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
  • 10 weeks: late July to September
  • 2 hours weekly online taught time
  • Tutor: Alinta Sara
  • Fees from £67 to £117
  • Official Course Title: 'Understanding Art'
  • Online course
Booking link

Whether you have studied African art, or general art history, before or not, if you are interested in some of the key aspects of African art history this course is for you.

Concentrating on modern and contemporary African art, this course will challenge the assumption made so often by art historians and gallery curators that Afrcian art belongs under the catergories of folk art or so-called 'tribal' art, or is somehow unchanging and traditional. 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 African 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.

The course is aimed at complete beginners, and no previous qualification or knowledge of art or art history is necessary. The course is taught in an open and inclusive way, so your thoughts, experiences and opinions will be welcome as part of the discussion.

This 10-week course offers one 2-hour online session each week (20 contact hours).

Class Format

Class is taught using Microsoft Teams. For each class we will look at a particular topic and discuss online (you will need to download Microsoft Teams for free and set up a free Microsoft Teams account). We will use a thematic approach to explore Modern and Contemporary African art. Your tutor will share with you images, videos and articles before the course. You do not need to have any previous experience of art history or history to enjoy and learn a great deal from this course, which is aimed at complete beginners and novices.

Equipment Required

To take part in this class you will need an internet connected computer or tablet, together with a Microsoft Teams Account. Microsoft Teams accounts are free, but you do need to register for one in advance using the same email address with which you enrol on this course. We recommend you also download the Microsoft Teams App.

It is possible to take this course "passively" without a microphone and/or web camera attached to your computer, but if you want to take part in class discussions you will need at least a microphone connected to your computer or tablet. Many computers, laptops and tablets already have these built in, but you might want to check on that first.


Course Information

Course Programme

Course programme (may be subject to minor modification)
  • Week 1: Contemporary Art Worlds in Africa
  • Week 2: Modernism in Sudan: Ibrahim El-Salahi
  • Week 3: Contemporary Artists in North Africa
  • Week 4: Gendering of Art
  • Week 5: Photography in Africa
  • Week 6: Contemporary Art in Kenya
  • Week 7: Art Education: Ghana and Nigeria
  • Week 8: Contemporary Art in the Republic of Benin
  • Week 9: Popular painting in Congo
  • Week 10: Dialogues between Africa and its Diaspora

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.

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
20  10  £117 £67 £90
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
  • NHS staff (other than Imperial NHS Trust staff)
  • 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
  • South London Botanical Institute Members
  • 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 these before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer term
 20  10 n/a n/a n/a w/c 27 Jul - w/c 28 Sept 2020 (10 weeks)

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 29 June

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

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% of the taught 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,