Pavillon 54’s magazine is a space for discovery, learnings and dialogue on Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa and its diaspora. Through articles, interviews, editorial coverage, videos, exhibitions and experiences, the Pavillon 54 community will learn, be informed and involved in current events in the African art world.

  • Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Nigeria), Oldies and Goodies, 2016-2018. Installation view, Dak’Art Biennale 2018 “The Red Hour/A New Humanity” curated by Simon Njami. Photo credit: The Sole Adventurer.
    Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Nigeria), Oldies and Goodies, 2016-2018. Installation view, Dak’Art Biennale 2018 “The Red Hour/A New Humanity” curated by Simon Njami. Photo credit: The Sole Adventurer.

    With brighter mobility perspectives looming on the horizon, art lovers are probably looking at possibilities to embark on a trip to noteworthy art manifestations. Biennales, Triennale’s, Encounters, you name it, have constituted an unmissable rendezvous’ for those hungry for new trends and seminal creative processes in contemporary art. When the long-standing and established Venice Biennale has increasingly dedicated pavilions to African countries, continental art events/manifestations have contributed to the actual burgeoning of contemporary African art. Some have long been established, such as the Dak’Art Biennale or Les Rencontres de Bamako, when others are a few years old. They do not subscribe to the logic of country representation – as it is the case for the Venice Biennale – and propose new formats of exhibition and artistic exchange, especially in these times which call for alternative gathering frameworks and display models. These events and their multiplicity contribute to the decentring of legitimizing hubs of contemporary art practices.  

  • 7 Established Nigerian Artists You Should Know

    Art scene in Nigeria - Country Focus
    Ben Enwonwu's 'Christine' on view at Sotheby's on October 12, 2019, in London, England. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's
    Ben Enwonwu's 'Christine' on view at Sotheby's on October 12, 2019, in London, England. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's

    To navigate the history of art of a complex, multifaceted and multicultural continent as Africa, especially if you just got passionate about it, can seem like an overwhelming maze. But no worries, we are here to help you. Follow our series of “Artists you should know or watch” in each country, and you could soon almost sound like an expert!

     

    In the past decade, Nigeria's art scene has gained independence and global recognition and has flourished, leading to a renewed interest in modern and contemporary art in the country.  Here we list just 7 of Nigeria's most influential artists that one should know, this list is not exhaustive and could probably include many more artists. But we hope it will  inspire you to research more about this lively and booming art scene!

  • Ramesh Shukla's 50 Years United at Art Dubai 2021, Courtesy of Art Dubai.
    Ramesh Shukla's 50 Years United at Art Dubai 2021, Courtesy of Art Dubai.

    Art world professionals and connoisseurs wait with bated breath for the annual Art Basel x UBS Art Market report each year. This report, one of the most comprehensive in the industry, provides a full assessment of the market’s performance of the previous year, allowing businesses to analyse the current state of the market, and plan accordingly for the years ahead.

     

    But with such an in-depth document, which covers statistics from art dealer sales, auction house performance, art fairs, online sales and more, it can be time-consuming to read the full report and extract the most essential information. We’ve summarised the key takeaways from the Art Market Report 2021, and have also highlighted some of the key impacts on the African art market from the year 2020.

  • © Wonderbuhle 'Asikafiki', 2020, Acrylic and metallic paint on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
    © Wonderbuhle 'Asikafiki', 2020, Acrylic and metallic paint on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

    The late exhibition Liminality in Infinite Space held at the African Artists’ Foundation in Lagos has revealed much of contemporary African art’s appeal for figuration and portraiture – catalogue accessible here. The show’s intention seems to be twofold. First, “this exhibition arches back to more traditional art-making practices including painting, collage, tapestry and woodcuts”. Secondly, and from a representation standpoint, “it intentionally moves away from exaggerated depictions of blackness towards sharing moments of vulnerability and unostentatious joy”. It is no surprise at a time in which the black body is subjected to all sorts of gaze, subjugation, aggression or praise. 

