Pop Culture and Memorabilia by Wole Lagunju references both traditional Yoruba culture – through the Gelede mask worn by the central figure – as well as our own obsession with fashion and eleganza. The objets in the painting further establish the complex and entangled historical frame of the the subject where pre and post-colonial histories collide for our biggest enjoyment.
Malcolm X by Geneva based artist O’Maurice Mboa is painted on an aluminium sheet, scratched and carved to produce a unique texture and relief. Emerging from a crowded forest of leaves against an intricate blue background, the figure captures the visionary essence of the leader, the wounds on his face both index his tragic destiny and further enhance the charisma and power of the figure. A vision in its own right, Malcolm X explores questions of identity and of our place in the world: a powerful mystery where humanity, nature and spirituality coalesce, never more so than in the magic presence of charismatic leaders like Malcom X.
Another charismatic study by O’Maurice Mboa, called Le Duc de Mon Village, which portrays Toussaint Louverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution and iconic figure of fight against colonialism and slavery. Max Weber defined charisma as “a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader … “. Never more true than in this strong, deeply textured and mysterious work on metal by O’Maurice Mboa available at the gallery
Two incredibly strong Untitled blue heads by Nigerian artist Alimi Adewale. Defacement and representation in the age of Boko Haram: the extensive injuries and violence inflicted upon the face only add more layers to the power of the figures and there is no escape from the gaze looking back at us. Hauntingly beautiful. Made of azobe wood.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder is a chair made by Yinka Ilori exclusively for Foreign Agent, a one of kind pink fantasy with red striped Raf Simons fabric for Qvadrat. A chair fit for a king.
This striking fibreglass bench made by Yinka Ilori for Foreign Agent referencing the ubiquitous palm oil drum is part of the Foreign Affairs collection. Luxury downtown vibes guaranteed.
Wallen Maondera’s Melting Target is a superb and intricate work made with recycled cardboard woven on distressed canvas. It makes a powerful statement about access to essential goods and failing dreams in his native Zimbabwe.
Inspired by the urban setting of his native Abidjan and the violent political unrest of 2010, Aboudia captures the vibrancy and urgency of the capital’s streets in his immediately recognisable graffiti style laced with popular culture references. His provocative depiction of cartoony childlike figures through brutal lines of colour conjure a fascinating world saturated with flowing energy, violence, youth and the drive to survive in the African metropolis.
The work of Ivorian artist Demba Camara draws from popular culture and science fiction to create funky contemporary power objects – often robots – reminiscent of traditional statues of the Ivory Coast save for the bright colours, found objects and recycled material that he integrates in his production. Meet Generickos, the friendly non-binary robot with male and female attributes (on either side)!
Zimbabwean artist Masimba Hwati is known for his mixed media sculptures made of found objects, beautiful urban totems which combine traditional cultural artefacts as well as contemporary discarded material in new radical compositions. His powerful installations seem to announce the coming of a new world beyond what we have know so far.
Radio gaga! Kidole by Cyrus Kabiru – when someone’s trash turns into treasure: a funky composition made with found objects from Nairobi’s urban material culture.
This bright-coloured painting by Vincent Michéa conjures the nostalgic ambiance and pop aesthetic of the African Belle Epoque, a glamorous world gone by. Vintage sensations guaranteed.
This beautiful Totem dated 1991 by late Nigerian sculptor Ben Osawe is one of the few pieces of modern art showcased at the gallery. Totem is an intriguing work of formal beauty with an incredible patina, sitting comfortably in a mysterious land somewhere between the traditional and the modern. It radiates a powerful yet benevolent presence.
South African photographer Kristin Lee Moolman has worked for Vogue, Dazed, I-D and has explored the ever-changing social and political landscape of contemporary Africa. In her portrait of Belgian rapper Baloji who wears a mask by Norwegian artist Damselfrau, she conjures a beautiful utopian vision which questions boundaries of race and gender and collapses oppositions between the human and the animal, the contemporary and the tribal. Bleu de Nuit welcomes us into a brave new world.
The art and design of Hamed Ouattara made in Ouagadougou references traditional African design with a global contemporary feel thanks to his use of urban recycled metal, in particular oil barrels. Waste has never looked so good! The meuble Gold resonates with a very chic African Art Deco vibe; the Dogon chair is distinctly Sahelian African but with a slight Mad Max touch. Welcome to the new urban chic! Read more about Hamed under News.
