The growth of African artists in 2019

It is not news: the architects and contemporary artists of Africa are shaking the market and the spaces dedicated to their respective disciplines. In addition, in recent years, women artists have gained difficult terrain to predict. As mentioned by theArtTacticreport, published in July, on auction sales of Modern and contemporary African art between 2016 and 2019, which found that the average price for female artists was consistently higher than for males. In 2019, women fetch on average $91,338, compared with $19,555 for men.

What are the reasons why African women have achieved this goal? On the one hand, Hannah O’Leary, the head of Modern and contemporary African art at Sotheby’s, mentions that although women artists are taking a decisive role in the art market, there is still much to do, because only a low percentage of these artists are represented in the market. On the other hand, many collectors still do not find the most interesting artists because they are waiting for the way the market behaves to purchase one of the works that come from Africa.


2019 can be considered as the year of the start of the rise of the art of African women. In a recent article The Art Newspaperis highlighting that “the South African photographer Mary Sibande has her first solo show in the UK at Somerset House (until 5 January 2020), while the non-profit space Gasworks is hosting Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s first ever institutional solo show. She is one of four artists to represent Zimbabwe at the Venice Biennale this year and has just been signed by Goodman Gallery. Further afield, Nigerian-born Otobong Nkanga has her first UK museum show at Tate St Ives.”


On the other hand, one of the most interesting artists of recent times, Isaac Julien, focused on unveiling the ills of capitalism, organized an exhibition at Victoria Miro’s space based on the feminist book Bell Hooks, which talks about black people and self-esteem. The exhibition includes African artists such as Akunyili Crosby – who was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the artists whose work value grew considerably in recent years (her paintings began selling at $ 3,000 and today reach $ 100,000) -, South African Zanele Muholi, the Kenyan Wangechi Mutu and the Gambian-British photographer Khadija Saye  In Sybaris Collection this year we selected as revelation artist the South African photographer Miora Rajaonary as one of the most interesting contemporary looks that fuses documentary and fictional interests, not only as a market trend, but as a way of recognizing the aesthetic and social value that she owns her work. What does 2020 hold for us? It is not casual to say that Africa will continue to make its way into the international market as one of the most interesting territories for collecting.