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Central Africa Art Market Review

In Central Africa, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo alone concentrate the private and public initiatives in the art field.
In Cameroon, socio-economist Marilyn Douala Bell and her late husband, the historian Didier Shaub, created Doual’art in 1991. A nonprofit organization, Doual’art aims to support contemporary art in Cameroon as well as Douala’s culture and urban identity through exhibitions, workshops and seminars. Since 2007, Doual’art has been organizing SUD: Salon Urbain de Douala, a triennial around art in public space. Other initiatives come from the artists. In 2013, Barthélémy Toguo created Bandjoun Station, a visual arts center and creative workshop located in Bandjoun, 200 km North of Douala.
The Democratic Republic of Congo was the breeding ground of several artists affiliated with the Kinshasa School, including Chéri Samba, Chéri Cherin and Moké. Like in Cameroon, the leading artists of DRC have launched various ventures to support their fellow artists. In 2008, photographer Sammy Baloji initiated the art biennale Rencontres Picha and supports the development of visual arts, music and literature locally. Since 2012, Ateliers Sahms, created by artist Bill Kouélany in Brazzaville, has offered exhibitions, seminars and artistic workshops.



by Lionel Manga

“On September 11th, 2014 in London, the Jack Bell gallery opened an exhibition by Boris Nzebo, a name to remember. Boris Nzebo is the latest newcomer on the visual art scene of Cameroon, home to the elusive Pascale Marthine Tayou. He had his first solo show in 2013, and the next stop for him will be Miami. The mischievous Boris Nzebo has some prestigious predecessors at home: Koko Komégné, Ahanda Jean Marie, Hervé Yamguen, Salifou Lindou, Joseph Francis Sumégné, Joël Mpah Dooh, Justine Gaga, Hako Hanson, Max Lyonga, Hervé Youmbi, Emile Youmbi & Co. Year after year, this group gets the growing attention of an array of buyers from various parts of the world. In fact, a few of these artists already manage to make a living out of their art.

Today, Cameroon is the home of less than fifty known collectors. Two venues are dedicated to art exhibitions, far away from the hustle and bustle: the MAM gallery, owned by Marème Malong, and Espace Doual’Art. They respond to the recent appetite for contemporary art through thick and thin, with an energy full of passion. Since 2007, the valiant “musketeer” Didier Schaub and his “lady love” Marylin Douala Bell have been organizing a triennial art festival, the Salon Urbain de Douala. As part of this green-red-yellow enthousiasm, Barthélémy Toguo has rooted his new art centre, the Badjoun Station, located in Cameroon Grasslands.»

Equatorial Guinea


Marc Stanes, Museum of Modern Art,
Equatorial Guinea

Marc Stanes is the Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Equatorial Guinea. He also separately curates and advises for individuals, galleries and corporations.
“At present we have over 100 artworks in the collection. We predominately collect works from across the continent or artists who have a historic link to Africa. On the whole, we are collecting young and emerging talents but not excluding historic pieces or older artists who have a direct influence on today’s creators. We exhibit and collect historic pieces (often carved items) as they continue to have both a contemporary and historic role in shaping and influencing young artists on the continent.The collection is about quality and stimulating interest.
The collection is only three years old, so we do not have an ongoing exhibitions program. We do however exhibit at various fairs and loan to other institutions in order to utilize the collection. Every time we have exhibited parts of the collection, the response and the interest have been extraordinary.

We have a strong association with Zimbabwean artist Richard Mudariki, but also Zemba Luzamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Placido Guimaraes from Equatorial Guinea.

In Africa, there has to be a dialogue between corporate collections and public institutions. Any art collection and its related exhibitions will help promote the African culture and awareness of the African artistic expression. Our museum is funded by corporate partners for public consumption.
Judging by the ongoing international awareness of institutions and collectors of contemporary (and historic) artistic expression of the African continent, and the emergence of art fairs showcasing this talent, I can only see a positive cultural future. There is already a trickle down effect with many young artists being able to support themselves through their expression and being able to access the international market, which is certainly taking notice.”
“There is already a trickle down effect with many young artists being able to support themselves through their expression and being able to access the international market, which is certainly taking notice.”
Mark Stanes
Edward Saidi Tingatinga, Life Struggle, 1969 © E. S. Tingatinga

Edward Saidi Tingatinga, Life Struggle, 1969 © E. S. Tingatinga