African Art Now: 50 Pioneers Defining African Art for the Twenty-First Century

Chronicle. Oct. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781797217208. $55. FINE ARTS
Bonsu, a British Ghanaian curator of international art at the Tate Modern in London, brilliantly encapsulates the essential works of 50 up-and-coming artists of African heritage (including Amoako Boafo, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Wangechi Muto, Cassi Namoda, and Toyin Ojih Odutola) in brief, illustrated biographical essays that also delve into critical themes. Bonsu’s introduction points out the lack of critical writing about contemporary African art, a gap he aims to fill with this book. He draws out core themes across the artists’ oeuvres—postcolonial dystopias, family portraits, future ecologies portrayals of shifting cultural identities, and reclamations of history—which the artists tease out in various media (painting, sculpture, collage, video, installations). The book also includes an interview with 27-year-old Maro Itoje, a British pro rugby player who is a passionate collector of African art.
VERDICT A beautiful volume and important addition to most libraries’ contemporary art collections.
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