Must-See African Artists at Art Basel and the Galleries Showcasing Them

Goodman Gallery’s presentation at Art Basel 2024

Art Basel, the world’s most prestigious art fair, annually converges the global art community in Basel, Switzerland. This grand event is a nexus for contemporary art, drawing collectors, artists, and galleries from all corners of the world. The 2024 edition of Art Basel, running from June 13 to June 16, continues this tradition with a spectacular display of artworks from 285 galleries, including 22 newcomers. The fair’s new director, Maike Cruse, highlights the unique allure of Basel, a small city with a high density of top-tier art.

As Art Basel opens its doors, the energy is palpable, with VIP previews already driving art sales into the millions. Noah Horowitz, CEO of Art Basel, notes a global broadening of collectors, signaling strong market engagement despite a cautious climate. This year’s fair not only showcases the best of contemporary art but also provides a platform for African artists, whose works resonate with themes of identity, culture, and sociopolitical narratives.

African Artists and Their Showcases

Among the 285 galleries at Art Basel 2024, several are featuring prominent African artists. These artists bring diverse perspectives and rich cultural narratives to the forefront. Here are the galleries and the African artists they are exhibiting:

  1. Blank Projects at Booth K1: Featuring Sabelo Mlangeni, a South African photographer whose intimate black-and-white images capture the inherent beauty of everyday life. Mlangeni’s work delves into community and the human experience through extended engagement with his subjects.
  2. Marianne Boesky Gallery at Booth C16: Showcasing Ghada Amer, an Egyptian artist known for her erotic embroideries that address issues of sexuality, female identity, and Islamic culture. Amer’s work reclaims the female body from the male gaze through intricate needlework.
  3. carlier | gebauer at Booth J5: Presenting Iman Issa and Julie Mehretu. Issa, an Egyptian multi-disciplinary artist, explores the power of display in cultural institutions. Mehretu, an Ethiopian American, is celebrated for her abstracted large-scale paintings that reflect urban sociopolitical changes.
  4. James Cohan at Booth A10: Exhibiting Kaloki Nyamai and Yinka Shonibare. Nyamai, a Kenyan painter and sculptor, investigates materiality and subject matter. Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist, examines themes of authenticity, identity, and colonialism through various media.
  5. GALLERIA CONTINUA at Booth N21: Featuring Pascale Marthine Tayou from Cameroon and Kader Attia, an Algerian-French artist. Tayou’s work explores postcolonial culture and globalization, while Attia’s art draws from his bicultural experiences.
  6. Galleria Raffaella Cortese at Booth L9: Showcasing Gabrielle Goliath, a South African artist whose work focuses on non-conforming bodies and the politics of survival and imagination.
  7. Thomas Dane Gallery at Stand P19: Presenting Magdalene Anyango Namakhiya Odundo, a Kenyan-born British potter renowned for her ceramic artistry.
  8. MASSIMODECARLO at Booth C10: Featuring Ludovic Nkoth, a Cameroonian figurative painter whose works capture the Black experience with emotional depth and historical resonance.
  9. Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel at Stand K17: Exhibiting Pélagie Gbaguidi, a Beninese artist whose works raise questions of writing and memory through a blend of media.
  10. Stephen Friedman Gallery at Booth J03: Featuring Leilah Babirye and Yinka Shonibare. Babirye, a Ugandan artist, transforms everyday materials to address identity and LGBTQ+ rights. Shonibare’s works continue to explore complex themes of identity and colonial history.
  11. Gagosian at Booth B15: Showcasing Amoako Boafo, a Ghanaian artist known for his vibrant portraits exploring Black identity with rich colors and dynamic brushwork.
  12. Goodman Gallery at Stand P11: Presenting a group exhibition with artists like Ghada Amer, Kudzanai Chiurai, Leonardo Drew, William Kentridge, and more, addressing themes from gender and identity to political power and social justice.
  13. Marian Goodman Gallery at Booth B20: Featuring Julie Mehretu, whose abstract works depict urban changes and sociopolitical dynamics.
  14. Hauser & Wirth at Booth C11: Exhibiting William Kentridge, known for his films and drawings reflecting on post-apartheid South Africa.
  15. Jenkins Johnson Gallery at Booth C12: Showcasing Nnenna Okore, an Australian-born Nigerian artist whose abstract sculptures are inspired by natural textures and forms.
