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A close-up of a Kehinde Wiley portrait. Photo by Antoinette Isama.

15 African Artists You Need To See at The Armory Show 2018

These works of art are standout pieces that can't be missed this weekend.

New York City is currently buzzing with huge art fairs to explore like The Armory Show 2018.

Now open to the public through March 11, the massive fair is featuring 198 galleries from 31 countries, presenting artworks that range from historical masterpieces to the latest contemporary projects by established and emerging artists.

OkayAfrica attended the press preview to hunt down as many African artworks we could find—and we came across a plethora of standout pieces from artists hailing from the continent and the diaspora; old and new.

Take a look at 15 of them below. If you're planning on attending the fair this weekend, be sure to seek out and take in these masterpieces in the flesh.


1. ATHI PATRA RUGA | SOUTH AFRICA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

2. LINA IRIS VIKTOR | LIBERIA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

3. KEHINDE WILEY | NIGERIA/USA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

4. MARY SIBANDE | SOUTH AFRICA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

5. SEYDOU KEÏTA | MALI

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

6. YINKA SHONIBARE MBE | NIGERIA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

7. MELEKO MOKGOSI | BOTSWANA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

8. OMAR BA | SENEGAL

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

9. CINGA SAMSON | SOUTH AFRICA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

10. MANUEL MATHIEU | HAITI

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

11. ODILI DONALD ODITA | NIGERIA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

12. MISHECK MASAMVU | ZIMBABWE

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

13. IGSHAAN ADAMS | SOUTH AFRICA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

14. SORY SANLÉ | BURKINA FASO

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

15. JADÉ FADOJUTIMI | NIGERIA

Photo by Antoinette Isama.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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