African Art: Spotlight on Artist Groups, Part 2

African Art: Spotlight on Artist Groups, Part 2

Publié dans Art Market

Artists are usually sensitive to social changes that affect a city, a country or a continent. In that regard, they tend to look for other artists who share the same ideologies or political beliefs to form a collective whose action would be more important than that of one individual. Sometime they share the same passion like photographers of Afrapix, or the same constraint like marginalized artists of Autograph ABP who emerged during the burgeoning of African art initiatives in the 1980s.

Afrapix Collective

Afrapix was a photographers’ collective and agency founded by a small group of black and white photographers and political activists in 1982 in South Africa. The group played a seminal role in the development of social documentary photography in South Africa by encouraging its members to document popular uprising against apartheid in the 1980s. The various members of Afrapix redefined the role of the photographer by influencing underground political organizations that formed part of the resistance art movement. They believed in using their skills as photographers to initiate change within the country and their work became the flagship of what came to be known as struggle photography. Many of their images were of rallies of protests, instances of authority brutality, and impoverished areas. Afrapix members photographed their own projects and also conducted workshops in black communities that focused on photography and literacy through artwork. In 1991, the group dissolved but many of its members continued to work as documentary photographers including Santu Mofokeng, Omar Badsha, Lesley Lawson, Paul Weinberg, Cedric Nunn, Guy Tillim, and Eric Miller.

Aka Circle of Artists

The Aka Circle of Exhibiting Artists was established in 1986 by thirteen artists of different aesthetic approaches, media, and experience, as well as diverse ethnicity in Nigeria. The group name is inspired by the symbolism of the Igbo word for hand Aka. Led by the painter Obiora Udechukwu – a previous member of Nsukka Group, the collective provided a platform for annual exhibitions by its members, and started a trend that would be replicated across the country. Some members of the Aka Circle had parallel practices as art historians and writers, while others already had a national visibility like El Anatsui, Tayo Adenaike, and Chike Aniakor – all leading members of the Nsukka School. Their collegiality helped them to advance their professional interests and careers, and to assail the economic depression which swept through the country in the 1980s. That economic austerity encouraged foreign cultural institutions to provide monetary and logistic support to local artists, and facilitated international cultural exchange. The collective benefitted from its association with foreign cultural institutions which either hosted or partially fund its exhibitions until 2004.

Autograph ABP

Autograph ABP is a multicultural photography collective and agency founded in 1988 in United Kingdom to support photographers from racial minorities and confront the lack of visual representation of marginalized groups in British society. Originally called the Association of Black Photographers, the collective was established by a small group of multiracial photographers including Sunil Gupta, Monika Baker, Roshini Kempadoo, Armet Francis, and Rotimi Fani-Kayode. Today, the organization is more defined as an agency than a collective with the same mission of advocating the inclusion of historically marginalized photographic practices. Autograph ABP produce its own programme of exhibitions, events, and publication that support the emergence of photographers and artists from culturally diverse background. The organization collaborates with other artists, scholars, and art institutions locally and abroad with the aim of engaging audiences around the world. It also plays a role in the advocacy of human rights worldwide by hosting specific exhibitions on subjects related to cultural identity and race.


Publié dans Art Market  |  octobre 24, 2015