African mural painting

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

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Mondays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • Tutor: Alinta Sara
  • Fees from £220 to £410
  • Imperial College Attendance Certificate (T&Cs apply)
  • Book from 15 August
Booking link

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

Online Access to Course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

This following programme may be subject to modification

Autumn Term

  • Week 1:  Representing Africa, Modernity and the contemporary
  • Week 2: Négritude and Natural Synthesis In the formation of modernism in West Africa
  • Week 3: Beyond Négritude and the École de Dakar
  • Week 4 Modernism in Sudan: Ibrahim El-Salahi
  • Week 5: Photography in Mali
  • Week 6: A Ghanaian artist El Anatsui
  • Week 7: Cheri Samba and Popular Painting in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Week 8: South African Artists in the Struggle against Apartheid
  • Week 9: South African artists after the Apartheid

*** Christmas break ***

Spring term

  • Week 10: Contemporary artists in North Africa
  • Week 11:  Gendering of Art
  • Week 12: Contemporary Art in Kenya
  • Week 13: Art Education: Ghana and Nigeria
  • Week 14: Contemporary Art in the Republic of Benin
  • Week 15: An overview of African architecture
  • Week 16: Contemporary photography
  • Week 17: An overview of African architecture
  • Week 18: Contemporary Arts of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Diaspora:
  • Week 19: Dialogues between Africa and its Diaspora I
  • Week 20: Dialogues between Africa and its Diaspora II

Additional Reading

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)

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.

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

Course Delivery

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.

Microsoft Teams

This course will use Teams as its online delivery method. Teams is easy to use. You will need to log into your existing Teams account or, alternatively, please create a free account hereNear the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a Teams web link that will allow you to access the course. All you need do is click on the course link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class. Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

All courses lasting two hours have a 10 minute break in the middle.  For one hour courses there is no break.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 40  20  £410    (Early Bird Rate: £370*)
£240    (Early Bird Rate: £220*) £320    (Early Bird Rate: £290*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October only  |   All fee rates quoted are for the whole 2-term course.


Rate 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 eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk 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 termSummer School
 40  20 19 Oct - 18 Dec 2020 (9 weeks)*  PLUS 11 Jan - 26 Mar 2021 (11 weeks) n/a n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 15 August

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate 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 after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Ms Alinta Sara, a.sara@imperial.ac.uk
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.