American visual-arts magazine ARTnews recently caught up with Cameroonian collector and creative entrepreneur Diane Audrey Ngako to discuss her method of discovering emerging African artists and her passion for collecting art pieces.


Diane is the managing director of her Akwa- and Abidjan-based communications agency Omenkart and publishing house, Baköu. In addition to being a passionate supporter of contemporary art, Diane also acquires priceless works by artists like James Barnor, Amadou Sanogo, Malick Sidibe, Jean David Nkot, Joana Choumali and more under the name Voodart Collection.

According to the publication:

Thirty-year-old art collector and creative entrepreneur Diane Audrey Ngako got her start in arts media in Paris, working for the radio program Africa N°1, and writing for Roots MagazineLe Monde, and TV5 Monde Africa.

Ngako founded the Douala Art Fair in 2018 with the goal of fostering like-minded generation of African buyers to ensure the artwork being created on the continent is appreciated there too. It was no surprise then, that she was included in Forbes Afrique’s list of 30 young entrepreneurs under the age of 30 back in 2016.

Read excerpts from the interview below:


On her first purchase 

My first purchase was an original work bought during a garage sale in France. It was by a certain painter, a Mr Diallo, who had called it The Art of War. As soon as I laid eyes on it, I knew it was mine. That was in 2008 and I still have it with me. However, as the name is common in West Africa, I have never been able to find the full identity of the painter. The work cost me $3; I believe the owners just wanted to get rid of it.

On her recent purchase

Actually, I bought two works at the same time. A photograph from the “Reconnaissance” series by Angèle Etoundi Essamba, and a “Near” painting by Naïla Opiangah, a young Gabonese artist who lives between L.A. and Accra. I met her in 2016 when she was studying architecture and I am delighted to know that like her mentor Amoako Boafo, she brilliantly expresses her sensitivity through painting. I think she will have a great and beautiful career.

On the works or artists, she’s hoping to add to her collection this year

Among the artists I am interested in are Lunga Ntila, Ayanfe Olarinde, Moke, Omar Viktor Diop, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Mous Lamrabat, and Emo de Medeiros.

Read the full feature here


Photo Credit: @dianeaudreyngako