African mural painting

“Painting is one of the easiest ways to express myself because that is what I love.” – Chief Jimoh Buraimoh

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Mondays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 9 weeks: October to December
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Alinta Sara
  • Fees from £95
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus
  • Official Course Title: 'Understanding Art'

African art in Western art history has often been perceived as belonging to the realm of the past, and frequently described as 'traditional', or as 'folk art'. With this course we will try to break out of those clichés to discover the exciting history, and sheer diversity and vibrancy, of modern and contemporary art in Africa.

Of course, contemporary African art is difficult to define. There are 54 countries located on the continent, each with its own history, culture and traditions. Even within a single country there are also numerous artists, each with her or his own artistic agenda. To try and cope with the breadth of this topic in a short course, we will explore the world of modern and contemporary African art across the continent by adopting a thematic approach, each week taking a different strand of the rich tapestry of African artistic culture and history to explore.

Even so, with only nine sessions we will still only scratch the surface of what is going on in the art world in Africa. We will also try to understand the increasing impact of modern and contemporary African art and artists on the global stage, which might take us from the early example of a Nigerian artist, Oba Holloway, showing in a contemporary London art gallery in 1942, to the debut of the first pavillion by Ghana at the prestigious Venice Biennale arts festival in 2019.

The course is taught in an open and inclusive way, so your thoughts, experiences and opinions will be welcome as part of the discussion.

The class comprises 9 classroom sessions, all taught at Imperial College in South Kensington,.

The course is aimed at complete beginners, and no previous qualification or knowledge of art or art history is necessary.

Course Information

Course Programme

  • Week 1 What is modern and Contemporary Art in Africa?
  • Week 2 Négritude and Natural Synthesis In the formation of modernism in West Africa.
  • Week 3 Photography in Mali
  • Week 4 El Anatsui in Ghana
  • Week 5 Cheri Samba and Popular Painting in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Week 6 South African Artists in the Struggle Against Apartheid
  • Week 7 South African artists after the Apartheid 
  • Week 8 Ibrahim El-Salahi, Sudan
  • Week 9 Contemporary Artists in North Africa.

This programme may be subject to modification.

Additional Reading and Credit Information

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text, but if you would like to read more on the subject we suggest:

  • Kasfir, Sidney, Contemporary African Art (London; New York: Thames & Hudson, 1999)
  • Njami, Simon et al. Africa Remix (London: Hayward Gallery, 2005)
  • Enwenzor, O. and Okeke-Agulu, C, Contemporary African Art since 1980 (Bologna: Damiani, 2009)

No academic credits are available for this course. An attendance certificate is issued only to those who attend at least 80% of the taught sessions.

About Your Tutor

Photograph of Alinta SaraAlinta Sara is an art historian who studied at SOAS University of London. Her current research focuses in the cultural links between Africa and the Diaspora. Her current research is on the Afro-Brazilian architectural heritage in the Bight of Benin and reflects on the link between collect memory, space and architecture.

Alongside her research, Alinta works as a French language tutor at Imperial College as well as a freelance workshop producer with various organisations and galleries in London such as the October Gallery, Lon-Art, the Africa Centre, EEA.

She is also the co-founder of Bokantaj a collective, promoting dialogue between cultures through art.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
18  9  £178    (Early Bird rate: £162*) £104    (Early Bird rate: £95*)
£137    (Early Bird rate: £126*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of  30 September for courses starting in October   |   All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Fee Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends of the South London Botanical Institute
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the  before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 18  9 14 Oct - 12 Dec 2019 (9 weeks) n/a n/a

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August

Enrolment & payment are through the Imperial College eStore. Please use above booking link noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on this page and your applicable category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications will be sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms your payment, date of payment and order number
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment receipt and therefore does not show your course however these details are sent to us via the system
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of September. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows the programme your course is part of as well as the term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% (7) of the taught classroom sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the course tutor, Alinta Sara,