Another Africa’s art exhibition picks this November around the globe. From Addis Ababa, to Cape Town, Lagos to London, New York, Paris and more contemporary Africana abounds.
Discover the discourse within the realm of contemporary Africana, the topics and intellectual spaces being interrogated by artists and curators actively widening the intellectual field and encouraging dialogue.
If you missed the September 2013 recommendations, check that edition for shows extending through November. Highlights include Ananias Léki Dago’s photographic exhibitition Afropolitain in Abidjan, and Martina Bacigalupo’s Gulu Real Art Studio, an installation of 90 Ugandan studio portraits on view at the Walther Project Space, New York and more…
Modern Art Museum / Gebre Kristos Desta Center | Addis Ababa: The Enigma of the ‘New’ and the ‘Modern’
~ Nov. 19
© Michael Tsegaye. Future Memories, 2011/2012. Portraits of recent changes to
neighbourhoods in Addis Ababa: a shifting cityscape. Courtesy of the artist.
In the last ten years, Addis Ababa has witnessed massive transformations in the area of development that has resulted in new social conditions. As part of the Goethe Institute’s ongoing program ‘Addis Ababa: The Changing of the Urban Landscape’, the Modern Art Museum / Gebre Kristos Desta Center presents Addis Ababa: The Enigma of the ‘New’ and the ‘Modern’. Curated by Dr. Elizabeth Wolde Giorgis the show features four artists : Michael Tesgaye, Berhanu Ashagre, Mihret Kebede and Mulugeta Gebrekidan. The exhibition looks at the urban development of Addis Ababa and its impact on the cultural identity of the inhabitants.
The New Church | Pop Goes the Revolution
~ Apr. 1 . 2014
© Stuart Bird, Rainbow Nation, 2011. Courtesy of the Goodman Gallery.
Pop Goes the Revolution harnesses artworks from The New Church collection that focus on notions of Pop art and its engagement with satire and irreverence. For the most part, it embraces a Pop language; sometimes it’s a Pop aesthetic, more often a Pop conceptualism. For seasoning, there is a sprinkling of works integral to a Pop curatorial strategy which have no inherent Pop reference to speak of. So, not every artist included in the exhibition is a Pop artist; in fact, very few are. The works selected do more than reflect our social landscape – they question it. Likewise the curatorial strategy is neither timid nor ordentlik. The intention is not to make gutter laughter and flights of tears academic or sterile in the retelling, whether in the positioning of artworks or in the compiling of text.
The New Church |102 New Church Street, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, 8001 | More info
Raw Material Company | WORD! WORD? WORD! Issa Samb and the Undecipherable Form
~ Jan. 4
This exhibition marks the launch of seminal Senegalese process based situationist artist Issa Samb’s (aka Joe Ouakam) first monograph published by Raw Material Company in collaboration with OCA, Office of Contemporary Art Norway. A selection of works focusing on Samb’s conceptual sculptures and paintings creates an installation that references his home studio in Dakar’s rue Jules Ferry. The display is a unique and exceptional system of presentation of Issa Samb’s works.
Mathaf | Arab Museum of Modern Art | Adel Abdessemed | L’âge d’or
~ Jan. 5
Adel Abdessemed, L’âge d’or, 2013. © Adel Abdessemed / ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Marc Domage.
L’age d’or is the first solo exhibition by Adel Abdessemed at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Curated by Pier Luigi Tazzi, it includes recent works, of which many where created especially for this show. Working across a wide range of media, Abdessemed transforms well-known materials and imagery into charged artistic declarations. Abdessemed has described himself as “an artist of acts,” and his works are known for their forceful impact and symbolic resonance. Taking materials into great consideration, he is often provocative in their use; camel bones, gold, salt, brass, gum, and terracotta take on new and multiple meanings. Abdellah Karroum, Mathaf’s Director writes “Adel Abdessemed’s L’âge d’or (The Golden Age) is a strong exhibition that opens itself to the violence of the world. The artwork continues to question the very foundation of art as a force of critique, with the artist inventing the material of his vocabulary, and it suggests a radical artistic response.”
Mathaf | Arab Museum of Modern Art | Ad Doha, Qatar, 2777 Doha | More info
AFiRIperFOMA Biennial | Mnemonic
Nov 8 ~ 22
© Bernard Akoi-Jackson. Courtesy of AFiRIperFOMA Biennial.
The inaugural AFiRIperFOMA Biennial celebrates the dynamism, vitality and tangibility of contemporary performance art in Africa. Organised under the title of Mnemonic, an aid to human memory, that is an allegory on the powerful multi dimensionality of the continent’s past and contemporary history. It brings together 35 leading artists from Africa and beyond; 15 art historians, writers and curators. Before the advent of colonialism in Africa, performance art was an integral part of African visual culture. Ancient African costumes and sculptures, especially masks, on display in museums, galleries and art institutions all over the world, were created for a performative purpose. 1st AFiRIperFOMA Biennial is bringing performance art back to its roots with workshops, exhibitions, symposiums and live performance.
