Artnet Auctions’ first-ever sale of contemporary African art just went live, and we’re excited to introduce collectors to these dynamic artists. To make our inaugural sale one to remember, our team joined forces with Rebecca Anne Proctor, a journalist, art advisor, and former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar Art— she also just happens to be an avid enthusiast and collector of contemporary African art.
Proctor frequently contributes to Artnet News, where she provides in-depth analysis of the African art market and the Middle East. And, what’s more, she’s spent the last three years traveling to Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Togo to report on the local art scenes and development market trends. In the most recent edition of our Intelligence Report, she contributed a key feature on the emerging art capitals of the continent.
Because of her expertise and passion for the field, we asked Proctor to choose some of her favorite works from our Contemporary African Art sale, live now on Artnet Auctions.
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“This stunning work by Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté is one the boldest and highest-priced works in the sale,” Proctor says. “It’s an example of one of the artist’s textile sculptures, which are made of a variety of fabrics onto which he paints, relaying through signs and symbols references to secret societies in Mali or ideas relating to global political and social events. The delicate interplay between painting and material in Konaté’s work offers moments of meditative respite.”
“This impactful work by Ghanaian artist Ablade Glover is one of the most pivotal works in the sale,” Proctor explains. “From afar, the work appears to replicate aspects of the early 20th century, particularly that of Pointillism, with the mass of figures resembling myriad colorful dots on canvas. It is only when you get closer that you recognize the throng of people that make up a mass of crowd. The work’s intense coloring and multitude of figures relays that same pulsating energy that can be found on any given day at an African marketplace.”
This enamel-on-canvas work was made byVictor Ehikhamenor, one of the biggest stars of the art scene in Nigeria. “I love this work for its imaginary appeal and way in which it touches on remnants of everyday Nigerian culture, such as masquerade dancers and vibrant traditional African fabric,” Proctor says. “In such a work, Ehikhamenor is contemporizing the past and giving it new meaning.”
Proctor first saw Egyptian Nubian artist Fathi Hassan’s work in Dubai nearly eight years ago, and has been a fan ever since. “The use of language in Hassan’s work is particularly powerful,” Proctor notes. “In each work that he creates, there are letters in the semblance of abstracted Arabic letters that are impossible to decipher… His mystical works transmit the past and the present through an enchanting conflagration of indecipherable words, symbols, and material.”
“One of the continent’s most in-demand artists, Chéri Samba is renowned for his paintings reflecting everyday life through a mix of fantasy and realism,” Proctor explains. “What I love about the artist’s work is his passionate desire to give a voice to pivotal social and political issues, including social inequality and corruption. Samba believes that art must make people think.”
Find these and other artworks over at Artnet Auctions’s Contemporary African Art sale, live for bidding now through November 21.