5 Women Igniting Contemporary African Art

Posted in Inside Scoop by Aimee Morris on 14th November 2017

Touria El Glaoui has been named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in Africa, and by New African as one of the most influential Africans in business. She is the Founding Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which takes place in London, New York and Marrakech every year. Touria has spoken widely on contemporary African art and women in leadership around the world. She was an ideal judge to have on our Rise Art Prize 2018 regional panel for the Middle East and Africa. Here are 3 things you didn’t know about Touria:


Photo (c) Victoria-Birkinshaw


What do you love about art?  

Art makes you feel it all. It’s like my pilates class, it makes me bend and stretch in all directions both physically and mentally, but once I’m done I feel anew.


Ed Cross Fine Art Gallery at 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London.

Photo © Katrina Sorrentino (Katrina Lillian)


Artwork that first blew your mind?  

Number one will always be the work of my artist father. Then the paintings and drawings that depict Moroccan life and culture by Matisse.


Les feux du Quadrige by Hassan El Glaoui


What’s your Favourite art ‘-ism’?

Feminism and Womanism. These movements have inspired, and continue to inspire, some badass work by female artists.


Sitor Senghor Gallery at 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London.

Photo © Katrina Sorrentino (Katrina Lillian)


Hopskipping from this badass pioneer of African art (who is just about to get stuck into the judging process), we bring you 4 female South African artists who have caught our eye over the course of the Rise Art submissions.


1. Lebohang nGanye

Photographer Lebohang Nganye is this year's Rise Art Prize Global Artist of the Year. The profound messages underlying her work, together with her fascinating multi-disciplinary practice, wowed our final judges. The artist explores the contradictions of family history through the concept of family photo albums. Key themes in Lebo's work are memory, fantasy and the role of the archive.


Ke ile ka tswela pele ka ho tereka a ntse a bua by Lebohang Kganye



Kirsten’s domestic scenes have an uncanny, slightly off-key, feel to them. Her deep colours and strong lines transform snapshots of ordinary domestic life into semi-sinister scenes. Not only is her subject matter striking, but her quirky paintings are also technically accomplished.


Pool Party by Kirsten Lilford


3. Michaela Rinaldi

Michaela paints abstracted figurative works that feature acidic colours and elongated figures. She works charcoal, ink, pastel and gold leaf into her paintings to create rich, layered imagery. Michaela’s intriguing pieces have a meditative quality to them that inspires contemplation.


Shadow Dancing by Michaela Rinaldi



Joanne paints women in misty, ethereal settings. The artist, who has a background in Sculpture, finds the curves and form of the female torso fascinating. But it’s not just the physical beauty of women Joanne aims to depict; she also tries to capture the shifting moods and challenges of being a woman.


Haute Couture 2 by Joanne McGilvray


5. Danielle Hewlett

Danielle paints expressive portraits that, rather than offer realistic depictions of her subjects, reimagine their energy in paint. She lives by Oscar Wilde’s saying, that ““no great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist”. Danielle’s unique style is alluring; she captures not just the outward appearance of her sitters, but also something closer to their interior state.


Contagonist by Danielle Hewlett


discover the rise art prize 2018 winners >>