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The best exhibitions of African paintings around the world



For centuries, African art, with its deep cultural roots, iconic motifs and captivating stories, has stood out as a major source of inspiration and fascination. Among the different forms of art, African paintings hold a special place. They act as silent ambassadors of the vast continent, revealing stories of hope, struggle, joy and perseverance. These visual stories have found pride of place in many prestigious galleries and museums around the world. These establishments have become the guardians of this heritage, highlighting the unparalleled talent and richness of African art. For those who want to have a tangible part of this rich tradition in their home, offers an exquisite selection of African paintings .

1. The Dapper Museum in Paris, France

The Dapper Museum, a true institution in Paris since its creation in 1986, is a showcase dedicated to African art, whether traditional or contemporary. Upon entering this museum, the visitor is immediately transported into a world where each object tells a story. From detailed and elaborate masks, carved with unparalleled finesse, to modern African paintings , each piece in the museum is a celebration of the continent's art and culture. With particular attention paid to contemporary artists, the Dapper Museum regularly organizes temporary exhibitions. These events provide a unique platform for the voices of these artists to be heard, shared and enjoyed by an international audience.

2. The British Museum in London, United Kingdom

In the heart of London is one of the most iconic museums in the world: the British Museum. Home to countless treasures from different civilizations and eras, this museum is an ode to global history and culture. Within its vast rooms, a section is specially dedicated to African art. This room presents a mosaic of works, ranging from ancient sculptures to contemporary African paintings . These pieces, meticulously preserved and exhibited, bear witness to Africa's journey through time, from its first civilizations to its modern artistic movements. The British Museum, thanks to its reach and reputation, plays a vital role in highlighting and promoting the rich African artistic heritage to a wide international audience.


3. The National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, United States

Located in the heart of the American capital, the National Museum of African Art is a flagship of the Smithsonian Institution. Since its founding in 1979, it has strived to promote and celebrate the diverse art forms of the African continent. The interior of the museum is an invitation to a transcontinental journey, allowing visitors to delve into the depths of African cultures, histories and traditions.

One of the particularities of the National Museum of African Art is its exceptional collection of African paintings . These works, ranging from traditional painting on canvas to contemporary art installations, offer a comprehensive and enriching perspective on the evolution of African painting. Temporary exhibitions, focused on specific themes or artists, allow you to explore certain periods or artistic movements in greater depth. In addition, the museum regularly organizes workshops, conferences and educational programs, thus strengthening its commitment to the dissemination and education of African art.

4. The House of World Cultures in Berlin, Germany

Berlin, often considered the cultural crossroads of Europe, is home to the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt). This avant-garde establishment, with its unique architecture and eclectic programming, has the particularity of highlighting arts and cultures from the four corners of the globe. Since its creation in 1989, the Maison des Cultures du Monde has always given pride of place to African art, recognizing its richness and influence on the world artistic scene.

The main gallery has often been the scene of exhibitions dedicated to African paintings . These meticulously curated exhibitions bring together works by renowned artists as well as new, emerging talents. The public thus has the opportunity to discover current trends in African art while appreciating the heritage of previous generations. In parallel with these exhibitions, the Maison des Cultures du Monde also organizes seminars, discussions and workshops, creating a space for exchange and dialogue around African art and its impact on modern society.

5. The Contemporary Art Center of Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria, rich in its varied cultures and tumultuous history, has become a major player on the African art scene. The Lagos Contemporary Art Center, founded in 2007, is a reflection of this cultural effervescence. Located in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria's bustling metropolis, this center is dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary African art in all its forms.

By exploring the exhibition rooms of the Contemporary Art Center, visitors are immersed in a world of African paintings that is both modern and rooted in tradition. These works, created by local and international artists, engage in dialogues on themes such as identity, migration, geopolitics and urban challenges. Artistic residencies are also offered, allowing artists to collaborate, exchange and experiment with new techniques. These dynamic interactions continually enrich the center's collection, making it an essential destination for all lovers of African art.


6. The Al Maaden Museum of Contemporary African Art (MACAAL) in Marrakech, Morocco

Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Marrakech, MACAAL is one of the pioneering private initiatives dedicated to contemporary African art in Morocco. Since its inauguration in 2016, the museum has quickly established itself as a key platform for African art, both on the continent and internationally.

With a refined and modern architecture, the MACAAL proudly presents a vast collection of African paintings which feature both legends of African art and emerging voices. Each exhibition is carefully designed to deliver a cohesive narrative, encompassing themes that encapsulate the continent's concerns, dreams and hopes. Additionally, the museum places a strong emphasis on community engagement, regularly offering workshops, screenings, and educational programs designed to raise public awareness of the importance and diversity of African art.

7. The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare, Zimbabwe

At the heart of Zimbabwe lies an institution that for decades has strived to celebrate and preserve Africa's rich artistic heritage: The National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Founded in 1957, this gallery has become one of the most respected and recognized exhibition spaces on the continent, offering a balance between traditional artistic heritage and contemporary forms of expression.

Upon entering this iconic location, visitors are greeted by an impressive collection of African paintings . These works, which encompass varied styles and periods, tell profound stories of Zimbabwe's history, culture and society. The gallery, in collaboration with local and international artists, frequently organizes temporary exhibitions that explore current topics, while offering new and provocative perspectives. These exhibitions are complemented by a series of workshops, lectures and events that enrich public understanding and deepen appreciation of African art.


8. The National Art Museum of Bamako, Mali

Mali, with its historical and cultural wealth, is often considered one of the cradles of African civilization. Thus, it is not surprising that the capital, Bamako, is home to one of the most renowned museums dedicated to African art: The Bamako National Art Museum.

Created with the aim of promoting and preserving Malian artistic diversity, this museum presents a dazzling collection of African paintings that spans time, ranging from traditional paintings to contemporary works. The attention to detail, the variety of techniques and the authenticity of the themes covered make each painting a window into the soul of Mali. The museum also stands out for its educational initiatives, providing young artists with training programs and opportunities to develop their talent. By collaborating closely with the artistic community, the Bamako National Art Museum continues to be a beacon for African art, attracting visitors from around the world.


African art, with its deep nuances, rich detail and powerful visual storytelling, is a true celebration of the diversity and history of a continent. By exploring these prestigious places dedicated to showcasing African paintings , we quickly realize that art is much more than a simple expression; he is a witness of time, a voice that speaks of past, present and future generations.

Each gallery and museum cited is an open door to a part of this vast artistic universe. They remind us of the importance of preserving, studying and sharing the cultural wealth that Africa has to offer. These institutions do more than just exhibit works of art; they are centers of exchange, education and inspiration, where emerging artists can cross paths with established masters, and where the public can immerse themselves in captivating stories.

For those who cannot travel across the world to visit these iconic places, online platforms like offer a valuable opportunity to appreciate and acquire African paintings of great beauty, making of African art an experience accessible to all, regardless of location. Ultimately, every painting, every artist and every institution dedicated to African art plays a vital role in disseminating and celebrating this rich cultural heritage on a global scale.

You will also enjoy reading: The Depth of African Paintings: Connection, Heritage and Cultural Pride

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