This stunning Imbizo plinth by award-winning South African ceramicist Chuma Maweni combines contemporary hand-coiled shapes with precisely patterned incisions inspired by Xhosa traditional design. Monumental, sculptural and elegant, this unique bronze-like plinth is an incredible work of art with a totemic presence.
Power play I: African literary salon. A yellow Hector Cabinet by Ousmane Mbaye Design made in Dakar with recycled metal, next to black concrete lamp by Joburg duo Dokter and Misses and a blue Mescla carpet made of traditional Mozambican Capulana fabric and a red fez hat by Blipster favourite Simon and Mary. All available in different colours.
In Black Scream, South African artist Anton Kannemeyer captures the angst of the rainbow nation in a post-Mandela world plagued with economic decline, polarising political discourse and rising violence. Black Scream is a new radical interpretation of Munch’s Scream which he has displaced onto the Nelson Mandela bridge, in downtown Joburg, using his trademark black figure inspired by Hergé’s racist colonial grammar from Tintin in the Congo.
Isaac Zavale is a Mozambican artist based in Joburg recently showcased at the Investec Art Fair in Cape Town in 2020. His work is inspired by his surroundings, the gritty and vibrant inner city life of downtown Joburg which he depicts with incredible detail in his barbershop style. Gold Rush is an ironic fresque on the downside of the City of Gold.
Joseph Tetteh-Ashong better known as Paa Joe is the leading Ghanaian fantasy coffin artist and his works have been included in museums collections all over the world. His extravagant designs represent the life of the deceased in all their glory and passions, a colourful memory and tribute where humour is never far away. Why should death be sad, black and depressing? Paa Joe’s work is always a celebration life, more than anything else. Here, the iconic Walkman for a music lover and a miniature Supreme LV bag for the fashionista.
Léonce Raphael Agbodjelou is one of the leading photographers working in Africa today, now collaborating with fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton. He is known for his portraiture and studies in his native Benin, in particular in the capital Porto-Novo. In his haunting Egungun series, he has captured the power and extraordinary presence of the Yoruba masqueraders set in their traditional setting, both human and profoundly otherworldly.
Power play II: tropical warfare extravaganza. A chair by Fiel Dos Santos from Mozambique made of decommissioned weapons is paired with a circa pot by Ames made in Colombia and a carpet by Mescla made in Mozambique.
This beautiful Lala Surma server by Dokter and Misses with its unique graphic hand-painted prints has been made specifically for Foreign Agent and is one of a kind. It is guaranteed to make a splash in your living room!
The Mobutu chairs by Foreign Agent are upcycled nineteenth century Danish with a megalomaniac twist. Chic and slightly decadent with a whiff of Gbadolite, the location one of Mobutu’s serenissime residences in the Congolese forest. Fabric by Bevilacqua, made in Venice. For those of you who yearn for a bit of scandalous Mobutan splendour.
Hairy woman is a fine piece by Sierra Leonian legend John Goba, in his distinctive aesthetic inspired by Mende traditional iconography as well as his own private mythology. The porcupine quills index potency and provide the figure with an otherworldly yet humorous aura.
The Cactus coat stand by Dokter and Misses is both sculptural and funky – it’s all about the foot here.
The sleek blue tabouret mosquée by Jean-Servais Somians are made in the Ivory Coast out of coconut tree. Quintessentially African and yet a perfect fit for an elegant understated interior.
The work of Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru toes the fine lines between art, design and fashion, photography and sculpture. He designs and produces the incredible facial sculptures he calls C-Stunners which are all unique and one of a kind, made of found objects and recycled material he sources himself. Surreal and powerful, connecting the human, the animal, the city and the world at large, his auto-portraits continue his expanded exploration of the self.
The Barb Light by Dokter and Misses is a cool, simple and colourful table lamp that will add a few more layers of hotness to your office space. Available in several colours.
Concrete lamp by DAM in black, detail. Also available in white.
The work of Ivorian artist Demba Camara draws from popular culture and science fiction to create funky contemporary power objects – often robots – reminiscent of traditional statues of the Ivory Coast save for the bright colours, found objects and recycled material that he integrates in his production. Meet Brooter, the brooding robot!
The beautiful Soldier screen by Dokter and Misses integrates the downtown Joburg vibe and the Swazi craft and savoir faire in one incredible graphic artefact. The screen is modular: it can stand on its own – as a sculpture – or can be joined with other screens to form a sophisticated modernist paravent.
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