Aboudia first drew international attention for his work chronicling the civil war that broke out in Abidjan in 2011. He has since become known for creating multi-layered, mixed-media paintings of Abidjan street scenes featuring child-like figures rendered in a style that draws from the aesthetics of graffiti and traditional African carvings and captures his subjects’ innocence as well as something much darker and chaotic. According to Aboudia, the laughter and tears of these children remain his driving force, and to provide concrete assistance to them and their mothers, he recently embarked on a new series of paintings, to be presented at ART X Lagos 2018, and set up the equity-based Aboudia Foundation, promising an ambitious programme of activities geared towards the social reintegration of the foundation’s beneficiaries.

Aboudia has held solo shows in New York, London and Barcelona, and his works are held in major international collections.

Akachukwu Chukwuemeka

Akachukwu Benjamin Chukwuemeka is a graduate of the Fine and Applied Art programme of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and has a postgraduate diploma in gender studies from the University of Abuja.

A painter as well as a poet, Chukwuemeka sees his work in both mediums — which often share common themes — as both a window into the endless world of the imagination and a frame to be contemplated in its own right. Chukwuemeka draws inspiration for his work from the deep beauty of the particulars of his immediate surroundings, including cloud formations, people rushing home from work, animals and birds of all kinds, and the spirits that monitor all activity, all of which he represents in his current project, entitled Forms from My Sky, for which he employs vat dye and acrylic on canvas.

Previous exhibitions include The Provenance, Lagos (2017) and Colori il vesuvio, Napoli (2016).

Alimi Adewale

Alimi Adewale is a painter and sculptor whose work explores various aspects of urbanisation, and the condition of everyday man within the context of this phenomenon. In richly textured “sculptural” portraits and landscapes, often rendered in oil on canvas or in mixed media involving photography and acrylic paint, he combines elements of minimalism and abstraction to evoke the movement, tensions and intensity inherent in the cosmopolitan environment. His nudes, meanwhile, probe the unacceptability of the idea of the nude figure in art, especially in African art, while his sculptures examine the experiential function of art in relation to the traditional function of African sculpture.

His recent solo exhibitions include Restrictions, Galleri Astley, Uttersberg, Sweden (2016); Divergence, Alara, Lagos, Nigeria (2015); and Megalopolis, Just Africa, Stockholm, Sweden (2015). He was the Artist in Residence at Konstepidemin, Sweden, in September/October 2016 and at Miliki, Lagos, in March/April 2017.

Amadou Sanogo

Amadou Sanogo is an alumnus of Bamako’s renowned Institut National des Arts Plastiques, where he acquired the academic grounding that would underpin his future analyses of the ethnic mores of his homeland. Sanogo often paints on unstretched repurposed fabric that he sources from his local market, thereby paying homage to his cultural roots and embedding them in his medium and subject matter. The fabric also allows him to emphasise the origin of his concerns, which include tradition and modernity, politics, journalism and the justice system, which he addresses by means of figurative abstract paintings based on a personally developed visual code.

Sanogo is a regular at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London and FIAC in Paris, having shown at both for three consecutive years (2013, 2014 and 2015). His recent solo shows include Fables, Kristin Hellegjerde, London (2016); and Amadou Sanogo à Bamako, Atelier Badialan, Bamako, (2017).

Angela Amami Isiuwe

Angela Amami Isiuwe is a minimalist painter who works mostly in watercolour, oil and acrylic paints and interprets her subjects in swift, essential, concise lines and forms that create three-dimensionality with balance and depth. The works to be presented by Bloom Art at ART X are a selection from Isiuwe’s ongoing homage to the female essence and form.

Isiuwe developed an interest in art at an early age and pursued this interest under formal guidance despite intense pressure from her parents to become a lawyer. She studied art and design at the Federal Polytechnic in Auchi, majoring in painting and graduating in 1992. She interned with the renowned artist Sam Ovraiti in Lagos in 1994 and has practiced as a full-time studio artist ever since.

Armand Boua

Armand Boua studied at the National School of Fine Arts and the Technical Centre of Applied Arts, both in Abidjan. His work addresses man’s inhumanity to man, and he is particularly known for his textured and layered depictions of the street kids that invariably result from the political struggles and attendant violence in West Africa. Boua builds his compositions by applying, scrubbing and stripping back layer after layer of tar and acrylic on found cardboard, leaving abstract forms that come in and out of focus and allow room for interpretation: are the children victims of exploitation, symbols of hope and innocence, of volatility, fading memory, or of all at once? And might these images contain echoes of the commonplace atrocities that pass for everyday life?

Boua has a busy international exhibition schedule, and his work is in the permanent collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Ayobola Kekere-Ekun

Ayobola Kekere-Ekun is a mixed-media artist whose work often examines subjects of gender, mythology, power and the human condition. The multi-layered results, which she creates through a labour-intensive process, are heavily informed by personal experiences and observations. She is particularly interested in exploring the subtle interplay of time, space, gender, power and social structures in contemporary society, and sees the intricacy of her work as a visual metaphor for the complexity of her subjects.

Kekere-Ekun holds a BA and an MA degree in visual arts from the University of Lagos, where she lectures in the Department of Creative Arts. She is also currently studying for a PhD in art and design at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She was the 2016 recipient of the Rele Art Foundation’s Young Contemporaries grant, and her recent group shows include Idanimo, Terra Kulture, Lagos (2017) and Her Story, Rele Gallery, Lagos (2017).

Boniface Maina

Boniface Maina is one of Kenya’s notable emerging artists. Working in a style that mixes surrealism with abstract expressionism, Maina creates drawings and acrylic paintings inspired by basic human reactions and his encounters with the everyday. He has also been known to address political issues; past works, for instance, have questioned the motives of wealthy nations that cosy up to their poorer counterparts, highlighted the oddities of foreign policy, and taken electorates to task for their tendency to hero-worship opportunistic politicians.

Maina studied art and design at the YMCA National Training Institute in Nairobi. He has participated in several group shows at home and abroad, such as Art Transposition, LKB/G, Hamburg, Germany (2017); and Young Guns, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya (2017). His solo exhibitions include Transitions, Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya (2017); and Line of Inquiry, Art Space, Nairobi, Kenya (2016).

Chike Obeagu

Chike Obeagu is a Nigerian artist and art lecturer. He obtained his Bachelor of Art and Master of Fine Art degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, graduating magna and summa cum laude respectively. Obeagu uses mixed media, painting, photography, installation art and poetry to comment on the social and political environment in Nigeria.

He is the recipient of several prizes and awards, including a shared 1st prize in the 2011 National Arts Competition, Nigeria, for a collaborative work with Uche Uzorka. His work is held in international collections, both public and private, and has featured in numerous exhibitions, including CREO, Abuja (2017); Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Taittinger Gallery, New York (2015); the Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); and Dak’Art, Senegal (2014). Obeagu is currently doing a PhD at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.

Collin Sekajugo

Collin Sekajugo, a self-taught Rwandan-Ugandan painter, is engaged in exploring the link between art and community in Africa. His work is often characterised by a tightly defined colour palette composed of painting, collage, photography and line drawing. A dedicated community activist, Sekajugo’s interest in the nexus of art and community has seen his involvement in numerous art conferences, workshops and residencies in Africa, Europe and North America, and led to his establishment of Ivuka Arts, the first art centre, studio space and gallery in Kigali, Rwanda, which grew to become a vital agent in the development of the Rwandan contemporary art scene.

His recent group shows include the Cape Town Art Fair (2018); Ubuntu, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town (2018); and Young Guns, Sulger-Buel Lovell, London (2018). Sekajugo’s work is in the public collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.