Group of African American artists active in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Between the world wars Paris became a Mecca for a “lost generation” of Americans. Hundreds of artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world flocked to the French capital in search of a sense of community and freedom to be creative. For African Americans, the lure of Paris was enhanced by fear of and disgust with widespread racial discrimination experienced in the United States. They sought a more nurturing environment where their work would receive serious attention, as well as the chance to study many of the world’s greatest cultural achievements. France offered this along with an active black diasporal community with a growing sense of Pan-Africanism. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers thrived there, studying at the finest art academies, exhibiting at respected salons, winning awards, seeing choice art collections, mingling with people of diverse ethnic origins, dancing to jazz, and fervently discussing art, race, literature, philosophy, and politics. Although their individual experiences differed widely, they had much in common, including exposure to traditional European art, African art, modern art, and proto-Negritude ideas. As a result of their stay in Paris, all were affected artistically, socially, and politically in positive ways and most went on to have distinguished careers....
South African, 20th century, male.
Born 1906, in Somerset East, Eastern Cape; died 1982, in Port Shepstone, Natal (KwaZulu-Natal).
Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman, printmaker, Collage, installations, performance art.
Walter Whall Battiss was raised in the Orange Free State (Free State), where he was introduced to rock art by William Fowler. He worked in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Office (...
German multi-media installation and performance artist of Kenyan birth. Von Bonin is known for collaborative, richly associative and perplexing spaces full of artworks that suggest Alice-in-Wonderland narratives and evoke Claes Oldenburg’s playful relational strategies.
Von Bonin attained art world prominence soon after her first New York solo show in ...
South African, 20th–21st century, male.
Active in France.
Born 11 August 1962, in Johannesburg.
Printmaker, choreographer, performance artist. Identity politics.
Steven Cohen was the first South African artist under apartheid to create confrontational performance art engaging with sexual and cultural identity. He began his career in the 1980s, while conscripted into the South African army, when he went absent without leave and learnt how to screenprint at Cape Town’s Ruth Prowse School of Art....
(b Nairobi, 1958). Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in ...
Egyptian, 20th century, male.
Born 1940, in Cairo.
Painter, watercolourist, illustrator, decorative artist. Decorative motifs. Stage costumes and sets, designs for jewellery.
A pupil at the Académie Julian, the École des Arts Decoratifs and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Georges Doche went on to show his work in several public exhibitions and, in particular, at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in Paris, as well as at several private galleries in Geneva, Tokyo and London. He had a number of solo exhibitions, including in Paris (...
Cameroonian photographer and dancer, active in the Netherlands. Essamba moved to Paris at the age of nine and later studied philosophy at the Lyceum. After marrying and moving to Amsterdam, she studied photography at the Fotovaschool. She first exhibited at the Gallerie Art Collective, Amsterdam (...
South African, 20th–21st century, male.
Born May 1968 in Johannesburg.
Conceptual, installation, performance and video artist.
Influenced by his identity as a white Afrikaner growing up during apartheid, Kendell Geers’ artistic production reveals questions of a political, ethical, aesthetic and spiritual nature.
2002, Documenta 11...
South African installation, performance, and video artist and photographer. Geers is part of a generation of African artists who emerged during the global expansion of the art world in the 1990s. Born into a white working-class family, he studied fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from ...
Algerian, 20th – 21st century, male.
Active in Belgium from 1979, naturalised in 1990.
Born 22 April 1952, in Kabylia (Bejaïa).
Painter, illustrator, musician. Local scenes.
Born in the Kabylia region in Algeria, Boubeker was also a storyteller and singer. He paints the everyday life of shepherds, camel herders, women going about their work in the home and garden, creating compositions full of narrative detail with a feel of childlike poetry. Hamsi began exhibiting his paintings in ...