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15 African Artists on the Rise

The African contemporary art scene has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, fostering a cadre of established talents across the continent. With increased focus and the channelling of additional resources to cultivate African artists, new talents are emerging and expanding the field in remarkable ways. Sungi Mlengeya’s paintings show stark contrasts of dark figures against pristine white backgrounds; her work is characterized by this signature, minimalist black-and-white aesthetic. Gonçalo Mabunda is a self-taught artist who uses his artistic grit to decry war that ravaged his home country, Mozambique. He transforms old and abandoned weaponry into thrones, masks, and totems, then adorns his creations with kalashnikovs, rockets, guns, and bullets. Ayobola Kekere-Ekun is an academic and mixed-media artist whose work, often figurative and made from the paper technique known as “quilling,” shows an obsessive, experimental play with line and medium. Richard Atugonza is a rising artist who is carving out his own sculptural style with intention. Agnes Waruguru has developed a varied oeuvre, encompassing painting, textile works, installation, and more to explore her own personal identity.