By Nii B. Andrews.
It is heart warming that African artists who have made a momentous impact on the world stage have individually started establishing artist residencies on the continent.
This welcoming trend should provide an impetus for a younger generation of creatives.
Almost all of these spaces have been founded and sustained in societies where there is zero to decreasing state support for the arts – despite the rhetoric from the poliTRIKcians – and this is not restricted only to Africa.
The advantage of such institutions is that they can act as an incubator for innovative and visionary artistic projects by insulating them from the rigors of the art market and the often stifling orthodoxy of mainstream art organisations.
It is in these artist led spaces that young unheard of artists can have their first solo shows and produce groundbreaking work.
Accra, Dakar, Marrakech, Lagos, Nairobi and Tamale are currently some of the African cities where these projects are situated.
The founding artists and prime movers include Kehinde Wiley, Amoako Boafo, Ibrahim Mahama and Kaloki Nyami.
Speaking to Artnet News, the Ethiopian artist – Aïda Muluneh who launched Addis Ababa Foto Fest in 2010, said: I believe that for many of us, we are not waiting for our government to support the creative sector, it is something that we have to engage in ourselves—a path that is not always easy.”
The Kenyan artist, Kaloki Nyami, whose residency will focus on Kenyan artists, said, “My country needs these opportunities…I am hoping that this small change will one day become big and that we will have a vibrant art scene in Kenya, for a new generation to come and find a country that loves and supports the arts.”
Last month, artist Amoako Boafo launched his highly anticipated artist residency, foundation, and exhibition space in his native home of Accra, Ghana.
Named dot.ateliers; it is a dream he has wanted to realize for decades, bringing together his passion for community and creative expression.
“I know we are not here forever and there are quite a lot of things I want to achieve,” he said. “My game plan is to bring as many people through the door as possible and build something here that we can manage here. That means the residency, and our writers and curators that understand us and understand our work and can talk about our work in the ways we experience it.”
We wish all the artist led African art residencies based on our wonderful and unique continent resounding success.
They can surely count on our support at ARTcapital Ghana.