Five Female African Contemporary Artists You Should Know About

CASSI NAMODA MOZAMBIQUE Now living and working in Los Angeles, Cassi Namoda is a painter and performance artist from Maputo, Mozambique. Capturing scenes of every life, from mundane moments to life-changing events, Cassi explores the intricacies of social dynamics in her work, specifically within life in the African diaspora, as well as mixed cultural and racial identity. She is known to “capture scenes which have the appearance of film stills: fleeting snapshots within much larger narratives”. Follow Cassi Nomado on Instagram: @cas_amandaa and @cas_namoda. ZANDILE TSHABALALA SOUTH AFRICA Zandile Tshabalala is the first artist we featured on What We Cherish. In case you missed it, make sure to look through all the women we celebrate on our Instagram here. Zandile Tshabalala’s work in one word? Representation. Specifically, the representation of Black women. Zandile noticed a pattern: “The Black woman in historical paintings was usually placed in the background and starts to disappear almost as if she is not present, or is placed in compromising situations that reinforces the idea that the Black woman is inferior and should be marginalised…” Zandile challenges this, placing the Black female figure in powerful positions that allow her to be in control of her own body and the gaze that is exchanged between her and the viewer. Follow Zandile Tshabalala on Instagram: @zandiletshabalala_. ZOHRA OPOKU 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. KUDZANAI-VIOLET HWAMI ZIMBABWE 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. ZANELE MUHOLI SOUTH AFRICA 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.