African Paintings Website Brings Hope to African Artists

African painting artists go back hundreds, even thousands of years and despite strongly influencing Western Art, theirs is still largely a domain that is unknown and unrecognized in the world. Today, some fear that the preservation of contemporary African Art will be lost in history if it is not organized and collected. Thanks to the work of True African, this website is giving exposure to the largely undiscovered field of contemporary African paintings. And its African artists are greatly reaping from it, gaining new publicity, income, and hope.

True African owns and has over 425 quality, original contemporary African paintings for sale by some 75 African artists. It is owned and operated by Gathinja Yamokoski, an African artist herself who was born and raised in Kenya and has now lived in a suburb of New York City for 15 years. Being an artist herself, opening up an African art online gallery website was an easy decision for her. Gathinja says, "I have always loved art and have always shared it."

It was easy to collect the artwork in East Africa, Gathinja says. African artists in Kenya often work in networks in order to gain more business. They offer tips to each other of where to find work and who is looking for it. So when word got out that True African Art was looking to purchase paintings in Kenya, artists "swarmed to get in line."

To receive business from the country’s local art galleries is easy enough for the contemporary African artists. There it is often tweaked to the interest of tourists, such as wildlife animal paintings. And then there is the Black African art for sale that is more original and raw. True African Art features both kinds. But to find all these same works sourced anywhere outside of Africa, and at a good price, is not so easily found.

"Our artists choose True African because it is a new global medium for them. Furthermore, it does not exploit them, like so many other collectors who jack up the prices of paintings into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, when in fact they bought the painting for less than $100. We don't do that here. Instead, our motto is 'Loyal to Artists...Loyal to You.' To practice what we preach, we have a policy that if a client finds another painting online that is of lower price, the same artist, similar in size and style, then we will match that price plus give an additional 10% off that painting. This makes our guarantee that True African offers the lowest price anywhere on the Internet for African paintings. We are proud of this fact and so are our artists. To add to our art from Africa's value, we now also offer free worldwide shipping. This service applies to all the paintings on our online African art gallery.

On the subject of buying the Black art from the African artists, Gathinja says they often struggle with the cost and availability of painting materials. "So I had to give most of the artists featured on True African Art a deposit so they could afford new materials in order to paint their best," Gathinja says.

The African painters also struggle with scattered sales that are not consistent enough to sustain their families year round. Gathinja says, "When there was political violence in my country following the 2007 elections, tourists stopped visiting for a while and every aspect of Kenya was affected, including the Black African art economy."

Gathinja set up True African so that it will be able to sell paintings to such a consistency that the site can give repeat business back to its artists on a regular basis. "They need the income and we would love to be that source for them and their families. After all, the artists are our sisters and brothers in life. We need to reward their talents, not inhibit them."

But all is not lost to African artists, reminds Gathinja. "America and the rest of the world are slowly uncovering the value and bounty of this hidden gem, this African Art." And on its website she declares, "Here at True African, we are proud to be a pioneer in bringing contemporary African art to light in the United States and around the world."