Standard Bank Gallery | Justin Fiske | But Men Do Not See It : Kinetic works in the realm of astounding simplicity and wonder
~ Dec. 7
© Justin Fiske. Galaxy-91, 2007. Courtesy of the artist. Photo Michihiro Ota.
But Men Do Not See It: Kinetic works in the realm of astounding simplicity and wonder is new body of work by Cape Town based artist, Justin Fiske. Fiske weaves his fascination with mathematics, physics and mechanical principles together to create poetic kinetic sculptures. Intended to evoke curiosity, his installations made from wood, string and pebbles, encourage views to interrogate the complexities of motion and the mechanics which make this visible whilst paying tribute to the old analogue world and the machine age.
Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos | Kelani Abass |Àsìkò: Evoking Personal Narratives and Collective History
~ Dec. 21
© Kelani Abass, Olori Nlado, from the “Calendar” series, 2013. Courtesy the CCA, Lagos.
Àsìkò: Evoking Personal Narratives and Collective History the third solo exhibition by Kelani Abass at CCA Lagos. It is a critical and artistic milestone that has accumulated over the past four years through a search for a personal visual language borne out of lived experiences. Abass in this body of new works explores the possibilities inherent in painting, photography and printing, strategies already suggested in his 2009 solo exhibition Man and Machine. He highlights personal stories against the background of social and political events built around three interrelated bodies of work which also engage time and memory. As with many painters, Kelani uses photography as a preparatory tool for his work however very few artists in Nigeria have placed it on the same level given the reinforced hierarchical barriers between the “art” of painting and mechanical procedure of photography. Could the breaking down of these barriers, which is evidenced in this body of work, signal a new departure in the relationship between painting and photography in Nigeria?
LagosPhoto | International Art Festival of Photography in Nigeria
~ Nov. 16
© Patrick Willocq, On the Road From Bikoro to Bokonda. Courtesy of the artist.
LagosPhoto 2013 is thematically organised around ‘The Megacity and the Non-City,‘ an exploration on how the development of urban centers in Africa and the technical advances within photography have transformed our sense of place in a globally connected world. The twenty-first century has been characterised by the rise of the megacity, with cities such as Lagos transitioning and adapting to vast changes taking place at an unprecedented speed. Urban development, population explosion, environmental changes, socio-economic gaps, and the rising middle class in metropolitan centers in Africa redefine the structure of the city as it continuously evolves. At the same time, the digital revolution transforms the spatial perimeters of an individual’s immediate environment, tied to the virtual connectivity between places through expanded technologies. This concept of the “non-city” is defined by displacement, fantasy, and an unstable sense of identity, where individuals reference multifarious cross-sections of cultures. The artists presented in The Megacity and the Non-City adopt photographic practices and image-based strategies to negotiate the expanding urban landscape of Africa today, with its contradictions, grey areas, and sites of dispute. By situating photography at the core of their practice, these artists investigate the circulation of images in our society, their mass consumption and capacity to document personal and collective world-views.
Museum Folkwang at the Federal Government Press | Voyage Retour
Nov. 17 ~ Dec. 1
© J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere. WNTV Community Viewing Centre, Ejigbo, 1962. Courtesy of the artist and Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Voyage Retour, a new exhibition and the first to be staged by the Museum Folkwang in a country lying south of the Sahara. Lagos will host a show presenting pictures by the internationally renowned Nigerian photographer J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, alongside works by Rolf Gillhausen, Germaine Krull, Robert Lebeck, Malick Sidibé and Wolfgang Weber drawn from the Museum Folkwang’s collection. The exhibition tour is an integral part of the curatorial concept, which focuses on the perspectival shifts and exchanges that took place between Africa and Europe, as manifested in the medium of photography, from the 1920s up until the period of decolonisation and the transition to independence. Voyage Retour brings together images by European and African photographers that bear the marks of the various sociopolitical conditions that channelled their expression.
Voyage Retour is presented by the Photography Department of the Museum Folkwang, Essen, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, Lagos, Nigeria.
Event | Crossing Archives
Dec. 1 | 10:00 – 18:00
One-day conference and international panel discussing overarching questions relating to the perspective, function and significance of photographic archives for society and artistic practice.
Location | Goethe-Institute, City Hall, Lagos Island, Lagos, Nigeria
Federal Government Press | Broad Street, Lagos, Lagos Island, Nigeria | more info
Camden Arts Centre | Kara Walker
~ Jan. 5. 2014
© Kara Walker, Installation view at Camden Arts Centre, 2013 – 2014. Courtesy of Camden Arts Centre. Photo: Marcus J Leith.
