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Independent Curators Bridging African with the Global Art market



For years, curators of African decent have been the quiet force behind the intentional foundations of the African Art market.  From prestigious biennales to major museum exhibitions, they've contributed tot he growth and structuring of African Art in the global market.


Curators like the late Okwui Enwezor, Bisi Silva, and Koyo Kouoh championed post-colonial and global themes, pushing the boundaries of what African art could be. Their influence continues to shape contemporary art history. Now, a new generation of curators are emerging, collaborating with artists and collectors to build a more diverse and equitable art market.  This article spotlights a few of these figures: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Folakunle Oshun, Marie-Ann Yemsi, and Aindrea Emelife.



 

1.Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung: A Multifaceted Force



A Cameroonian curator and writer based in Berlin, Ndikung's background in medical biotechnology informs his multidisciplinary approach. He has curated prestigious events like Documenta 14 and the Dakar Biennale, and is the newly appointed Chief Curator of the 2025 São Paulo Biennale.  Ndikung is a professor at the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin and previously led SAVVY Contemporary and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW).



2.Aindrea Emelife: Amplifying Black Voices


Nigerian curator and art historian Emelife's focus is on modern and contemporary art, particularly dialogues around colonialism, decolonisation, and representation in Africa. Her acclaimed exhibition "Black Venus," exploring the Black woman's role in visual culture, toured internationally. 

Emelife is now the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Edo Museum of West African Art and was the lead curator for the Nigerian Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.


3.Folakunle Oshun: Artist and Curator


Lagos-based artist and curator Oshun explores the relativity of forms and unconventional spaces.  He founded the Lagos Biennial, a platform for critical discourse and contemporary art development in Nigeria.  Oshun's curatorial interests lie in the potential of post-independence buildings as heritage spaces.  This year's Lagos Biennial, themed "REFUGE," addressed the concept of the nation-state and its complexities.


4.Marie-Ann Yemsi: Global South Specialist


Paris-based independent curator Yemsi focuses on theoretical and artistic production in the Global South.  She develops multidisciplinary programs that bridge visual arts, performance, and writing.  Yemsi's projects highlight themes of memory, history, and identity in the face of contemporary issues.  She will curate the 19th edition of the MOMENTA Biennale de l’image in 2025.


 

These are just a few of the new wave of  African curators who are redefining the landscape of the global art market. Through championing diverse voices and innovative practices, they ensure African art takes its rightful place on the global art market.



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Independent Curators Bridging African with the Global Art market

June 1, 2024

Obidike Okafor

2 min read

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