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Art: Africa Rising – African Art Galleries in London

by Georgina Adam
(first published JUNE 28, 2013)

“I see Africa as being like Asia in the 1990s” – so the renowned curator Hans Ulrich Obrist recently told me. Certainly there is growing interest in art from the continent and this is bolstered by museum collecting.

Tate recently inaugurated an acquisitions committee for African art, and is about to open Meschac Gaba’s complicated installation work called “Museum of Contemporary African Art 1997–2002”.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has just opened an African art gallery, which will show historical and contemporary works of art; it is building up its holdings in this field.

London now has three galleries specialising in African art. Jack Bell has been there longest, and Tiwani Contemporary, which focuses mainly on Nigerian artists, was opened two years ago.

Now the Gallery of African Art has opened in Cork Street, and will display art from all over the continent. Its founder and director is the London-based collector Bendu Cooper, and this week sees the opening of Wordplay, a new show by the Los Angeles-based Ethiopian artist Wosene Worke Kosrof. He uses Amharic, the national language of his home country, to make painting and sculptures, but also draws on jazz, using the language symbols like notes in musical scores. Prices start from £15,000 to about £40,000.

The gallery has roosted in one of the Cork Street premises scheduled for revamping in two years’ time. “We will be looking for another space,” says Cooper. “But we think that within that time we will have been able to establish ourselves as a brand: we are pleased by the level of interest we have seen here already.”
See more about the Gallery of African Art here … http://www.gafraart.com/

Source: ft.com