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African Female Artists You Should Know

A list of creative and female talents who have put Africa on the map

By Amy Saunders | May 24, 2018 | Category Art

We can never shower enough appreciation and celebration on the unique, talented African women contributing to the art industry. We have compiled a list of five African female artists that includes the iconic Zanele Muholi and Ruth Ossai, for you to watch out for this year.


Zanele Muholi

Celebrated South African artist and visual activist, Zanele Muholi, is famous for her photography, video and installation works which focus on black lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people. Muholi’s latest works include Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness) which feature self-portraits of alter egos. Her work has been exhibited at the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York in 2015, featured in London from July-October, 201and in Times Square, New York City, as digital billboards during the city’s autumn 2017 Performa Biennial festival.



Ruth Ossai

The Nigerian born photographer, now based in the UK, is famous for her photographic works that showcase traditional Nigerian backdrops and cast members as well as the short film and photo series she collaborated on with filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr. The film, called Gidi Gidi Bụ Ugwu Eze (‘Unity is Strength’), was made for fashion brand Kenzo and was based on Nigerian youth.



Cole Ndelu

Currently a content producer for Live Mag SA, Cole Ndelu is a local photographer who studied at Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography and hails from Durban Ndelu is best known for her image called Pride in the Panther after it was shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards and exhibited in Somerset House as well as being featured in Design Indaba 2018’s Emerging Creatives Class.



Justine Mahoney

Famous for her Southern Guild Exhibition featuring her bronze sculptures and Mighty Ndebele sculpture nominated for the Most Beautiful Object In South Africa Award at Design Indaba 2018,  artist Justine Mahoney creates collages and sculptures that tell stories about her upbringing in 1970s Johannesburg, South Africa. Her works explore darker difficult topics in a playful manner. Mahoney attended the Johannesburg School of Art, Ballet, Drama and Music, and achieved a National Diploma in Fine Art from the Technikon of Witwatersrand in 1991.



Karabo Poppy Moletsane

A visual illustrator and street artist currently trending for creating Marie Claire Sa’s June 2018 cover and designing the Millenial blanket in collaboration with Something Good Studio, Karabo Poppy Moletsane is definitely an artist to watch. Currently practicing her trade for Mother Tongue Creative House which she founded in Pretoria,  Moletsane studied a BA in Visual Communication and has been awarded and recognised for her vast range of street art and illustration projects.



Featured Image: Mercedes Alvares, Unsplash