A new exhibition that Manchester architectsLiverpool architectsCheshire architects and others around the UK might like to visit is “Les Initiés”. This exhibition brings together fourteen emblematic artists from Jean Pigozzi Collection of Contemporary African Art, presented as such in Paris for the first time.

In 1989 after visiting the “Magiciens de la Terre” exhibition, which came as a revelation to him, Jean Pigozzi called on André Magnin as adviser to put together a collection he sought to dedicate to artists living and working in sub-Saharan Africa. Their affinity in the progressive development of this tandem project presents a unique case. André Magnin travelled through the continent as a pathfinder who could not reply on existing way marks. He gave priority to meeting the artists, focusing on the originality of their approach and the relevance of their works. This collection of works emcompasses different media (paintings, sculptures, installation, photographs, graphic arts) and presents a sizeable corpus for each artist.

The artists selected by Jean Pigozzi are all heirs to spiritual, scientific and technical knowledge. They express a wide variety of concerns through common themes; the reuse of everyday objects in a different context (Calixte Dakpogan), the relationship with the supernatural embedded in African thinking (Seni Awa Camara), the bond with popular culture (Seydou Keita Moke Chérie Samba), the appropriation of knowledge to master the world (Frederic Bruly Bouabré).

Making a wider audience acquainted with these hitherto unknown artists was one of the founding aspects of this collection. The singularity of the works has made it possible to reveal one of the most fascinating sides of creativity in Africa between 1989 and 2009, the period in which the two protagonists worked together. It has revealed a scene now assured a fully international standing, and which today plays an influential role.