Out of Bounds: Women Artists from Africa

Introduction to the Exhibit

Women artists are blossoming all over Africa, but who would know? In Africa and around the world, African men get all the attention for their creative endeavors. With the multitude of roles women must assume in Africa – mother, housekeeper, cook, water carrier, economic contributor and often sole provider -- when does a woman have a chance to make her own artistic statement?

Against all odds, the women in this exhibition are succeeding as artists. In spite of the ingrained mores, they are raising their voices loud and clear for equality, freedom, women’s rights, AIDS prevention, cessation of female genital mutilation, free speech and other topics. This is not an exhibition of the victimized; it showcases a group of extremely strong women, illustrating their concerns on many topics.

It is with great pride and respect that I introduce these 20 talented, exciting artists from all over the continent. I have known one of them for over 35 years, since my own childhood sojourn in Nigeria; some of the others are well known to specialists in African art; many are making their U.S. museum debuts with this exhibition.

Mounting this exhibition has been a deeply moving journey. I present the artists, alphabetically by country.

Mimi Wolford
Founding Director
Mbari Institute for Contemporary African Art