Africans Turn to Local Art: Five Artists to Watch

The Wall Street Journal | Patrick McGroarty:


Volume climbs at Johannesburg fair

Africa’s lawyers and other professionals are battling each other these days—not in court but at auction houses. That’s good news for the continent’s young artists, who are watching prices on their artwork rise.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby ‘Mama, Mummy and Mamma,’ 2014 | Last year, Ms. Akunyili Crosby won the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize. Mario Todeschini

Recently, Lagos attorney Femi Lijadu took Uganda-born lawyer Samallie Kiyingi on an art tour of the Nigerian city. Now practicing in London, Ms. Kiyingi serves on the Tate museum’s African Acquisitions Committee. At a Lagos auction several days later, the two lawyers faced off over a bronze by the Nigerian artist Tonie Okpe: Mr. Lijadu outbid Ms. Kiyingi for a piece that in the end cost him more than $2,000. “I guess Lagos lawyers get paid more than London lawyers,” Ms. Kiyingi quipped…


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