  • ‘Eclipse of the Scrolls’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery London © Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery
    ‘Eclipse of the Scrolls’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery London © Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

    In the UK, everyone is excited to return to galleries this April as the lockdown rules are lifted! Whether you missed these shows in December, want to visit the new exhibitions of the season, or just want to catch up with what's still online, we've got you covered! Check out our list of the not-to-miss Contemporary African Art exhibitions in London.

  • One of the galleries open on First Thursday, downtown Cape Town © travel.sapeople
    One of the galleries open on First Thursday, downtown Cape Town © travel.sapeople

    One of Pavillon 54’s favourite things to do is to physically visit and scope out the artistic scene in various countries in Africa. This has been hard to achieve during the pandemic, however we fortunately managed to visit South Africa recently, and have already compiled a list of the 7 emerging artists to watch there. In this next instalment of our series on the art scene in South Africa, we highlight the 7 top art destinations in South Africa that every art lover has to experience.

  • The Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020
    The Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020

    The team here at Pavillon54 has recently had the opportunity to visit this wonderful country, and we’ve rounded up 7 promising artists to keep an eye on. Read on to learn more, follow, and support these artists!

  • Collectors Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean with paintings by Tschabalala Self © SWIZZ BEATZ
    Collectors Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean with paintings by Tschabalala Self © SWIZZ BEATZ

    You’ve done your research, selected choice artworks that match your collecting goals and tastes and have officially started your art collection. After you’ve acquired a certain number of paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints - whatever it may be - you may be asking yourself: what is the best way to care for all these artworks?

  • Victoria Rogers for CULTURED MAGAZINE [1] © CHRIS WAGGONER
    Victoria Rogers for CULTURED MAGAZINE [1] © CHRIS WAGGONER

    One of the biggest misconceptions about collecting art is that you must be very wealthy to do so. However, this is simply not the case, as there are plenty of emerging artists and art markets to invest in at affordable prices. Art from Africa and its diaspora is one such example, as its market is still developing rapidly. Collectors can obtain artworks of great quality and investment value at lower prices, and therefore not only contribute to the growth of an incredible movement of artists, but also add an artwork to their collections that is expected to grow in value.

     

    But diving into the art world and the art market can be a mammoth task. What are the best ways to begin your forays into the art world without breaking the bank, and where can you start? We list some of our top tips for starting an art collection on a budget.

  • Asiko - A black life
    Asiko - A black life

    Africa and its global diaspora have met the medium of photography in all its complexities. From a colonial and ethnographic tool, photographers such as Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta, Jean Depara, Sanlé Sory, Mama Casset or James Barnor embraced the medium along the advent of independence. Often mentioned as the forerunners of African photography – one should be cautious with such statement – they have produced a distinctive body of work – black-and-white photos, staged portraits, documenting style. The enthusiasm proper to the period of independences with its promises of social and individual emancipation stands out of this body of work. The popularity of photography on the continent came with the accessibility to the medium and to an array of modern commodities. Those forerunners speak to a specific moment in time and in a given context – West & Central Africa in this case.

  • Art Styles

    An Introduction to Popular African Art
    Amoako Boafo's Aurore Iradukunda, 2020
    Amoako Boafo's Aurore Iradukunda, 2020

    Art historians and artists of African descent have long highlighted the platitudes of the term ‘African art’. Typically, in the canon of art history, African art has been reduced to masks, votive figures, weapons or tapestries. However, curators, African art historians, and creators have been fighting against this one-dimensional view of African cultural output, in the aims of presenting a diverse and rich African arts scene, as variegated and unique as there are as many countries on the continent.

     

    Here at Pavillon54, one of our main missions is also to educate and promote the incredible assortment of artistic styles and techniques that can be found in modern and contemporary African art. We’ve highlighted seven popular art styles that are worldwide and universal, already well-integrated in the art historical canon, but here we are presenting it with a unique African twist. How have modern and contemporary African artists contributed to these popular artistic movements, and who are the key players? Read on to discover more!

