We carefully researched and compiled women who are interested in the arts and concerned about the development of Africa’s cultural and creative sector. They invested in art, with their resources helping to strengthen the sector.

1. Catherine Muller

Catherine Muller is an international florist and floral designer whose specialty is to recreate what she sees in nature, using only fresh and finely-arranged elements to create a little jewel. Mother Nature, she claims, is diverse enough that no artifice is required. She established the Flower Schools in New York, Paris, and London. A graduate of the European Business School in Paris, Muller previously served as general manager of Thierry Muller SAS, the landscaping company she continues to involved with as chairwoman of the  supervisory board. Muller was President of France’s National Union of Landscape Companies between 2013 until 2019. The French Republic bestowed her the honorary title of Commander in the Order of Agricultural Merit (in French: Commandeur du Mérite Agricole).

2. Mathilde Moreau

Mathilde Moreau is a painter from Ivory Coast. She earned a DCSA (Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts) from Abidjan’s Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1986. From 1983 to 1994, she was a professor of Fine Arts at Abidjan’s Harris School of Modern, and from 1994 to 2006, she was a professor of painting at Abidjan’s Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts. Between 2003 and 2005, she worked as a researcher on Chinese traditional painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. She has been the Director of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Abidjan since 2006. She was a pioneer of the Vohou-Vohou movement, which began in the 1970s at Abidjan’s L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. The refusal to use expensive painting materials is known as Vohou-Vohou. Yusuf Bath, Kra N’Guessan, Théodore Koudougnon, and Mathilde Moreau were also forerunners.

3. Ann Birch

Ann Birch earned her M.A. from the University of Toronto in 1974. She was the Head of English in Toronto secondary schools for many years. She was named Teacher of the Year in 1996. She has given national and international conferences on the teaching of writing and has worked as an associate professor in the teacher-training programs at York University and the University of Toronto for many years. Her book, Essay Writing Made Easy (Pembroke), is a popular high-school and college text that received a western provinces award. Ann has had numerous articles, reviews, and essays published in major newspapers and magazines. She works as a freelance editor for corporate and personal manuscripts in a variety of genres. She also teaches writing classes, specializing in memoirs, fiction, and poetry. She also teaches writing workshops, focusing on memoirs, fiction, and poetry.

4. Uche Ekwunife

Uche Ekwunife is a Nigerian politician who serves in the 9th Nigerian Senate, representing the people of Anambra Central Senatorial District in Anambra State. She is widely regarded as one of the most active female senators in the Senate. In 1993, Uche graduated from the University of Calabar with a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting. She earned her MBA from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in 2002. She worked in banking and eventually advanced to the position of area manager. Uche is married to a businessman from the Nri community of Anaocha LGA and the union is blessed with children. Many consider Ekwunife to be a selfless woman who supports not only art exhibitions (she was recently the grand sponsor of the Anambra Fashion Expo 2022), but also the wellbeing of the society as a whole by providing basic necessities, business capital to entrepreneurs, and scholarships. Senator Ekwunife seeks to be re-elected into the Nigerian Senate under the People’s Democratic Party.

5. Mouna Jemal Siala

Mouna Jemal Siala is a female Tunisian and modern artist who was born in Paris in 1973. Her first verified exhibition was Art Connections: Arab Contemporary Artists in 2008 at Galerie El Marsa in La Marsa, and her most recent exhibition was Abu Dhabi Art 2022 in Abu Dhabi in 2022. Mouna Jemal Siala is best known for his exhibitions in France, but he has also had shows in Germany, Morocco, and other countries. Over the last 14 years, Jemal Siala has had at least one solo show and 15 group shows (for more information, see biography). Jemal Siala has also participated in one art fair and seven biennials. In 2017, the 57th Venice Biennale – Viva Arte Viva at La Biennale di Venezia in Venice was a notable exhibition. Other notable exhibitions included those at the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. Mouna Jemal Siala has shown alongside Halim Karabibene and Fatima Mazmouz.

6. Daphne Bitchatch

Daphne Bitchatch is an oil painter who loves the light, the fabric, and the ardor of the medium. Daphné Bitchatch sees no distinction between figurative and so-called abstract painting. Only the power of the colors, the energy and desire transcended by the present and lively gesture, the call of painting hollow out his canvases, tear the silence of the paper. Daphne Bitchatch’s paintings are the result of bodily impulses and gestures; her canvases or papers are painted on the ground and directly with the fingers, without the use of a brush. Her painting is a scream, revealing interior landscapes created at night; she throws it into a body-to-body relationship with the canvas, freezes it in the flash of the moment, and lets it happen in the appearance of colors. Daphné Bitchatch directs a work of artistic, political, and poetic creation in Mali, France, and Benin… A work in progress: painting, listening to the river, the path that travels, life, meetings… Since 1987, she has created paintings and installations in Holland, Germany, Benin, France, South Africa, Mali, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Russia, and Japan, for “the whole world,” as Edouard Glissant put it.

7. Edwige Aplogan

Edwige Aplogan is a Beninese artist who works and lives in Paris. Her first exhibition was in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in 1990. She has devoted herself entirely to the visual arts since 1994 (after practicing law for fifteen years), opening up a field of creation, reflection, and feelings. “Soften the rigidity of a society that sometimes forgets about the human being.” Resist.” She favors intimate views on women, music, literature, everyday life, or human relations at times and more sociopolitical subjects at other times, demonstrating a certain commitment “in the face of the world’s upheavals, glaring injustices, absurdities, and other inconsistencies we must contend with.” “This painting is also about re-creating more harmonious universes, stories of sublimated lives, the search for balance, another dream.”

The list does not stop here. Our newsletter will notify you when this page is updated as our research expands and more female patrons are discovered. Is a female African patron missing from the list? Please contact us to add her to our list.

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