London’s must-see African exhibitions in 2022

London’s must-see African exhibitions in 2022

This year, the
British capital is brimming with displays from
talented African artists and designers


From the V&A's 'Africa Fashion': Alphadi, Catwalk Image, c.1992-3 / Image: © Alphadi

Victoria Beardwood

Victoria has worked on Selamta, Vera, WIZZ and easyJet Traveller, and written for the likes of Culture Trip and ABTA.

'Chasing Evil' collection, IAMISIGO, Kenya, AW20 / Image: Courtesy IAMISIGO / Maganga Mwagogo


Alchemy collection, Thebe Magugu, Johannesburg, AW21, Styling & Set Chloe Andrea Welgemoed, Model: Sio / Image: Tatenda Chidora

Africa Fashion, V&A

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting exhibitions opening this year, ‘Africa Fashion’ at the V&A (2 July-16 April 2023) is a celebration of the creativity and ingenuity of the continent’s fashion scene. It’s set to feature 45 designers from more than 20 countries and showcase some 250 items. Visitors will discover the influence that social and political movements have had on Africa’s fashions, and the sartorial impact they’ve had on the rest of the world.

V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL  

Cauleen Smith, Epistrophy, 2018, Multichannel video (colour, sound). Installation photograph, Cauleen Smith: Give It Or Leave It, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2020–21, © Cauleen Smith, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

In the Black Fantastic, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

This diverse exhibition is a great place to discover innovative contemporary artists from the African diaspora. Featuring pieces from the likes of painter Sedrick Chisom, Multimedia artist Cauleen Smith, visual artist Wangechi Mutu, and eight others, ‘In The Black Fantastic’ (29 June-18 September) explores sci-fi, spiritual tradition and myth, and Afrofuturism in imaginative and fantastical ways.

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX

William Kentridge, video still from Notes Towards a Model Opera, 2015.Three channel HD film / Image: Courtesy William Kentridge

William Kentridge, Royal Academy of Arts 

This autumn (24 September-11 December), the Royal Academy of Arts is hosting the biggest exhibition of renowned South African artist William Kentridge’s work. It will cover his 40-year career so far, starting with his early work produced during apartheid and continuing through to present day, showcasing some pieces that he’s created especially for the show. Visitors can take in – among myriad other pieces – Kentridge’s signature charcoal trees and flowers, huge tapestries, and his three-screen film Notes Towards a Model Opera.

Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye To Improvise a Mountain 2018 Private Collection / Image: © Courtesy of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Photo: Marcus Leith

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – Fly in League with the Night, Tate Britain

For anyone disappointed that this acclaimed British-Ghanaian artist’s 2020 exhibition was cut short by the pandemic, your chance to see it has come around again. Running from 24 November 2022 until 26 February 2023 and bringing together some 70 works, this is the biggest survey of Yiadom-Boakye’s career to date. Stare into the eyes of the fictitious people in her portraits, which she’s based on found photos or plucked from her imagination.

Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG