Danh Vo, Alphabet (J), 2011. Image courtesy the artist and Danjuma
LONDON—Works by contemporary African artists will feature prominently at this year’s Frieze London in October. Drawn from the collection of the young London-based Collector Theo Danjuma, the contemporary African art exhibition will include works by famous and emerging artists, including Neil Beloufa, Robin Rhode and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Alongside works by these contemporary African artists are artworks by several international artists including Simon Denny, Glenn Ligon, and Rashid Johnson. The focus of this inaugural exhibition is around two underlying themes: the use of found materials by contemporary artists and contemporary art from Africa.
The use of found materials by contemporary African artists has been developing through the years. Many artists use what is generally considered “trash” to create their works. One of the celebrated African artists in this area is El Anatsui, who uses battle tops to create amazing wall-hangings. Many young contemporary artists have continued in that artistic tradition of using found objects to create amazing works of contemporary African art.
Three of artists who use found objects for their work will be part of the 12th edition of Frieze London. Matias Faldbakken, Gedi Sibony and Danh Vo are excellent examples of artists who employ ‘trash’ in their artistic expression. Exploring found objects, these artists whose works are central to the Danjuma Collection, create exceptional pieces that situate them at the center of the 21st century contemporary art discourse. This inaugural presentation of the works of these artists will not just address their conceptual strategies but also the materiality and a multi-generational approach to found materials.
Alongside the focus on artists using found objects in their works, the second section of the show is focused on Contemporary African artists. Contemporary African art is the common thread that runs through the Danjuma Collection. Works by contemporary African artists including Dineo Seshee Bopape, Moshekwa Langa, Ernest Mancoba, Julie Mehretu, Nandipha Mntambo and Emeka Ogboh will feature notably in the second section of this inaugural exhibition that brings attention to Contemporary African art in the heart of London.
Theo Danjuma began collecting art in 2008. Since he began collecting, his art collection has grown to include works by famous and emerging contemporary African artists as well as international recognized artists. Included in his collection are works by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Gilbert & George, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Isa Genzken, Moshekwa Langa, Peter McDonald, Julie Mehretu, Nandipha Mntambo , Zwelethu Mthethwa, Wangechi Mutu, Odili Donald Odita, Chris Ofili, Abraham Oghobase, Cheri Samba, Berni Searle, and Michael Wilkinson amongst many others.
Danjuma is an indiscriminate collector. His art collection includes painting, photography, sculpture, and installation art by artist from across the globe. At the core of his collection, however, is contemporary African art. Danjuma’s art collection has grown so much in the last six years that a private museum to house the Collection is already under construction in Lagos, Nigeria. The objective of placing this large collection in a private museum in Lagos is to support Nigerian artists, as well as strengthen the local art scene. More importantly, the hope is that the location of the museum will help contribute to the development of Lagos as an international artistic destination. The Museum is scheduled to open in November 2016.