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Egyptian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1963, in Cairo.

Draughtswoman, embroiderer.

Ghada Amer grew up in Paris. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nice before travelling to the USA where she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She lives and works in both New York and Paris. In 2005 she was Artist in Residence at Kansas City Art Institute....

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

South African, 21st century, collective of mostly women.

Needlework, painting, printmaking, ceramics. Local histories and scenes.

Established in 2000 by Carol Hofmeyr, an artist and medical doctor, the Keiskamma Art Project is intended to provide income-generating opportunities to isiXhosa-speakers in Hamburg and the surrounding villages of Bodium and Ntilini in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, while also enabling participants to use representation to engage with issues of relevance to their communities. Although members sometimes work individually on small-scale embroideries, items in felt, beaded objects, small prints, or ceramics, the project is best known for large-scale works in needlework, which its members work on collectively and which are parodies of well-known art objects from the West....

Article

Togolese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 1950, in Pedakondji.

Painter, sculptor, engraver. Murals.

El Loko trained at first as a textile designer in Accra from 1965 to 1968, and then in graphic arts at Düsseldorf's Staatliche Kunstakademie alongside Beuys, Crummenauer and Heerich. He lived and worked in Duisburg in Germany and in Pedakondji in Togo....

Article

El Loko  

Christine Mullen Kreamer

(b Pedakondji, 1950).

Togolese painter, printmaker and sculptor, active in Germany. He trained as a textile designer in Accra and Tema, Ghana, before moving to Germany in the early 1970s. He studied fine arts at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie with Beuys, Crummenauer and Heerich. His work includes a number of linoleum cuts in which birds’ wings, claws and beaks are combined with masks, faces and other elements in striking compositions. More recent mixed-media paintings and prints juxtapose images and abstract shapes executed in earthen tones. In works on paper and wooden sculpture dating from the early 1990s, sand and earthen pigments are combined to create texture and a sense of movement and depth. Many of his works are abstract colour fields composed of striking red-orange, yellow ochre and slate blue tones that outline geometric forms and, at times, stylized faces of partial humans. Eyes, crown, conical human heads and projecting horns are familiar elements, as is a mottled surface pattern. These same qualities are repeated in wooden sculptures, some exploring curvilinear and geometric volumes of the human form, others creating more two-dimensional, openwork, geometric patterns in sculptures that resemble commemorative or totemic wooden posts. El Loko has had numerous one-man exhibitions, primarily in Germany, and group shows in Germany, Switzerland, England, Togo, Ghana and the USA....

Article

dele jegede

[ Prince Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyekale Osuntoki ]

(b Ibadan, May 1944; d Ibadan, June 16, 2011).

Nigerian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and textile designer. In 1964, while working as a dancer for a herbalist, he participated in the Mbari Mbayo Workshop in Oshogbo, producing drawings and prints. After Ulli Beier left Oshogbo, Twins Seven Seven switched to oils as a preferred medium. He drew illustrations for Amos Tutuola’s Palmwine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. In pen and ink drawings, etchings and paintings he created highly patterned representations of Yoruba life, populated by figures both natural and supernatural. A compulsive artist, Twins Seven Seven allowed his pieces to ‘unfold’ as they were created. His compositions are dense with overlapping figures, and every space of the pictorial plane is filled with some decorative or integral detail, as in his Baptist Church of Bush of Ghost (etching, 375 × 305 mm, c. 1969; Oxford, priv. col.). His paintings of the 1970s are covered with a luminous varnish, and it was during this time that he developed a layered style on plywood, a palette of earth tones sprinkled with bright greens and yellows, and a pictorial field in which figures are delineated in dark hues....

Article

Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b Tivaoune, 1935).

Senegalese painter, tapestry designer, and administrator. Along with Iba N’Diaye (1928–2008), he is considered a pioneer of Senegalese painting. After receiving a scholarship to study architecture in France, he studied painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and tapestry, ceramics, and graphic arts at the Centre Pedagogie Artistique, Sèvres. In 1959 he organized a fine arts exhibition at the Congress of Black Artists and Novelists in Rome. On his return to Dakar he held a variety of government posts with the Ministry of Culture, and in 1960 he founded the department Recherches des Arts Plastiques Negres, where he worked with Pierre Lods, founder of the Poto-Poto school of painting in Brazzaville, Congo, Democratic Republic of . In 1962 Tall held a solo exhibition at the Hotel Croix de Sud, Dakar. A Gobelin workshop was opened in his Dakar studio in 1964 and transferred to Thiès in 1965, where it became the Manufactures Senegalaise des Arts Decoratifs. In ...