Contemporary African Art Since 1980: exclusive image gallery


(Image above: Nandipha Mntambo, "Europa," 2008)

Contemporary African Art Since 1980, a new book by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu, is the most comprehensive collection I've ever seen of modern art from or about Africa, by African artists.

A disclaimer first: my mother, Monica Rumsey, was the book's copy editor, and that's how I learned about it. I kept pestering her to share photos and details as the project took shape, and am now very excited to blog that we've obtained permission from the publisher and distributor (Damiani Editore, and DAP) to publish a large, exclusive gallery of wide-format images here on Boing Boing— these spectacular works are shown after the jump.

The book explores how political, social, and cultural changes over the past thirty years have shaped urban, indigenous, and globalized "diasporic" art forms. Contemporary African Art is a roadmap of change and of evolving identities.


(Image above: Guy Tillim, "Mai Mai Militia in training near Beni, eastern DRC, for immediate deployment with the APC, Army Populaire du Congo" 2002)

Important works by some 160 artists are included in this beautifully illustrated, 320-page book, which unfolds in chronological order and covers an array of mediums: painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, installation, drawing, and collage. I've blogged before about some of the artists represented in this book, but when I saw the finished product, I was thrilled to learn about dozens whose work I had not seen before.

About the book's co-authors: Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor is Dean of Academic Affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute, and editor and founding publisher of the African art journal Nka.
And Chika Okeke-Agulu is Assistant Professor of Art and Archeology and African American Studies at Princeton University, and editor of Nka.

Many thanks to the artists, authors, and publisher, for allowing Boing Boing to share a collection of featured images here. Where possible, I've also added links to the artist websites, for your happy exploring.

Amazon Link.


Abu Bakarr Mansaray, "Sector A'Bubak," (1997)


David Goldblatt, "Saturday Morning at the Hypermarket: Semi-final of the Miss Lovely Legs Competition, Boksburg, Transvaal, 28 June 1980"


Samuel Fosso, "Le Pirate" (1997)

Kendell Geers, "Counting Out Song" (aka "Tyre") (1988)


Chéri Samba, aka Samba wa Mbimba N'zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi, "Les Pantalons sont Defendus"


Bodys Isek Kingelez, "Ville Fantome" (1996)


Willem Boschoff, "Kykafrikaans" (1980)


Yinka Shonibare, "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Africa)," (2009)


Jo Ratcliffe, "Nadir no 15" (1988)


Lalla Essaydi, "Les Femmes du Maroc / Grande Odalisque" (2008)