Even in stable times life can be hard for artists in West Africa. Not that art ever stops being made. Cities like Abidjan, Dakar in Senegal, and Bamako in Mali are saturated in it. Murals cover public walls and the sides of trucks and buses. Pottery, metalwork and weaving, in styles new and old, fill open-air markets. Portraits of jazzy beauties, Sufi saints and culture heroes (Che, Mandela, Obama, Madonna) are for sale everywhere. But the elements that in the West make a healthy contemporary scene -- galleries, museums, collectors, journals, critics and a steady, responsive audience -- are in short supply. And the degree of isolation of individual artists from others across the continent and from art developments worldwide is almost inconceivable to an urban Westerner who takes instant global communication for granted. Both despite and because of such isolation, local artist networks coalesce occasionally into tight and efficient collectives like Huit Facettes in Dakar, more often as loose affinity groups of fellow art students and friends. For a visitor, like this art critic on a monthlong trip in Africa, such groups can be difficult to find in cities that have nothing resembling art neighborhoods. But they're there. So are a few alternative spaces, conceived on a Western model, often with Western backing, like Raw Material Company in Dakar; Appartement 22 in Rabat, Morocco; and Zoma Contemporary Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Raw Material, run by Kuoho Koyo, a curator from Cameroon, encompasses a gallery, a library stocked with foreign catalogs and magazines, and a cafe-bar. It's more than just an urbane hangout. You could practically live there.
Artists Struggle in Africa - NYTimes
I don't often post from the NY Times, but this was a pretty decent article. Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso has a lively arts scene.