Otinaho, Namibia – January 2017, © Stephan Gladieu

It's Africa's time! After the Goncourt Prize awarded to the Senegalese Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, here is the African art and design fair AKAA, or As known as Africa, which is taking place, for its 7th edition, in the Marais, in Paris. At the Carreau du Temple, this event presents the “best of” artists from the continent who are better and better known and increasingly popular. In other words: now is the time to invest in the continent.

FROM November 12 to 14, the square welcomes 40 galleries which present their visual artists, painters, sculptors, photographers, coming from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and, also, France, emerging and established. Prestigious art dealers like Didier Claes rub shoulders here with Angolan, South African, Senegalese, Ivorian, Belgian, English and even… “Maraisian” galleries, like Nil Gallery and 193 Gallery.

Here is the non-exhaustive selection from Marais Mood.

► October gallery (United Kingdom)

• Alexis Peskine
We discovered him in 2018 during a previous Akaa and we look forward to seeing again this uncompromising artist whose work pays tribute to African economic refugees forced to emigrate to Europe at the risk of their lives. Born in Paris to a Franco-Russian father and an Afro-Brazilian mother, this grandson of a Holocaust survivor, who graduated from Howard University in Washington, draws faces – carefully constructed – with nails.

The size of the nail heads and the depth of their relief give these portraits a magnetic feel where both suffering and resilience shine through. Alexis Peskine is also a videographer and photographer.

Alexis Peskine, AKAA 2018 ©Anaïs Costet

► Fisheye gallery (France)

• Delphine Diallo
Initially a video editor, graphic designer and specialist in special effects in the music industry in Paris, this Franco-Senegalese visual artist and photographer has lived in Brooklyn since 2008. A graduate of the Académie Charpentier, Delphine Diallo combines art and activism in through his photos and collages. She challenges norms through her point of view which combines anthropology, mythology, religion, science and even martial arts!

Soleita Ekonda Botolo, Delphine Diallo, 2015

► This is not a white cube gallery (Portugal)

• Alida Rodrigues
It is always a question of memory, identity and their manipulation throughout history, in the works of Alida Rodrigues. His latest series entitled “The Secret History of Plants” is made up of collages of botanical illustrations on business cards and old portrait cards popular at the turn of the 1900s. Crocuses, lilies, tulips, pineapples are juxtaposed on the face of the owner of the card.

Alida Rodrigues, 2020

School gallery / Olivier Castaing (France)

• Stephan Gladieue

Recently celebrated at the Arles photographic meetings (with a series on North Korea), photographer Stephan Gladieu continues to travel the world to construct a body of striking portraits that are as many paintings. After his extraordinary images of Namibian Hereros, Ethiopian Surmas and Congolese Maï-Maï, the former photojournalist for Figaro magazine and L'Express presents his astonishing project “Homo détritus”, dedicated to the scourge of pollution. A true work of a visual artist, his art takes on the appearance of a documentary augmented by a pictorial dimension which forces the viewer to think about the issues of our time.

HOMO DETRITUS, Untitled #21, Stephan Gladieu, 2020

► Magnin – A, (France)

• Chéri Samba
Everyone recognizes Chéri Samba's pencil line and her lively and contrasting chromatic palette. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the painter works on his canvases without prior sketching, with pure inspiration. He adds a text because, according to him, “the writing attracts the eye and allows us to better appreciate the work”. Often present in his paintings in the form of self-portraits, Chéri Samba addresses universal subjects: morals, sexuality, illness, social inequalities, corruption, etc.

The stimulants we know, Chéri Samba, 2018



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