In the 1940’s, through the works of the African modernists, contemporary art on the continent was seen mostly as a sociological commentary on modern Africa and hardly considered as a serious, creative expression of its people. African art was primarily associated to ‚primitivism‘ and its influence on cubism and other forms of post impressionistic art.
In 1967, the Harmon Foundation, USA published a book called ‚Africa’s Contemporary Art and Artists‘; a descriptive compilation of artists living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Foundation had been collating visual information and collecting work by African artists since the 1920’s. This was the first time African art had been presented as a modern art form and not something tribal. The African modernists were finally recognized.