  • Art & Power: art creativity and politics from Africa and the diaspora

    A Brief Insight into Reflections of Power, Protest & Leadership
    Chemutai Ng'ok's An Ultimatum, 2019 © Ben Westoboy
    Chemutai Ng'ok's An Ultimatum, 2019 © Ben Westoboy

    Elections always raise hope for political change. October and November 2020 have made no exception, not mentioning the recent military coup and the progressive return to civilian rule in Mali. Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tanzania or the United States have all elected a new President or reappointed the outgoing one. Guinea hasn’t experienced much political stability since its independence. In Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara is about to secure an unprecedented third term as president since the adoption of the third constitution in 2000, "a sacrifice" in his words¹. The presidential mandate of John Magufuli's has been renewed for a second five-year term after Tanzanian elections marked by increased security and the arrestation of opposition leaders. These political transitions often imply a prologue and an aftermath in which the population lets its preferences and reaction heard, and in which (future) appointed leaders assume responsibility. 

     

  • The 99 Series, Part 7, 2013 © Aida Muluneh
    The 99 Series, Part 7, 2013 © Aida Muluneh

    The term ‘print’ can often give the impression of a cheap, mass-produced printed piece of paper that doesn’t have much value. However, did you know that some of the most expensive prints by Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso have exceeded a value of millions of pounds? This misunderstood medium has great value in the art market, but when you begin to collect photography or artist prints, there is essential information that should be kept in mind, in order to understand the long-term value of the artwork. There is a lot of specific terminology and factors that may be encountered when trying to acquire such a work, such as ‘limited edition’, an extension to an edition, the number of works in the series, and what this can mean for the value of these prints. Here at Pavillon54, we represent some incredible African photographers and work only with limited edition prints. So, what does this mean for a collector when acquiring a limited-edition print via Pavillon54?

  • What is Cultural Appropriation and its Relation to African Art?

    If you look at certain industries and social media in the past few years, ‘cultural appropriation’ seems to have become a hot topic, particularly in the fashion and music spheres. For all the talk of cultural appropriation, however, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly cultural appropriation is, and how it can affect everything from the African art market to our individual, day-to-day lives.

  • Wangechi Muti, Forbidden Fruit Picker (2015)
    Wangechi Muti, Forbidden Fruit Picker (2015)

    Take a look at our list of the ten most expensive African artists to date, and you’ll see that women take up a significant proportion of the cut—even taking the top place! Unlike in the Western contemporary art market, top female African artists often see great success and prominence in their careers, on par with their male counterparts. In this article, we break down which seven female African contemporary artists are stealing the show, and the ones you should keep an eye on.

     

  • Corporate art collections:

    Why companies build them
    TD Bank – Mies van der Rohe and Jack Bush’s Rose
    TD Bank – Mies van der Rohe and Jack Bush’s Rose

    Did you know that some of the most prolific, high quality art collections in the world belong to banks? For example, Deutsche Bank, one of the primary sponsors for Frieze art fair, has collected over 70,000 artworks over the years. But why are big businesses and corporations interested in collecting art? And can small to medium-sized businesses follow suit?

  • © Liam Booysen
    © Liam Booysen

    Though the Black Lives Matter movement is by no means a new initiative, the outrage and consequent protests that ensued after the murder of George Floyd earlier this year have resulted in a common expectation for brands, museums, institutions, and other businesses to respond and act. Most likely, all of us have seen some kind of news article or social media post about this issue, but how has the Black Lives Matter movement affected the arts, and more specifically the African art scene?

  • Ablade Glover's Ghanaian Market Intrigue (2010), oil on canvas, 122 x 122cm
    Ablade Glover's Ghanaian Market Intrigue (2010), oil on canvas, 122 x 122cm

    Read any article on African Contemporary Art, and you will find that most all will steer away from defining what exactly African contemporary art is—and with good reason. With fifty-four countries and cultures making up the continent of Africa, it is almost impossible to pin-point what ‘African’ art looks like, let alone bracket the time period for when contemporary African art began.

