Since the earliest times of man, Africans have been depicting their diverse cultures, religions and realities in an array of African art forms which are today sought after treasures.
The mystique behind the masks, finely carved fertility dolls and the carefully crafted sculptures of the human figure in various poses are slowly being unravelled as the world’s spotlight falls decidedly on the intrinsic value and aesthetic appeal of authentic African art.
For many centuries Africa and its cultural symbols were largely ignored by a bigoted first world that simply couldn’t comprehend the fact that Africa could offer anything of significance. This myth was dealt a resounding blow when the invading British army came face to face, and later seized, the famous Benin Bronzes in the late 18th century.
These extraordinary, elegant bronze plaques, numbering over 1000, were crafted in the 16th century but analysts now believe that bronzes were cast in Benin as early as the 13th century, a remarkable accomplishment for a continent of people effectively regarded as 'savages’.
Today there is an entire legion of artists born and bred in the Africa who are redefining the meaning of African art and who are being recognised for their fresh, exciting and, sometimes, combative visual portrayal of tradition, culture and post-modern attitudes.
Renowned African artists who have found exposure and popularity in the international community include:
Chéri Samba of the Congo is an acclaimed African artist who encapsulates both tradition and the modern world in his paintings which have been integral parts of collections in both Paris and New York.
Nigerian artist, Sokari Douglas Camp, now domicile in the USA, is renowned for her imposing steel sculptures which depict an intimate relationship with her mother country. She effectively uses masks and ritual clothing as compositional themes in her work.
Malian artist, Abdoulaye Konaté uses his multi-medium artworks to make a statement on political, social and environmental issues whereas South African, Tracey Rose uses her work, described as 'visual poetry’, to confront the politics of identity in a land that has had a tumultuous political past.
African art comes in all shapes and sizes and includes sculptures, masks, ceramics and paintings. If you are seduced by the sheer beauty and creativity of African art, browse our listing of artists and examples of their work right here online or at one of our South African Gallery partners and buy South African art today.
Inspirational and original African art by popular South African artists includes works by:
When purchasing African art remember you'll receive a certificate of authenticity and value when you buy South African art online or at any of the reputable art galleries of Fine Art Portfolio. Not only will you be fully informed as to the origin of the artworks and the artists themselves but you can rest assured you have, in fact, purchased a certified and authenticated piece of African art.
Contact us if you have any enquiries or visit us online to order your authentic African artwork today.
Art mediums are the materials used by the artists to create a body of work. Oil paint, watercolour, acrylic paint and ink are popular media types, so too are a number of dry art mediums including pastel, charcoal, pencil and graphite.
The base material on which the pigment is applied is also considered an art medium. Canvas art, framed art and works on textiles, cardboard, wood, Perspex, paper, terracotta and a host of other materials are regularly used.