Pretoria, Kudzanai Chiurai is an internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean mixed-media artist who uses dramatic multimedia compositions to confront and challenge the most pressing issues in the southern African region, from government corruption to conflict and violence, xenophobia, and displacement. 

3. Tracey Rose

Tracy Rose play

Tracy Rose

(Goodman Gallery)

South African born artist, Tracey Rose, currently residing in Johannesburg, is an established contemporary multimedia artist and outspoken feminist, best known for her bold performances, video installations, and arresting photographic works.

With a practice that centers on performance but includes photography, video, and installation, Tracey Rose explores cultural stereotypes imposed on Africans, women, and African women.

4. Chéri Samba

chéri samba play

chéri samba


Founding member of the “Popular painting” school, Chéri Samba, exposes everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city, Kinshasa with his paintings.

Samba began his career working as a billboard painter and comic strip artist, gradually, he moved to painting on sacking fabric as canvas became too expensive.

Samba began to portray himself frequently and literally in his works, taking on a direct role as the reporter of his ideas and personal story. “I appeal to people’s consciences,” he says. “Artists must make people think.”

5. Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare art play

Yinka Shonibare art

(James Cohan Gallery)


Known for using batik in costumed dioramas that explore race and colonialism, British-Nigerian artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE also employs painting, sculpture, photography, and film in work that disrupts and challenges our notions of cultural identity.  His work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation.

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