  • Why Pavillon 54?

    A word from Dana Endundo Ferreira, Founder of Pavillon 54, about building the global technology platform for African creativity
    by Dana Endundo Ferreira
    Dana Endundo Ferreira, CEO & Founder @ Pavillon54
    Dana Endundo Ferreira, CEO & Founder @ Pavillon54

    A word from Dana Endundo Ferreira, Founder of Pavillon 54, about building the global technology platform for African creativity

     

  • Yinka Shonibare CBE, The British Library 2014 (detail) | © Tate
    Yinka Shonibare CBE, The British Library 2014 (detail) | © Tate

    As auction houses establish sales dedicated to African modern and contemporary art, galleries look to diversify their rosters of artists, and the African art market continues to grow, it is important to take note of which artworks and artists are performing well. This is especially true if you are hoping to make an investment in African art. Below, we have compiled the top 10 most expensive African artists to date, highlighting which works landed them the record-breaking position, and why.

  • El Anatsui

    Of Bonds and Bottle Caps
    El Anatsui's Gravity and Grace Monumental Works (2009), Brooklyn Museum | © Eva Blue-Flickr.jpg
    El Anatsui's Gravity and Grace Monumental Works (2009), Brooklyn Museum | © Eva Blue-Flickr.jpg

    As you descend the steps into the British Museum’s ‘Africa’ wing, you are immediately confronted by a sculpture, large in scale, that resembles a swathe of draped cloth—except the piece is made from bottle tops and discarded wrappers. It is ‘Man’s Cloth’ by El Anatsui, a piece made in his distinctive wall sculpture style. So it is that this Ghanaian contemporary artist cemented himself within African Art History in the eyes of one of the Western world’s most prominent public institutions.

  • Veronica Alves dos Santos's Confidence - Ethiopia (2018), print on cotton paper, 30 x 50 cm
    Veronica Alves dos Santos's Confidence - Ethiopia (2018), print on cotton paper, 30 x 50 cm

    Are you a collector, looking to invest in the African art market? Or perhaps you are an artist, wondering where your own work fits within the scope of contemporary African art. Maybe you’re a student, researcher, or even just a fan. No matter who you are, African art spans a whole range of countries, cultures and historical periods, and it can often be challenging to start talking about African modern and contemporary art. With so much information out there, how can you even begin your quest? Here are some simple pointers to get you started.

  • Inspired by Africa: Henri Matisse

    Series: Inspired by Africa
    Left: Kuba Cloth from Matisse’s Collection, artist unknown. Right: Matisse's Red Interior still life on a blue table (1942)
    Left: Kuba Cloth from Matisse’s Collection, artist unknown. Right: Matisse's Red Interior still life on a blue table (1942)

    The influences of African art on various artists and movements throughout history recount fascinating stories of cultural exchange, theft, homage and colonialism. In this series of articles, Inspired by Africa, we assess the ways that some of the most famous artists in the world borrowed from African art to create some of their masterpieces. For the third installation of this series, we survey the works of Henri Matisse, and the African countries he took inspiration from.

  • Inspired by Africa: Pablo Picasso

    Series: Inspired by Africa
    Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), oil on canvas, 243.9 cm × 233.7 cm
    Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), oil on canvas, 243.9 cm × 233.7 cm

    The influences of African art on various artists and movements throughout history recount fascinating stories of cultural exchange, theft, homage and colonialism. In this series of articles, Inspired by Africa, we assess the ways that some of the most famous artists in the world borrowed from African art to create some of their masterpieces. First and foremost, we visit the works of perhaps the most acclaimed artist of the modern era: Pablo Picasso.

  • Inspired by Africa: Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Series: Inspired by Africa
    Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled (1982), work in oil stick, acrylic and spray paint
    Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled (1982), work in oil stick, acrylic and spray paint

    The influences of African art on various artists and movements throughout history recount fascinating stories of cultural exchange, theft, homage and colonialism. In this series of articles, Inspired by Africa, we assess the ways that some of the most famous artists in the world borrowed from African art to create some of their masterpieces. For this second exploration, we examine how adored New York artist Jean Michel-Basquiat searched his roots to battle racism and create his unique artistic vision.

