Contemporary African Art

Contemporary African Art

Contemporary African art reflects a period of change and modernisation, typically created by African artists born after 1970.

The term refers to art from Sub-Saharan Africa, which is distinct from the art in Europe and the northern part of the continent influenced by the Middle East.

Artists who grew up in the 1970s express themselves differently from earlier generations because it was a time of optimism and liberation, marked by many African nations gaining independence from colonial rule. Contemporary African art reflects this exciting period and addresses various postcolonial issues like public health, income inequality, and national identity.

Before decolonisation, Western perceptions of African art were often collective, viewing the art as products of tribes. It wasn't until the 1980s that individual African artists gained recognition in Europe and the US. The 1989 exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, titled "Magiciens de la terre," played a significant role in generating interest in African and other non-Western artworks.

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Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.