Renouncing the sensitivity that often shrouds the subject, Kara Walker’s work critically and unapologetically interrogates underlying racial and gender tensions. Through characters drawn from American popular literature, culture and history, she exposes the myths that lie beneath cultural archetypes and the darker aspects of human behaviour. Walker’s new work reflects her current research into the White Supremacist movement and gun culture in the US. Peopled with subjects from both past and contemporary history, the work weaves together historical documents of slavery with more recent racial issues.
Upcoming Events include
Nov. 20 | 19:00 – 20:30 | Panel Discussion : Reinventing Identity and the Historical Narrative
Nov. 27 | 19:00 – 20:30 | Exhibition Talk : Paul Goodwin
Jan. 5 | 15:00 – 16:00 | Exhibition Talk | Jenni Lomax
Stephen Friedman Gallery | Kehinde Wiley | The World Stage : Jamaica
~ Nov. 16
© Kehinde Wiley, ‘Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness’, 2013. Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery.
The World Stage : Jamaica is artist Kehinde Wiley’s first UK solo exhibition features Jamaican men and women assuming poses taken from 17th and 18th Century British portraiture. Wiley has achieved international recognition for his highly naturalistic paintings of contemporary urban men adopting heroic poses directly referencing classic portraiture. In this latest body of work, Wiley juxtaposes the sitter and the art historical references to reflect on the relationship between the island and the former colonial power.
Stephen Friedman Gallery | 25-28 Old Burlington Street, London W1S 3AN United Kingdom | More info
Tate Modern | BMW Tate Live: Experience as Institution – Part 1: Artist collectives and cultural platforms in Africa
Nov. 29 | 10.00 – 18.00
Plehanov 7, les cendres de Pierre Lods, 19 January 1990, Théâtre de Verdure du Centre Culturel, Dakar.
Reproduced with kind permission of the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Collection Axt/Sy.
Could an art experience be considered an institution? What is the legacy of an experience which deliberately refuses conventions on art project making to engage with a more critical social dialogue? This symposium uses Dakar’s Laboratoire Agit-Art’s modus operandi, and particularly its uses of performance, as case study to reflect on the current presence of cultural platforms and artist collectives in Africa, which uses disciplines such as performance, visual art, music and art in the public space seeking to engage with socio-political concerns affecting their immediate environmen
Speakers Elizabeth Harney and Souleymane Bachir Diagne explore Senegalese modernism and Negritude as a philosophical term and as a national cultural policy; Clementine Deliss is in conversation with the artist El Hadji Sy about his role in Laboratoire Agit Art, TENQ and Huit-Facettes, all collectives formations he co-founded in Senegal in the past decades. In the afternoon session introduced by Tate Modern Curator Elvira Dyangani Ose, Jan Goossens discusses the trans-disciplinary collaborations of Connexion Kin, a Kinshasa-based performing arts festival organized by the KVS. Lastly, Neo Muyanga introduces the platforms Pan-African Space Station and Chimurenga in a music-lecture.
Tate Modern | Bankside, London SE1 9TG | more info
Tiwani Contemporary | Njideka Akunyili & Simone Leigh | I Always Face You, Even When it Seems Otherwise
~ Dec. 14
© Njideka Akunyili, The Beautiful Ones, 2012. Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary.
I Always Face You, Even When it Seems Otherwise, an exhibition featuring the works of US based Nigerian artist Njideka Akinyuli and American artist Simone Leigh presents new works in painting, ceramic and sculptural installation. The pieces further their respective explorations and engagement with disparate, yet overlapping ideas including contact zone, language and lived experiences, as well as in the process and materiality. Akinyuli shows new large-scale paintings depicting children, focusing on the sartorial aspect of portraiture to highlight the way in which a person is presented and viewed through their choice of dressing. Whilst in Leigh’s oeuvre she presents new ceramic installations that emphasis her interest in collapsing the boundaries between ‘high’ art and craft.
Perry Rubenstein Gallery | Candice Breitz | The Woods
~ Dec. 14
© Candice Breitz, Stills from The Rehearsal, 2012. From the trilogy The Woods. Six-channel installation.
Commissioned by ACMI (Melbourne) + PEM (Salem). Courtesy Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles
The Woods marks Candice Breitz’s first exhibition with Perry Rubenstein Gallery, as well as the American premiere of her recent video trilogy The Woods (2012). Consisting of three multi-channel video installations, The Woods zooms in on child performers and the performance of childhood to probe the aspirations and promises embedded in mainstream cinema. Consistent with Breitz’s interest in the role that mimicry plays in the forging of selfhood, and with her ongoing analysis of the circular relationship between real life and reel life, The Woods traverses three continents to explore the rituals and conventions governing the on-camera and off-camera personae of professional actors working in Hollywood (Los Angeles), Bollywood (Mumbai) and Nollywood (Lagos) respectively. Engaging actors and crews whose creative labor would ordinarily be subsumed into these three giant popular cinema industries, the three chapters of The Woods bring a behind-the-scenes eye to industries that typically prefer to mask their inner workings. As suggested by their titles—The Audition, The Rehearsal and The Interview—in each of the three installations that constitute the trilogy, a particular show business ritual becomes the locus of meaning through which to more broadly reflect upon and decode the myth-making machinery of mainstream cinema.
