Contemporary African artists

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Contemporary African artists weave elements of African history and culture into their work.


Yinka Shonibare, MBE,
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, 2010

Commissioned for the Fourth Plinth 2010 in London’s Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, by leading Anglo-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, is a scale replica of HMS Victory in a giant bottle. The ship’s 37 large sails are made of richly patterned textiles symbolic of African identity and independence.


Prelude to the Microcron series

Owusu-Ankomah is a contemporary Ghanaian/German painter. A recurring theme in his large bold canvases is the Adinkra system of signs originating from the Akan pre-colonial cloth printing tradition. Each sign relates to a particular proverb or saying, 
and Ankomah weaves these layers of meaning into his works.


Sokari Douglas Camp,
Light Blue Plastic Bag

Nigerian-born sculptor Sokari predominantly works with steel and takes inspiration from her Kalibari heritage, as well as drawing on other aspects of African culture. She was one of the shortlisted artists for the Fourth Plinth in 2003. Light Blue Plastic Bag is made from steel and perspex.


El Anatsui,

El Anatsui is best known for his large metal ‘tapestries’ – comprising thousands of bottle caps from bottles that once contained liquor brewed in Nigeria and abroad – reminiscent of the bold geometry and rich colours of the Kente and Adinkra cloths woven in the artist’s native Ghana.


Rachid Koraïchi,
7 Variations of Indigo

Born to a Sufi family in Ain Beida, Algeria, Rachid Koraïchi’s work is intimately informed by the numerology, signs and ethos of Sufi mysticism. In 7 Variations of Indigo, Koraïchi continues his inspiring investigations of the graphic, spiritual, intellectual, and political power of script.

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