Tuesday 2 August 2011


AfricanColours: can it, will it, make an IP impact?

Afro Leo is grateful to Maxine Horn (Creative Barcode) for drawing his attention to an African initiative, AfricanColours, which he hadn't come across before. According to its website,
"AfricanColours is the premier internet space for the promotion of contemporary African art since 2000. With a central office in Nairobi, its work is supported by representatives in Africa, Europe & America.

Our Vision & Mission:

AfricanColours works towards a viable contemporary African art scene that is internationally recognised and technologically savvy. AfricanColours does so by connecting artists and engaging the art industry through leveraging technologies, offering cultural experiences in and creating value for contemporary visual arts in Africa”.

Our Core Values:

- Creativeness/Innovation
- Quality/accuracy
- Integrity/ impartiality
- Cultural diversity

Since the mid 1980s, interest in contemporary art with roots in post colonial Africa has been growing. Events such as the Dak’art Biennial of Contemporary African Art, collections such as the Pigozzi Collection of Contemporary African Art and the Africa Now exhibition of the World Bank bear witness to the growing interest. Initiatives such as the Arterial network, ‘Art Moves Africa’ and ‘Imagine Africa’ are contributing to strengthening awareness of African Art and support to African artists and creative industries as well as advocating for appropriate policies at national and international levels.But despite this focus, contemporary African art remains a niche market and much needs to be done to bring it to a wider audience, both at home and abroad.

Information on the much wider pool of African contemporary artists remains fragmented. Only a few, mainly Western-trained African artists have reached levels of international acclaim. Many thousands of artists remain on the continent with little opportunity for exhibiting their works and exchanging with other artists across the continent. Europe and North America remain the goal for many African artists to perfect their skills and gain recognition. The wide opportunity of sharing and learning across African countries and hence stimulating creativity on the continent is frequently neglected.

Many potential artists on the continent lack stimulation from an educational system that is not equipped enough to support creativity coupled with lack of institutions for professional growth and job opportunities in an underrepresented creative industries sector. 

To date AfricanColours has been able to raise the profile of over 300 African Artists in the continent and in the Diaspora".
AfricanColours' website does not explicitly mention intellectual property issues, but Afro-IP understands that it supported an IP Rights Workshop for Visual Artists in Harare, Zimbabwe, last month, under the aegis of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe.

If readers can add any comments concerning AfricanColours and its actual or potential role in sensitising artists to online and real-world IP issues, we'll be pleased to hear from you.



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3 August 2011 at 10:37 delete

It may be last month's news, but African Colours did report in an interesting article:


"Intellectual Property Rights Workshop for Visual Artists Launched.

By Stephen Garan'anga

The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust (CFoZT) in collaboration with African Regional Intellectual Property Rights Office (ARIPO) conducted a critical Intellectual Property Rights workshop for the Harare metropolitan Visual Arts sector at ARIPO in Harare on the 8th of July 2011." (Extract).