  16. Catriona Jeffries at Booth K12: Featuring Chukwudubem Ukaigwe, a Nigerian artist exploring themes of identity and personal history.
  17. Casey Kaplan at Booth K24: Presenting Ghaashan Adams, a South African artist whose work spans identity, spirituality, and social politics.
  18. Jan Kaps at Booth L1: Featuring Kresiah Mukwazhi, a Zimbabwean artist addressing gender, social justice, and cultural identity.
  19. Karma at Booth R28: Showcasing Derek Fordjour, Simphiwe Mbunyuza, and Odili Donald Odita. Fordjour, of Ghanaian heritage, works across various media. Mbunyuza, from South Africa, creates masterful objects combining multiple materials. Odita’s abstract paintings explore color in historical and sociopolitical contexts.
  20. Sean Kelly Gallery at Booth P2: Featuring Awol Erizku and Kehinde Wiley. Erizku’s works explore African identity and culture, while Wiley’s renowned portraits blend contemporary and historical elements to address race and power.
  21. David Kordansky Gallery at Booth R2: Presenting Simphiwe Mbunyuza, who combines stoneware, leather, fabric, and steel in his creations.
  22. KOW Berlin at Booth N17: Showcasing Anna Boghiguian and Candice Breitz, with Boghiguian exploring historical events in a political context and Breitz working primarily in video and photography.
  23. Nicolas Krupp Gallery at Booth R17: Featuring Atta Kwami, a Ghanaian artist known for his vibrant exploration of cultural identity and diaspora.
  24. Galerie Lelong & Co. at Booth B5: Presenting Barthélémy Toguo, a Cameroonian artist known for his diverse practice encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, and performance art.
  25. Lisson Gallery at Booth C17: Highlighting Otobong Nkanga, a Nigerian-born artist whose work examines ecological themes and complex social relationships.
  26. The Mayor Gallery at Booth G14: Showcasing Alexandre Diop, a Franco-Senegalese artist whose works are guided by the physical realities of his materials.
  27. Mitchell-Innes & Nash at Booth F6: Featuring Gideon Appah, a Ghanaian artist known for expressive paintings that reflect on identity and culture.
  28. nagel-draxler at Booth P13: Presenting Zandile Tshabalala and Kader Attia, with Tshabalala exploring identity and heritage and Attia’s works reflecting on bicultural experiences.
  29. Veielmetter at Booth L4: Featuring Kwesi Botchway, a Ghanaian artist known for his vibrant abstract paintings.
  30. Galerie Tschudi at Booth C13: Showcasing Donna Kukama, a South African artist known for her performance art and interdisciplinary practice.
  31. Galerie Barbara Thumm at Booth P24: Presenting Kaloki Nyamai and Yinka Shonibare, with Nyamai’s multidisciplinary practice and Shonibare’s exploration of colonialism and identity.
  32. Gallery Templon at Booth A5: Featuring Alioune Diagne and Abdoulaye Konaté, with Diagne’s vibrant paintings and Konaté’s large-scale textile installations.
  33. Stevenson Gallery at Booth J11: Showcasing a broad range of artists including Mawande Ka Zenzile, Penny Siopis, Simphiwe Ndzube, Ben Enwonwu, and more, covering diverse themes from memory and identity to politics and social justice.
  34. Galerie Nordenhake at Booth R14: Featuring Ayan Farah, whose works reflect themes of identity and cultural oppression.
  35. Jack Shainman Gallery at Booth P15: Presenting Toyin Ojih Odutola, known for her intricate pen and ink drawings exploring identity and race.
  36. Sfeir-Semler Gallery at Booth J18: Showcasing Yto Barrada, Dineo Seshee Bopape, and Wael Shawky, with Barrada’s multidisciplinary investigations, Bopape’s experimental video montages, and Shawky’s historical narratives.
  37. Petzel Gallery at Booth L12: Featuring Derek Fordjour, an interdisciplinary artist of Ghanaian heritage.
  38. Gregor Podnar at Booth J17: Presenting Thania Petersen, known for her interdisciplinary approach to identity and history.
  39. Galleria Lia Rumma at Booth G2: Showcasing Wael Shawky and William Kentridge, with Shawky’s historical narratives and Kentridge’s reflections on post-apartheid South Africa.
  40. Regen Projects at Booth P06: Featuring Kader Attia, whose works draw from his bicultural experiences.

These artists bring an extraordinary range of styles and perspectives, each contributing to the rich tapestry of contemporary African art showcased at Art Basel 2024. Their works not only captivate with their aesthetic appeal but also engage viewers in critical dialogues about identity, culture, and the socio-political landscapes of their regions.

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