Graphics ,

African Art Since 1992: A Timeline of Momentous Events In and Around the Continent

(Click to enlarge.)

DESIGN BY JOHN YUN

The Dak’Art Biennial, the 13th edition of which opened in Senegal in May for a run into June, marked a momentous shift for African art when it debuted as a fully art-focused forum (following a previous incarnation as a literature festival) in 1992. In an era when biennials and fairs have widened the art world’s horizons around the globe, such events—with art and artists as well as curators, dealers, and collectors migrating beyond familiar points of view—have proven especially integral to increasing awareness of contemporary African art. Taking the first Dak’Art as a starting point, ARTnews tallied a select list of significant happenings—on the continent and elsewhere.

1992

– First Dak’Art Biennial (Dakar, Senegal)

– African artists included in Documenta for the first time (Kassel, Germany)

– “Out of Africa” from the Jean Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection at the Saatchi Collection (London, England)

1993

– “Fusion: West African Artists” at the Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy)

1994

– First Rencontres de Bamako biennial (Bamako, Mali)

1995

– First Johannesburg Biennale

– “Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa” at Whitechapel Gallery (London, England)

– Egypt wins Golden Lion for best pavilion at the Venice Biennale

1996

– “In/Sight: African Photographers, 1940 to Present” at the Guggenheim Museum (New York)

– Second Dak’Art Biennale, first with full focus on contemporary African art (Dakar, Senegal)

Meschac Gaba, Vanity, 1996, mixed-media installation, installation view at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, Netherland, 1997.

COURTESY THE ARTIST AND TANYA BONAKDAR GALLERY, NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES

1997

– Second and last Johannesburg Biennale

– Conceptual artist Meschac Gaba conceives Museum of Contemporary African Art (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

1999

– African Art in Venice Forum at the Venice Biennale

2001

– “The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994” at Museum Villa Stuck (Munich, Germany)

– “The Artist and the City: A Journey and an Exhibition” at Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)

– “Authentic/Eccentric – Conceptualism in African Art” offsite during the Venice Biennale

2002

– Okwui Enwezor becomes first African curator of Documenta

– Zoma Contemporary Art Center founded (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

2004

– “Africa Remix” at Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

– “Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora” at the Museum of African Art (New York)

– Foundation for Contemporary Art, Ghana established

Installation view of “Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography,” 2006, at the International Center of Photography, New York.

JOHN BERENS FOR ICP

2006

– “Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography” at the International Center of Photography (New York)

– First Triennial de Luanda in Angola

2007

– African Pavilion “Check List–Luanda Pop” staged at the Venice Biennale

– First South African art auction at Bonhams (London, England)

2008

– “Flow” at the Studio Museum in Harlem (New York)

– First Joburg Art Fair (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Installation view of “Flow,” 2008, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

ADAM REICH

2009

– Publication of Contemporary African Art Since 1980 by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu (Bologna, Italy)

– First “Africa Now” auction at Bonhams (London, England)

2010

– “Space: Currencies in Contemporary African Art” at Museum Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa)

– First LagosPhoto Festival (Lagos, Nigeria)

2013

– Angola wins Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale

– First Cape Town Art Fair

– First 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair (London, England)

2015

– Okwui Enwezor curates the Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy)

– First satellite edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair (New York)

Work by Ibrahim Mahama at the inaugural New York edition of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

©KATRINA SORRENTINO

2016

– First Art X Lagos fair (Lagos, Nigeria)

– First AKAA (“Also Known as Africa”) fair (Paris, France)

2017

– First standalone Nigeria Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

– Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opens (Cape Town, South Africa)

– First contemporary African art auction at Sotheby’s (London, England)

– Original International Congress for African Culture is restaged (Zimbabwe)

– First Lagos Biennial for Contemporary Art (Lagos, Nigeria)

2018

– First edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art in Africa (Marrakech, Morocco)

– Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden opens (Marrakech, Morocco)

A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of ARTnews on page 86.

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