Explore our curated selection of artworks by emerging and established
artists which reflect Black Figuration and African culture and society through the lens of
contemporary Black African artists.
Zimbabwean born, Cape Town based artist Kufa Makwavara
draws on traditional African culture in his paintings, whilst both Richie Madyira
and Shakes Tembani
create vivid portraits which celebrate the characters in their communities. Artist Zolani Siphungela's
works draws attention to the restrictions that are still placed on the lives of ethnic minorities in South Africa.
Black Figuration is a term used to describe a movement in art that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, in which Black artists began to depict Black figures and subjects in their work. This movement was a response to the lack of representation of Black people in mainstream art and the lack of representation of Black people in a positive light. Black Figuration artists sought to reclaim their own image and to challenge the stereotypes and negative representations of Black people that were prevalent in the art world. They used their art as a medium of expression to comment on social and political issues such as racism, colonialism, and cultural identity.
The art of Black Figuration is characterized by its use of bold colors, strong lines, and dynamic compositions. It often features Black figures in everyday scenes and activities, depicting the beauty and complexity of Black life. Many works also depict historical and cultural subjects, and the use of symbolism and metaphor is common.
Artists associated with Black Figuration include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Barkley L. Hendricks.