When we talk about African art we often think of statues and wooden masks. But it is not limited to that. Contemporary African creation is very dynamic on the continent.
There are more African art exhibitions in some of the largest western cities in the world than there are across the continent.
This is the case of the African art exhibition which is currently taking place at Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.
African contemporary art is mostly seen abroad and most of the artists whose works are sometimes sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars are often unknown in Africa.
Governments and sector ministries do not often play their role. The problem is that in many countries on the continent these artists have no place or exhibit their works.
There are already very few museums with classic pieces of art on the continent and not enough contemporary art museums. To compensate for this deficiency, there are fortunately more and more private initiatives that are emerging.
They help preserve African art within African territory. A typical case in point is the Bandjoun station in Cameroon. A contemporary art museum created by the Cameroonian artist, Barthélémy Toguo.
We also hear a lot about the Zinsou Foundation in Benin. In 2013 the foundation inaugurated the museum of contemporary art of Ouidah, a first in the country.
Photography is part of contemporary art so I would like to take the opportunity to talk about two photo projects.
The first is the Chroma project by the American photographer based in Lagos – Nigeria, Melina Dugger. She celebrates the creativity of African hairstyles.
Her work is directly inspired by that of the famous Nigerian photographer JD Okhai Ojeikere who is involved in the hairstyles of African women.
That is part of our cultural heritage because these hairstyles are also considered as art and some of them have been in existence for hundreds of years.
The second project is that of the Nigerian photographer William Chechet. He made a mix of African culture and pop art. This gives a very colorful traditional photos.
These photo projects are also a good way to show what we’ve got to offer in contemporary art while adding value to our cultural heritage.