The work of artist Lina Iris Viktor mesmerizes with a selective yet striking palette of black, blue, white, and her trademark, 24-karat gold. While the stark hues and the shimmer of gold are alluring, the relevance of her work to black womanhood, history and identity seduce even more.
Viktor blends together careful geometric patterns that demonstrate her sensibilities of mathematics, science, philosophy and her interest in the ancient Egyptian civilization. In some of her paintings Viktor covers her face so that only one, perfectly outlined eye is exposed, creating an image that calls to mind the Eye of Horus. In other paintings golden orbs and celestial patterns add elegance and drama. Her work, then, is rooted in the past but with a nod to a futuristic expressionism.
Her paintings are a multiverse in their own right. Most paintings show Viktor as the sole figure, standing before an ornate galaxy-like pattern. Viktor’s posing, usually accompanied with serene facial expression, tells us the reaches of black womanhood are infinite.
We feel it’s our duty to share at least 100 dope women who hail from the continent and the diaspora with you. Since we have the amazing privilege of calling brilliant African women our family, friends, mentors, idols and seestahs—it’s only right to present this amazing collective of Mavericks, Champions, Innovators, Pioneers and Innovators.
Compiling this list was no easy feat. We took into consideration recommendations from our ever-growing network and nominations from our audience to bring you a combination of bonafide leaders and up-and-comers who are game-changers in their respective fields.
Representation by country and social impact were also key factors, including how well these women use their resources to help other women. All of these individuals are beacons in their communities. All of these ladies are fearless, unapologetic and driven.
We gathered as African women who worked tirelessly on this list. After months of researching, learning, intense debating and listening, our hope is that you feel as empowered by and proud of the women profiled here as we do.
OkayAfrica’s 100 Women is for us, by us—and this is just the beginning. (OkayAfrica’s 100 Women).