Walker Art Center| 9 Artists
~ Feb 16
© Nástio Mosquito. My African Mind 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Bocadafora, Barcelona.
This international, multigenerational group exhibition considers the changing role of the artist in contemporary culture. Bringing together the expansive practices of some of the most provocative and engaged artists working today—Yael Bartana, Liam Gillick, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Renzo Martens, Bjarne Melgaard, Nástio Mosquito, Hito Steyerl, and Danh Vo—the show examines ways that they negotiate the complicities and contradictions of living in an ever more complex and networked world. Rarely considered together, they each use their own backgrounds or identities as material, frequently in antagonistic or subversive ways. Featuring some 40 works, both past and new, 9 Artists includes a range of sculpture, painting, installation, video, and ephemera.
Jack Shainman Gallery | Odili Donald Odita | This That and the Other
~ Nov 16
© Odili Donald Odita, Plane Shifter, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.
This, That, and the Other, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Odili Donald Odita. A color does not exist without its other. These paintings are about the freedom of consideration—the freedom of thought and of considering difference in space and in time. ”My desire in painting is to state the existence of other realities; of other ways and modes of action in life. This seems like a natural and acceptable desire to have, yet with investigation, it is quite clear that in the world we live, this has yet to be achieved. We do need to come together, look deeper and move beyond local taste and judgment to open ourselves up to greater possibility and potential within the world we live. I want to speak directly to the idea of the ‘Other’ as a social body within a postmodern and postcolonial reality. In considering notions of the Other, I want to look at aspects of fragmentation and of existence without any specific center or of centers defined within specific contexts.” – Odili Donald Odita.
Jack Shainman Gallery | 513 West 20th Street, New York | More info
Brooklyn Museum | Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey
~ Mar. 9. 2014
© Wangechi Mutu, Le Noble Savage, 2006. Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, Scarsdale, New York. Image courtesy of the artist.
Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey is the first survey in the United States of this internationally renowned, Brooklyn-based artist. Spanning from the mid-1990s to the present, the exhibition unites more than fifty pieces, including Mutu’s signature large-scale collages as well as video works, never-before-seen sketchbook drawings, a site-specific wall drawing, and sculptural installations. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Mutu scrutinizes globalization by combining found materials, magazine cutouts, sculpture, and painted imagery. Sampling such diverse sources as African traditions, international politics, the fashion industry, pornography, and science fiction, her work explores gender, race, war, colonialism, global consumption, and the exoticization of the black female body. Mutu is best known for spectacular and provocative collages depicting female figures—part human, animal, plant, and machine—in fantastical landscapes that are simultaneously unnerving and alluring, defying easy categorization and identification. Bringing her interconnected ecosystems to life for this exhibition through sculptural installations and videos, Mutu encourages audiences to consider these mythical worlds as places for cultural, psychological, and socio-political exploration and transformation.
Le Comptoir Général | Oumar Ly | Bush Portraits 1963 – 1978
~ Nov 16
© Oumar Ly. Poudor, Senegal. From the series Bush Portraits 1963 – 1978. Courtesy of the artist.
Le Comptoir Général in partnership with the Marie-Louise & SONS association, presents photographer Oumar Ly’s Bush Portraits 1963 – 1978. The year 1963 marks the opening of Senegalese portrait photographer Oumar Ly’s studio. He begins to make a name for himself and the Thioffy studio. Armed with a Rolleiflex camera, Ly would travel the countryside taking portraits of young and old alike throughout Northern Senegal.
Revue Noire | Joël Andrianomearisoa | SENTIMENTAL ACTE II
~ Dec. 31
Leon Andrianomearisoa – photo Antananarivo, 1977. Courtesy | Private Collection.
Multimedia artist Joël Andrianomearisoa changes the secret rhythm of Maison Revue Noire, investing the space with his SENTIMENTAL exhibition: installations, objects, images and videos, aided by some friends and accomplices. SENTIMENTAL, is a sensorial exploration, an interaction, an experimentation with each person. A constantly evolving laboratory with encounters and elements in movement. A world unique to the artist, infused with a duality where sweetness and caresses sometimes encounter coldness and fragility. It concerns sentiment, desire and even the body!
Maison Revue Noire | 8 rue Cels, 75014 Paris | More info