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The 5 best ranked contemporary African artists


The market of contemporary African art, still in full growth, has yet a relatively marginal weight according to the data provided by Artprice, and corresponds to 0.2% of the contemporary art auction market (150 million euros).


This still young market is experiencing a growing demand from Europeans and Americans but recently from African buyers too. Indeed, the economic growth, the emergence of a middle class and the globalization are positive and promising elements for access to this market. Interest in the continent is reflected in the proliferation of fairs and galleries in South Africa, Morocco and Nigeria.


This attractive market is now transparent thanks to the Afrika Art Market Report launched by Jean-Philippe Aka, an Ivorian art dealer and gallery owner based in Paris. This is an annual ranking available online each year in October, of the most prominent contemporary African artists.


To establish this ranking, the authors of the report selected 4 criteria:

  • the turnover at auctions of the year (25%),

  • the average price of a work on the first market (25%),

  • the number of exhibitions held in museums throughout the career of each artist (20%),

  • the number of exhibitions made in private galleries (20%) and

  • the level of recognition among art critics (10%).


1. Marlene Dumas, South Africa



Moonrise. Marlene Dumas & Edvard Munch Solo exhibition with works by Edvard Munch and René Daniëls Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway 28 September 2018 – 13 January 2019


2. William Kentridge, South Africa



Shadow Figure IV, 2016, Bronze Edition 8 100 x 70 x 60 cm


3. Julie Mehretu, Ethiopia



Sans titre Ink on paper Paper: 26 1/8 x 40 in. (66.4 x 101.6 cm) Frame: 32 3/8 x 46 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (82.2 x 117.5 x 3.8 cm)

4. Yinka Shonibare, Nigeria




WIND SCULPTURE (SG) I, 2018 Dimensions: 700 x 254 x 200cm Medium: Steel armature with hand painted fiberglass resin cast Photographer: Jason Wyche



5. El Anatsui, Ghana



El Anatsui (Ghana), Avocado Coconut Egg (ACE), 2016. Aluminium and copper wire, 260 x 270cm. photo Jonathan Greet