Summer ABroad – Annelies Paine

Hello friends of the SAB!  This year SAB members will be writing posts about their summer experiences.  We hope to bring you a taste of what it’s like to work in the art world and to explore local artists around the country and the world! Check in every weekend for new posts.


Adventures in Africa- Annelies Paine

This summer I am living in central Kenya, working at an environmental education program, so unlike many of the SAB members my internship is generally unrelated to art.  Nevertheless, Africa is filled with notable artists who are often less recognized in the United States so I thought I would share some of my favorites.

Tracey Rose is a South African performance artist whose work often revolves around the themes of gender issues, race differences, and sexual violence in South Africa.   She herself is half black and half white and much of her work is an examination of her own body.  One of her most famous photographs is The Kiss, which is a sensual self-portrait with her American art dealer and demonstrates how love can overcome cultural and racial differences.


The Kiss, Tracey Rose (photo courtesy of the Kopenhagen Art Institute)

Another one of my favorite African artists is Ibrahim el-Salahi from Sudan.  His organic and abstract work often incorporates Arabic influences.  Some of his paintings remind me of Picasso and others are clearly influenced by abstract expressionism.  El-Salahi has had solo exhibitions all over the world, most notably at the Tate Modern in London and at the MOMA in New York City.

An artist who is especially relevant to my job this summer is Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté because he often focuses on environmental issues throughout Africa, such as the expansion of the Sahel region. Konaté began his career as a graphic designer, but now creates large-scale textile and paint installations. I am hoping to incorporate some of his work into the environmental education program I am working on to demonstrate how art can be a powerful force for political and social change.

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Soul Denial,  Abdoulaye Konaté (photo courtesy of the BBC)