Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Afrikan Rejects Movement

Image: Afrikan Rejects | ID Cards by MONA

Recently, I went to the Cezanne Exhibition in London and was reminded on how the Modern Art Movement was created. At the time all important artists had to be accepted by "Le Salon" in Paris but Cezanne and his friends, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir et al were all rejected from "Le Salon". The artists were so angry about this they created a Movement called "Le Salon Rejects". With this in mind I have attempted to start a Movement called the "Afrikan Rejects". It was founded in Camden Market last Saturday by the artist, Mona and myself. I am presently in conversation with African artists worthy of rejection. I have written an article about this and would like to know what your thoughts are on this rather controversial matter.

These are truly exciting times to be an African artist.

Here is the article.

Afrikan Rejects

We live in a post 9/11 World and today we all exist within these unhealthy insane environments across the globe, which are full to the brim with paranoia. The established societies throughout the world are so nervous and frightened of rebellion that even a whiff is quashed before it has a chance to be fully realised. London is a city I love and I have found it to be a city full of infinite possibilities and it has become clear that for years now the establishment has been spoon-feeding us mediocre art in order to keep the public from realizing the true function of great art. Great art pushes the boundaries of what we consider art to be. It is organic and almost alive. Once we are given the opportunity to witness great art and the knowledge to understand it, things become heightened, our brains start to become a little sharper and our senses become more alive. Through great art we are able to see society clearly and begin to understand that those leading the world and those making choices on our behalf, have betrayed us and are merely profiteering puppeteers cloaked as powerful corporate banks and individuals; they have been masking us from the truth about the importance of art and how art, if presented and clearly understood, can move Nations. This artistic movement the "Afrikan Rejects" is going to set your imaginations to overload. We will then all begin to understand the reality of all things around us. Art is a freedom that we should cherish beyond all things. Great art is love and enlightenment so it should come as no surprise that the owners of art are the rich and the powerful. It is within their grasp to then drip-feed the society at will, mixing mediocrity with genius. Confusing the society with wordy intelligent critiques with perplexing and elitist terminology, often devoid of passion and writing in riddles.

The change in British Society can almost be dated, it was on the day the Sensation Exhibition was held in the Royal Academy and since then the world has been busy looking at work that is really painting by numbers. This British Art phenomenon has completely destroyed the purpose of art. It has turned artists into businessmen and the young in Britain into greedy opportunists. The artists within the Afrikan Rejects Movement take their craft so seriously, to ignore them, at this time in our history, would be very foolish. What I have observed over the past decade is that the talent from Africa is overwhelming and the different artistic techniques that are being presented are outstanding and tremendously exciting.

The origins of this Movement came about due to the impossible situations that the contemporary African artists have to endure. The reality of contemporary African art is that the established auction houses in New York, London and Paris have rejected so many exceptional artists. The artists have been rejected because they are not recognised in the western world. Presently, there are no private galleries exclusively dealing with contemporary African Art as those in the art world, understandably refuse to take such a high risk. This means that there is no place for Africans from Africa on the primary art market. They have nowhere to show their work and this excludes the artists from selling their work through the secondary market of a recognised auction house, which enables artists to become internationally registered. In many cases important African artists are not even registered as artists and the world is denied the knowledge of their work. They are never given an opportunity to exhibit in the west and the galleries from their respective countries are clearly off the international artistic map. The work is so important yet virtually impossible to sell at a reputable price, especially considering the time it takes to develop their ideas. The dealers and collectors are taking full advantage of this and are buying a Nations contemporary culture for a pittance. This is disgraceful and I think we all agree that the artists should be honoured and valued both internationally and by their Independent Nations. What is happening today is that there is a mass exodus of artists from the continent who are desperately trying to find recognition in the West but more importantly we should asked the question, why should the independent nations of Africa be so dependent on the acceptance of the Western world? This seems to fly in the face of what true independence means and begs the question, who is really controlling the contemporary African society? Is it the colonial countries of the West or Africa itself? It is vital that African Nations begin to shape their contemporary society and establish galleries and auction houses. This Movement has come about in order to kick start this cultural development.

The Afrikan Rejects Movement intelligently plays on the paranoia of the establishment and was started on 27th July 2008 in Camden Market by the artist, Mona and myself. The art that I have so passionately followed for 10 years has seen little if no movement in regards to the artistic value both financially and culturally its 50-60 year lifespan of post independent Africa but the work is some of the most important ever created. In the majority of the Continent of Africa each Nation has only a limited number of working artists. It is only a matter of time until these artists become the known and established within contemporary Africa. The question should be; how long can an artist be rejected in our paranoid society, especially in light of the fact that there are so few?

The Movement gives the world the gift of acceptable rejection in order to push, encourage and stretch the boundaries of art. It acts as an appreciation society for those misunderstood and ignored. It is intentionally designed to boost the morale of artists throughout a Continent. The Movement works on parallel lines with what art should truly be all about. Art is all about creativity, spontaneity and the ability to stretch the imagination to new and dizzy heights.

For those interested in this thought process of the Afrikan Rejects Movement please contact me through this blog or by email at

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