  • What does Blockchain mean for the African art market?

    It is undeniable: online art sales continue to grow. According to the ‘Hiscox online art trade report 2018’, the amount of art bought online has shown consistent growth over the past five years, although admittedly the rate of growth has decreased. This consistent increase in the online art market demonstrates that digital means of buying and selling art are becoming more prolific, thereby opening new modes of buying and selling to different demographics and countries, such as the growing wealthy class in Africa. However, the lull in the rate of growth reveals some reservations about the uncertain future of the online art market. This can largely be attributed to a recent surge of debate surrounding new modes of technology being introduced into the art industry, and the disagreement about what could result. Amongst these new technologies, blockchain appears to be the most divisive by far.

  • What to know when buying art?

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Buying Art
    What to know when buying art?

    The possibilities of buying art grow ever more abundant. Indeed, these days, the dual-swoop of new, innovative digital art galleries and the increasing trend in the wealthy investing in art means that the art market is booming, particularly online. Among those using online platforms are wealthy millennials, many of whom are first-time buyers. If you count yourself among those who are interested in acquiring art for the first time, there are a few important questions to ask yourself before you make that big purchase. Below we’ve listed what to know when buying art, including some of the most important factors to consider.

  • © Getty Images
    © Getty Images

    It is undeniable: online art sales continue to grow. According to the ‘Hiscox online art trade report 2018’, the amount of art bought online has shown consistent growth over the past five years. In addition to this, 79% of young art buyers (under the age of 35) expressed that they use social media, especially Instagram, to discover new artists, and 32% of buyers said that social media had a significant impact in their decision to purchase art. This consistent increase in online methods of scouting the art market demonstrates that purchasing art digitally is becoming more prolific. Artech start-ups pioneered the way for making means of buying and selling art online easier and more convenient than ever, however we are also seeing traditional art institutions incorporate online methods of buying art. Regardless of whether one prefers to go with young, innovating start-up companies, or massive auction houses with decades of legacy, therefore, it is irrefutable that art e-commerce is a crucial facet of the future of the art market. Here are three benefits of buying art online that have spurred on this revolution.

  • Didier Claes booth, AKAA Art Fair, Paris, November 2019
    Didier Claes booth, AKAA Art Fair, Paris, November 2019

    For all the talk of the ‘African Art Boom’ in recent years, it isn’t always evident why is African contemporary art trending and what this boom entails, how it came to be, or what the future of the African art market is. 

     

     
  • Yinka Shonibare, CBE (RA)

    A Foot in Two Continents
    Yinka Shonibare's Fake Death Picture (The Suicide - Manet) (2011), digital chromogenic print
    Yinka Shonibare's Fake Death Picture (The Suicide - Manet) (2011), digital chromogenic print

    The story of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare is one that spans two continents, countries and cultures. He was born in London, but moved to Nigeria when he was three years old, where he spent his childhood. The straddling of these two nations, and ultimately two cultural identities, thus has a profound influence on his work, which often engages with themes of identity, globalisation and post-colonisation.

  • Lubaina Himid's Navigation Charts Spike Island (2017) | © Photo: Stuart Whipps
    Lubaina Himid's Navigation Charts Spike Island (2017) | © Photo: Stuart Whipps

    Lubaina Himid CBE (b.1954) is both an artist and a curator. She has made her mark in the art world by furthering the Black Arts Movement, of which she was one of the primary members in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. She particularly centres her work around black female artists, both in terms of subject matter for her own art, and assisting the careers of fellow women artists.

  • Delta’, El Anatsui, 2014 at Frieze Art Fair London 2019
    Delta’, El Anatsui, 2014 at Frieze Art Fair London 2019

    Chances are, little more than what you see in the news.  But for those of us lucky enough to live or travel there, we know of its beauty, creativity and ingenuity. That's what we highlight at Pavillon 54.