Who is a contemporary artist?
The first thing you need to understand before reading further is the difference between a contemporary artist and a modern artist.
A contemporary artist is one who produces art from the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century( which starts from January 1, 2001, till this moment). A contemporary artist is aware of globalization, cultural varieties, and technological developments and innovations in their artworks.
Positioning Yourself As a Leading Contemporary Artist.
To be a contemporary artist all you have to do is paint, be a sculptor, produce creative works and the rest of that. But being a leading contemporary artist is way more than that.
Here, the focus is on how you can position yourself as a leading African International Contemporary Artist. So, consider the following in becoming a prominent African International contemporary artist:
Reflect African Identity in Your Artworks.
One of the easiest things for African contemporary artists to do is get carried away with the continuous representation of present events and technological advancements in their works.
To become a leading African International contemporary artist, you have to showcase your national and African history; let your works depict Africa, alienness, etc. When this is done properly, it makes you stand out from the crowd of contemporary artists.
As an African artist, you have the platform to correct the myth and adjustments that have been done to African history. Show the world; Africa for what it is not how we think it is.
An African International contemporary artist is hopeful that their works will travel borders and it is strongly believed that artworks represent Africa beyond the region they are expected to reach!
Promotion of African dignity through art.
This can be done by changing misconceptions and narratives that have widely spread by the colonial masters during colonization, imperialism, etc. Wangechi Mutu is one of many African international
contemporary artists who are highly respected for showcasing Africa in her real image and spreading the original stories of the continent through sculpture. Recently, this year, she was contacted by the Metropolitan Museum to produce sculptures that describe the real stories of African history.
This is in the attempt at different international museums to rewrite and adjust their collections on African history.
So, the world is changing and local and international museums are in search of African artists who can express through their arts who Africans are and their past history as against the little collections of Africa by non-Africans in their store which they have discovered do not truly tell the story of the African people.
You should attempt knowing about other forms of art; performance, sculpture, etc. Be flexible enough and let the fear you always feel in trying something new compel you to do something powerful. Don’t be afraid of fear but let it fuel your imagination.
Be open to transitioning: an example is Wangechi Mutu, a Kenyan artist and has lived and established her career in the United States for 20 years. She’s known basically for her painting, sculpture, performance, and film.
Emeka Ogboh is another African artist who is beating all odds internationally as an acclaimed artist with his audio-visual representation of the Lagos environment which is displayed in the best museums in the world.
Always Produce Works That Are Authentic And Represent You.
As simple as not being unique or having a trademark is one of those things that gets your work lost in the crowd of so many beautiful contemporary arts made every day in the world. Your works stand out by adding a touch of you; your background, experiences, and setting.
Most collectors would go for works that would still be relevant after the present era or dispensation. Growing from an emerging African artist to a leading international contemporary Artist out of Africa is more than painting or being a sculptor- you have to produce works that reflect you and your history in connection with the current age.
What other things do you think contributes to making your art stand out from the crowd. Kindly share it in the comment section.