Tsehai Aarten


Ethiopian-Dutch founder Tsehai Aarten wants Afropolitan to become a bridge between Africa and the West, thereby challenging the status quo of the image forming of Africa and its diaspora through African art and heritage.


The present and future of contemporary art is more and more shaped by Black women. Black female gallerists, and the spaces that they are establishing, are contributing worldwide in meaningful and crucial ways to the art ecosystem during a time of heightened visibility for African artists. This is making an impact locally that bridges identities and leaves a legacy.


In Hilversum, Ethiopian-Dutch gallerist Tsehai Aarten, former immigration lawyer, opened her Afropolitan art space in the middle of the pandemic in November 2021 with a breathtaking group exhibition “Emergence” with upcoming artists Jonathan Zengwa, Lisa Mbumba, Emmanuel Gesalo, Jonathan Zatu and Arnold Oleko from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Working with African artists

The mission of Afropolitan Gallery is to work with and uplift the voices of African artists, who are historically marginalised or exploited by the art world. “As a black woman, I am truly excited to give a strong voice and real agency to the African artists. At the same time, for the artists whom I work with, it feels impactful to collaborate with a gallerist who can relate to them.”

Design, fashion, media and education

Besides supporting African artists, Tsehai wants the gallery to expand the notion of what is deemed conventional for a gallery setting. Art interacts constantly with design, fashion, media, and education and that will be reflected in the Afropolitan art space and the projects and collaborations we are aiming to establish in the future.