5 Emerging Artists of African Descent to Collect Now
To help build a quality and diverse art collection, we bring you five carefully selected emerging artists of African descent. Across different genders, subject matter, and techniques these five artists demonstrate why they are significant.
Now more than ever the art world is experiencing a cultural shift to championing long-underrepresented artists’ voices. The gender and race dialogues have been rightfully redirecting us toward a broad spectrum of diverse artists. Artists of African descent are one of the voices who are now being heard. Thanks to the changing art world & the appropriate collectors, they are now getting traction.
Alex Gbizie is a thirty-one-year-old illustrator and artist from Ivory Coast. Gbizie started working as a choreographer for the children’s troupe ADONAI in 2017. Since then ADONAI have been a central inspiration to his work. His body of work revolves around childhood and the unique experience of being a child. Joy, being carefree and dreams are all components of a happy childhood that Gbizié explores through his work. In Gbizie’s paintings, we can see the recurring elements of patterns. The artist’s protagonists are usually children who stand in front of the line-rendered background. The overlapping lines usually constitute another child-inspired image, but most importantly they represent the paths of our dreams and where they might lead us. Gbizie’s paintings have a flare of positivity and offer hope for a better future. That’s why his work is extremely relevant.
Cece Phillips is a young self-taught artist born and based in London who has gained recognition from local and international galleries in the past couple of years. After working in the advertising industry, Philips decided to pursue painting full-time. Working mainly in oil paint, her body of work explores women and power. Using vibrant colours, Philips depicts female figures often dressed in male-inspired attire and places them in a business-like setting. Referencing a world that is dominated by men, the artist considers switching roles and enhancing the power of women. The essential elements the artist implements to foster storytelling in her work are body language and facial expressions. She brilliantly captures the mood of her characters and drags the viewer in to be part of the situation. Reimagining the power of women and her unique figure painting technique is what makes her work noteworthy.
Qhamanande Maswana comes from an Eastern Cape province of South Africa and now lives and works in Johannesburg. From an early age, he was very creative which led him to study Fine Arts at University. Since then he has developed a specific style of portrait painting mainly focused on women. His passion for women comes from his upbringing surrounded by women, sisters and cousins. Although Maswana’s settings are mostly inspired by daily life, his goal is to highlight the heritage and thebeauty of South African culture. His portraits are full of vibrant colours and play with contracts between the protagonist, their clothes, and the monochrome colour. What makes Mashawana’s work unique is how he engages the viewer and shows him the beauty of African people’s culture.
Samuel David Iyanuoluwa is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. At a young age, he developed a sensible figurative technique with the ability to project a very personal, yet extremely relatable topic. Inspired by his own fights with depression and anxiety, the artist paints realistically rendered characters of various genders and ages who struggle with similar pains. In his works, the rope represents pain, agony, anxiety or depression, and his art is a reflection of a life that is worth fighting for. Artistic practice has helped Iyanuoluwa to get through difficult times and brought light into his life. His work is crucial because it makes those with similar issues feel that they are not in this alone and that there is always hope.
Sola Olulode is a young British-Nigerian artist who works and lives in South London. She studied Fine Art at the University of Brighton. Since graduating she has participated in several group and solo shows. In October 2022, she had a solo booth with Berntson Bhattacharjee gallery at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. Her trademark colour pallet; specifically blue and pink; combined with love as a subject matter makes her work so compelling. Olulode works in various mediums, from drawings to large canvases and installations. In her dreamy, gestural figurative work, the artist emphasizes queer love. The body is usually the centre of her work and accompanied by a lyrical moment that manifests intimacy, tenderness and love. Olulode’s work celebrates womanhood, identity, non-binary people and her Nigerian heritage.