African Art & Architecture
Africa's contemporary art scene is grabbing global attention as the fastest growing and most exciting market. Across the continent, young, talented local and international architects are transforming its landscape with cutting edge, innovative designs that are uniquely African.
Emerging artistsThe modern art scene in Africa is about moving away from outdated ideas and generating new perspectives, whilst sending strong messages of pride and identity. Africa has a growing list of exceptional artists whose aesthetic innovation is causing global waves. Using their creations to interpret and portray Africa’s socio-economic realities, political challenges, rich traditions and diverse beauty, these artists influence the evolution of contemporary art in Africa.
South Africa is leading the charge with artists ranging from the world-renowned to the new and emerging, showcasing a wide range of visual arts including paint, sculpture, print, photography and installations. Local artists we recommend include William Kentridge, Dylan Lewis, Lionel Smit, Beezy Bailey, Wim Botha, Deborah Bell, Angus Taylor, Zanele Muholi and Mary Sibande. Many foreign artists reside in South Africa, drawn to its relatively open and liberal attitudes, such as exiled Zimbabwean artist Kudzania Chiurai, a multimedia artist and activist.
Ethiopia has also emerged as one of the continent’s burgeoning hubs of contemporary art, with a host of art galleries in Addis Ababa showcasing such artists as Julie Mehretu, Elias Sime, Tadesse Mesfin and Dawit Abebe. Other African artists to watch out for are the Congo's Cheri Samba, Uganda's Maria Naita, Kenya's Wangechi Mutu, and Rwanda's Innocent Nkurunziza.
Contemporary art galleries and museumsFrom Addis Ababa to Cape Town, the contemporary art scene is exploding, with a slew of new and established art galleries and museums showcasing the best that the continent has to offer.
Curated African art toursWhether you are a serious art collector who wishes to purchase that one special piece to remember your trip by, or are just interested in learning more about Africa’s dynamic art scene, we can arrange bespoke tours to meet your taste in art. We have an inventory of specialist guides and art curators who can assist with special access to local artists’ studios, after-hours private tours of leading galleries and museums, and access to local art dealers and curators who can set up private meetings with local artists.
Shipwreck Lodge, Skeleton Coast, Namibia: Inspired by the survivors of the ill-fated ship Dunedin Star along the desolate and harsh Skeleton Coast landscape, the recreated wreckage fragments provide luxurious shelter against the relentless wind and searing sun, with the cabins spread out along the dune edge.
Bisate Lodge, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: Inspired by the iconic design of the King’s Palace at Nyanza, Bisate's luxurious spherical, thatched villas echo the thousands of hills that dot the Rwandan landscape, boasting sweeping views towards the nearby volcanoes.
Nay Palad Bird Nest, Segera Retreat, Laikipia, Kenya: Africa’s quirkiest safari accommodation is the Nay Palad Bird Nest. This double-level raised suite has been built with interwoven tree branches and a circular viewing platform offering spectacular 360-degree views over the surrounding plains of Laikipia.
Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana: Raised on stilts and with a wooden deck that weaves its way organically through the wild palms and gnarled fig trees, this lodge is designed in the distinctive form of the elusive pangolin, with its curved wooden rooftops inspired by nests of golden weaver birds.
Ellerman House, Cape Town, South Africa: Built in the 1920s for shipping magnate Sir John Ellerman, this elegant Sir Herbert Baker-style mansion has been restored to contemporary splendour. The boutique hotel is also home to one of the most valuable and extensive South African art collections.
The Highlands, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania: Combining cutting-edge design with an intimate setting within the lush forest that sprawls along the Olmoti Volcano, this luxury camp offers stylish canvas and glass domed suites that draw their inspiration from traditional Maasai bomas (villages).
Africa's art and architecture are as diverse as the continent itself, with subtle European influences on fresh African talent, resulting in unique art pieces to peruse and potentially collect, and magnificent structures to explore and admire.
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.