Five Female African Contemporary Artists You Should Know About

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Are you interested in exploring the diverse and powerful world of African contemporary art? Look no further than these five female artists who are pushing boundaries, challenging traditional representations of Black women, and exploring complex social and cultural issues through their work. From the vibrant oil paintings of Kudzanai-Violet Hwami to the explorative textile art of Zohra Opoku, these artists are making waves in the art world and sparking important conversations about identity, representation, and more. Discover the art of Zandile Tshabalala, Cassi Namoda, Zohra Opoku, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, and Zanele Muholi, and see why they are the five female artists you should know about in the world of contemporary art.

Father, mother and child in painting of Cassi Namoda
Father, mother and child in painting of Cassi Namoda

Exploring Cultural and Social Complexities: The Art of Cassi Namoda

Now based in Los Angeles,  Cassi Namoda is a renowned painter and performance artist from Mozambique, who captures the complexities of everyday life in her art. Her work explores social dynamics within the African diaspora and mixed cultural and racial identities. Using her unique style, Cassi creates fleeting snapshots within much larger narratives that appear like film stills.

Follow Cassi Nomado on Instagram: @cas_amandaa and @cas_namoda

Zandile Tshabalala’s Powerful Artwork on Black Women

Painting of reclining woman by Zandile Tsabasala
Painting of reclining woman by Zandile Tsabasala

Zandile Tshabalala is the first artist we featured on WhatWeCherish. In case you missed it, make sure to look through all the women we celebrate on our Instagram here.

Zandile Tshabalala is a South African artist who is known for her powerful and thought-provoking works of art that celebrate the representation of Black women. Her work challenges the historical marginalization of Black women in art by placing them in positions of power and control. Zandile’s art is a powerful reminder of the importance of representation in shaping our understanding of the world around us. Through her work, she is paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse art world that celebrates the voices and perspectives of all. If you are looking for an artist who celebrates diversity and representation in their work, look no further than Zandile Tshabalala.

Follow Zandile Tshabalala on Instagram: @zandiletshabalala_

Textile Art and Personal Identity: Zohra Opoku’s Exploration of Contemporary Ghana

Of Ghanaian and German descent, Zohra Opoku examines the political, historical, cultural and socio-economic influences on the formation of personal identities, particularly within the context of contemporary Ghana. Her explorative work and artistic practice centres around textiles and traditional African dress codes.

Follow Zohra Opoku on Instagram: @zohraopoku

Exploring Southern African Life: Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s Personal Oil Paintings

Born in Gutu, Zimbabwe, brought up in South Africa, and now living in the UK, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s “outrageous and tender” and vivid oil paintings — many self-portraits, many featuring her immediate or extended family — reveal a deeply personal vision of Southern African life and take us on a personal journey of self-discovery as she questions the Black body and its representation as well as sexuality, spirituality and gender.

Follow Kudzanai-Violet Hwami on Instagram: @mwana.wevhu 

Rewriting History Through Art: Zanele Muholi’s Powerful Visual Activism

Last but not least, an iconic artist from Africa we celebrate today, and always, is Zanele Muholi. A steadfast visual activist working in photography, video and installation, Zanele has set out to “re-write a Black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence…” Zanele is the co-founder of the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) and the founder of Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual (activist media) in South African townships.

Follow Zanele Muholi on Instagram: @muholizanele and @muholiprod