The TRUE Africa 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow. We’re featuring them over 100 days and we’ve asked them all three questions.
Bomi Odufunade is founder and director of Dash & Rallo, the first and only international art advisory specialising in contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. She advises on all aspects of establishing and building art collections, and provides art consulting services for private art collectors and corporations. She has previously worked at the Tate Modern and Haunch of Venison gallery in London; has been featured in the Financial Times and the Art Newspaper; and has moderated Salon talks on Africa at Art Basel.
Do you think there’s too much of an emphasis on artists from the diaspora?
If you mean now in 2015 then I would disagree with this. The landscape of an artist from Africa is very different from say post-independence Africa or even a decade ago when a number of artists chose to go west for work or visibility. The emphasis has switched back to the continent and its growing contemporary art scene due to the explosion of technology with the advent of the internet and the mobile phone revolution including aviation (you couldn’t even fly from Lagos to Marrakech over a decade ago).
If you add the significance of Angola winning the prestigious Golden Lion for the best national pavilion in Venice in 2013, dealers, curators and collectors are now actively championing artists on the continent looking at local scenes from cities such as Luanda, Kinshasa to Lagos, Addis Ababa and Maputo.
Are you seeing an emerging market of art buyers on the African continent?
There has always been art buyers on the continent who have been building collections in their own unique way but maybe not in the sheer volume of collectors in say, Europe, South America or the United States. Yes, there is no gang of mega-collectors like Eugenio López Alonso, Don and Mera Rubell or François Pinault. What you have are regional collectors who have been acquiring and building collections of modern or contemporary art over decades such as Nigerian prince Yemisi Shyllon and South African collector Bruce Campbell Smith.
There is a new generation adopting a more intra-continental dialogue in collecting.
With the now so-called ‘global’ art world, the spotlight has turned to new markets such as Africa and the emerging contemporary art scene. We are now seeing more collectors engaging in contemporary art. There is a new generation adopting a more intra-continental dialogue in collecting but also looking at artists working within the global diaspora.
Who’s your African of the year and why?
An artist on the pitch? The Nigerian footballer, Asisat Oshoala, recently named the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. Oshoala signed with Liverpool Ladies in January 2015, becoming the first African to feature in the Women’s Super League. She was the leading scorer at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 receiving both the Adidas Golden Boot and Golden Ball as well as ensuring Nigeria’s qualification for this summer’s World Cup in Canada.
Still only 20, she is not only proving herself to be a formidable talent on the pitch but also inspiring a generation of young Africans as both a female and a Muslim.
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