The Top 50 African Artists

Editor’s note: This article is an edited version of “Art of Africa: The 50 Best African Artists,” which first appeared in the London-based newspaper the Independent in December 2006. The artists were chosen by a panel of experts headed by Senegalese musician Baaba Maal.

The other panelists were writer and broadcaster Margaret Busby; Augustus Casely-Hayford, director of the Institute of International Visual Arts; theater producer Thelma Holt; Frances Harding, lecturer in African drama at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London; Gregory Maqoma, artistic director of the Vuyani Dance Theater in Johannesburg; and Keith Shiri, director of the U.K. film festival Africa at the Pictures. The list focused on living artists, though one of them (filmmaker Ousmane Sembene) died on June 9.

Mouse over or click on any star to learn more about the artists.

Reprinted from Developments, a quarterly magazine from the United Kingdom?s Department for International Development designed to increase awareness of development issues. Subscriptions: free (4 issues/yr.) from

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