EXHIBITION – The young Ethiopian artist Ephrem Solomon (b.1983) first contacted Tiwani Contemporary in 2011, when the gallery was just opening in London’s Fitzrovia with the aim of promoting the work of contemporary artists from Africa and the diaspora.
But it is only now that Tiwani has decided to work with Ephrem and, according to Maria Varnava, gallery director, "there is a synergy between how he has progressed in the past two years and how the gallery has developed".
Ephrem Solomon: Untitled Life will be the artist's first London show and runs from February 21 to March 29 at 16 Little Portland Street.
Around 20-30 woodcuts and mixed media works are included, consisting in the main of anonymous portraits reflecting the ongoing tensions and upheaval in some regions of Africa. Prices range from £500 to £3500.
African contemporary art is still collected predominantly by people with a connection to or interest in Africa. But Maria, who although Greek Cypriot was brought up in Nigeria, hopes it will enter more into the mainstream of contemporary art collectors.
"Business is developing in a very dynamic positive way. Contemporary art from Africa is gaining a lot of attention as well as steady interest, both within the continent and outside the continent.
"A definite change is that art from Africa is now more frequently in the mainstream art news. Additionally, quite a few institutions are keen to add art from Africa to their respective remits. Every year seems more encouraging than the year before in terms of new collectors, supplementing an existing committed client base. There is more awareness and interest in art from Africa commercially but also across the art world in general."
The gallery will be making its fair debut at Art14 (February 28 to March 2).