Mulami Mushidimuka (The modern shepherd), a C-print photograph by Maurice Mbikayi, one of the young African artists at the 1: 54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York. Image: Officine dell’Immagine
Young African Artists at this year’s 1: 54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York showed that they are the future.
Babajide Olatunji: Born in 1989 in Okitipupa, Nigeria. Lives and works in Ile-Ife, Nigeria
NEW YORK, NY- In the past few years, there has been a particular focus on the older generation of contemporary African artists. From El Anatsui to Ablade Glover, William Kentridge, Bruce Onbrakpeya, Ibrahim and many others, exhibitions and auctions have devoted greater attention to dead and older generation of African artists. The focus on the older generation of African artists, in particular, is not surprising. Their works command bigger auction prices when they come up at auctions. For example, Works by Ben Enwonwu(Nigeria) Anton van Wouw (South Africa) Yusuf Grillo (Nigeria), Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South Africa), have fetched high prices at Bonhams auctions.
But while the older artists continue to hold sway in the globe art market and fairs, young African artists are beginning to take their position in the scheme of things. The last 1: 54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York is a clear indicator of this fact. Many of the artists at the fair were young and enterprising. They were born in the early 70’s and early eighties. Their works ranged from paintings to sculptures and mixed media works. They address issues of race, national identity, gender, war, and public health among many others.
The young African artists at this year’s 1: 54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York showed why the future belongs to them. Many of them will also be part of Sotheby’s inaugural auction of Modern and contemporary African art. Here are some of the enterprising young African artists at this year’s 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York: