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Listing of Select Africa and Afro-Diasporan Art Exhibitions Worldwide

  1. Listing of Select African and Afro-Diasporan Art Exhibitions Worlwide.

    A hand-picked listing of African and Afro-Diasporan art events happening around the world, updated weekly.

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    “Njideka Akunyili Crosby” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA.

    In her Los Angeles debut, Nigerian-American artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby brings her large scale works on paper, which combine collage, drawing, painting, and printmaking, fusing African and American influences and creative traditions, to the California gallery.

    (Njideka Akunyili Crosby: “Nwantinti”)

    Reflecting on contemporary, postcolonial African cosmopolitanism and her experiences as an expatriate living in America, her intimate paintings provide an important counter-narrative to the often troubled representation of Africa’s complex political and social conditions.

    When:  03 October – 10 January 2016
    Hammer Museum

    “Serge Attukwei Clottey: The Displaced” at the Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, USA.

    Ghanaian multi-disciplinary artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, who has, over several years, worked across a variety of mediums including painting, photography, performance, sculpture and installation, roots his art both in matters of deep self-reflection, as it relates to his experiences and immediate environment, as well as in the freedom of expression that experimentation brings.

    Centered on the seemingly mundane yet complex relationship that exists between plastic gallons often sighted in his hometown of Labadi, Accra, for his project The Displaced Clottey recycles and recontextualizes the use of these waste hazards into a larger cultural narrative that are symbolic of trade and transportation along the Atlantic Coast.

    When: October 24 – November 22, 2015 
    Zach Feuer Gallery

    “Forces in Nature” at Victoria Miro, London, England.

    The exhibition explores the idea of man in nature and includes works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Verne Dawson, Peter Doig, NS Harsha, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, Celia Paul, Tal R, Sarah Sze, Kara Walker, and Francesca Woodman. 

    When: 13 October – 14 November 2015
    Victoria Miro

    “Alex Majoli & Paolo Pellegrin: Another Congo” at Art21, Lagos, Nigeria.

    Magnum photographers Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin, both Italian, exhibit their photojournalist works taken throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    When: 31 October – 30 November 2015

    “Peju Alatise” at The NEST Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland.

    When: 02 November 2015 – 07 November 2015 
    The NEST Gallery

    “Dis place” at  MoCADA, New York, USA.

    Dis place, a play on the word ‘Displace’, maps the somatic, psychological and infrastructural violences that have become markers of displacement within the contemporary African Diaspora, from the perspectives of those living in its throes. Displacement, or a state of being rooted in uprooted-ness, is a consequence of colonial conquest in Africa and the Americas that has come to frame dominant perceptions of diasporic identity and nationhood.

    (Mohau Modisakeng)

    The exhibition features a collection of multimedia works by artists Aisha Tandiwe Bell, Kudzanai Chiurai, Mohau Modisakeng, Valerie Piraino, Sable Elyse Smith and Ralph Ziman, who render visible the power relations produced by and through displacement.

    When: 17 October, 2015 – 17 January, 2016 

    “John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea” at  Bildmuseet , Umeå, Sweden.

    Vertigo Sea, which had its premiere at the 2015 Venice Biennale, the 56th International Art Exhibition All the World’s Futures, is a three-screen film installation that forms a meditation on man’s relationship with the sea: on the role of the sea for migration, in war and conflict, for the history of slavery and colonization. Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick and Heathcote Williams’ Whale Nation are two literary points of reference. 

    (image: Flashartonline)

    The presentation at Bildmuseet marks the first time Ghanaian visual artist John Akomfrah’s work will be shown in Sweden, before touring other future venues. 

    Watch an excerpt from the film.

    When: 25 October – 17 January, 2015

    “Awol Erizku: New Flower | Images of the Reclining Venus” at The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, USA.

    Hosted at the 10th floor gallery at New York’s FLAG Art Foundation, New Flower | Images of the Reclining Venus is the first presentation of Ethiopian artist Awol Erizku’s series of portraits taken in Addis Ababa in 2013.

    The photographs, depicting women who work as sex workers in the Ethiopian capital, were conceptualized by Erizku’s attempt at challenging the mythologized art historical role of the Venus and the odalisque in Western painting, setting these tropes against the reality of one of the largest concentrations of sex workers in Africa.

    When: 17 September – 12 December, 2015 
    The FLAG Art Foundation

    “A Constellation” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA.

    A Constellation traces connections among twenty-six artists across various generations, all of African descent: eight who emerged in the mid- to late twentieth century, and eighteen younger artists whose works are being shown at the Studio Museum for the first time. The artists in the exhibition embrace a broad range of conceptual approaches. The works in the Museum’s collection serve as material and conceptual anchors exploring themes of the figure, formal abstraction, economy, African diasporic history and materiality. Newer works expand on these themes and prompt an intergenerational dialogue in visual space.

    (Like A Pregnant Corpse The Ship Expelled Her Into The Patriarchy – Nona Faustine)

    Artists in A Constellation: ruby onyinyechi amanze, Elizabeth Catlett, Torkwase Dyson, Melvin Edwards, Nona Faustine, Aaron Fowler, David Hammons, Ayana V. Jackson, Tony Lewis, Al Loving, Hugo McCloud, Troy Michie, Sondra Perry, Julia Phillips, Adrian Piper, Faith Ringgold, Andy Robert, Andrew Ross, Cameron Rowland, Betye Saar, Tschabalala Self, Talwst, Torey Thornton and Jack Whitten. 

    When: 12 November 2015 – 06 March 2016 
    Studio Museum in Harlem

    “ON FIRE Notions of Community in Post-Apartheid South Africa” at  Grimmuseum, Berlin, Germany.

    A photography exhibition with work from Andrew Tshabangu, Sabelo Mlangeni, Musa Nxumalu and Dean Hutton –  five South African photographers from different generations, ON FIRE brings together various aspects of social life such as spirituality, identity, immigration, family and LGTBI life, their visual approaches document, question, reveal and/or reinterpret in different ways the notion of “community” in the specific context of the “Rainbow Nation”. 

    When: 24 October – 07 November 2015 
    Where: Grimmuseum

    “Selections from Revelations” by Kudzanai Chiurai at  MoCADA, New York, USA.

    In Selections from Revelations, Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai chronicles the rise of a fictitious African leader through a satirical lens, and constructs environments that feed the Western imagination about the state of the contemporary African continental politics. 

    When: 17 October 2015 – 17 January 2016 

    “Kongo: Power and Majesty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

    Aimed at radically redefining our understanding of Africa’s relationship with the West, Kongo: Power and Majesty is a presentation of that will features 146 works drawn from more than 50 institutional and private collections across Europe and the United States, “reflecting five hundred years of encounters and shifting relations between European and Kongo leaders.” 

    The exhibition claims to “focus on one of the continent’s most influential artistic traditions, from the earliest moment of direct engagement between African and European leaders at the end of the 15th century through the early 20th century.”

    When: 18 September 2015 – 03 January 2016
    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    “To Be Young Gifted and Black” Curated by Hank Willis Thomas at the Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.

    Nina Simone had an energetic and rousing approach to her seminal art which flexed all angels of being black in her time and beyond. The To Be Young Gifted and Black Exhibition at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery lends Ms. Simone’s song and motif in portraying the vibrancy of youth and complexity of being an artist of color in today’s world.

    Visual artist and Curator Hank Willis Thomas brings the paintings, photographs and mixed media installations of 19 artists together in celebrating and probing the ideology of unrestricted expression among young artist. The exhibition is part of the ongoing Working Title series by the Goodman Gallery. It opens on Saturday September 26, 2015 and runs till October 24, 2015 in Johannesburg.

    The artists whose work will need on display include: Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, Sadie Barnette, Zoe Buckman, Bethany Collins, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Omar Victor Diop, Titus Kaphar, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Yashua Klos, Gerald Machona, Toyin Odutola, Ebony Patterson, Adam Pendleton, Jody Paulsen, Tabita Rezaire, Jacolby Satterwhite, Shinique Smith.

    When: 26 September – 11 November 2015
    Goodman Gallery

    “Moffat Takadiwa: Foreign Objects” at the Tyburn Gallery,  London, Uk.

    The first solo exhibition by the Zimbabwean artist in the UK, Foreign Objectsincludes a range of installations made of discarded and recycled goods, and that  engages with issues of material culture, identity and spirituality as well as social practice and the environment.

    The wall-hung sculptures in the exhibition are symbols of the cultural dominance exercised by the consumption of foreign products in Zimbabwe and across the African continent. Due to the country’s ongoing economic stability, from the change in currency to the obsoletion of much of the local economy, imported goods have become symbolic of the shifting power struggles within Zimbabwe, resulting in the uneven distribution of economic and cultural power across the country.

    Greatly influenced by the Argentine semiotician Dr. Walter Mignolo’s scholarship on ‘coloniality’ and modernity, Takadiwa’s work is an explicit challenge to contemporary governments whose pledges on indigenous empowerment are failing to come to fruition. 

    When: 5 November 2015 – 9 January 2016 
    Tyburn Gallery

    “Retrospective by Jodi Bieber: Between Darkness and Light: A Mid-Career” at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.

    South African photographer Jodi Bieber’s retrospective exhibition includes close to 100 photographs from eight of Bieber’s key projects, and shows a selection of works from both celebrated and rarely seen independent series.

    When: 27 August – 19 November 2015 
    Iziko South African National Gallery

    “In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa” at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, USA.

    Spanning 100 years of portrait photography in West Africa through nearly 80 photographs taken between the 1870s and the 1970s, In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa, the exhibition seeks to expand our understanding of West African portrait photographs, by rendering the broad variety of these practices and aesthetics. It juxtaposes photographs, postcards, real photo postcards, and original negatives taken both inside and outside the studio by amateur and professional photographers active from Senegal to Cameroon, and from Mali to Gabon.

    (image: Seydou Keita)

    These works, many of which are being shown for the first time, are drawn from the Metropolitan Museum’s Visual Resource Archives in the Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, with additions from the Department of Photographs. Among them are renowned artists, such as Seydou Keïta, J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, and Samuel Fosso, and lesser-known practitioners who worked at the beginning of the century, including George A. G. Lutterodt, the Lisk-Carew Brothers, and Alex A. Acolatse.

    These photographers explored the possibilities of their medium, developing a rich aesthetic vocabulary through revealing self-portraits, staged images against painted backdrops or open landscapes, and casual snapshots of leisurely times. Regardless of their unique place in the history of photography in West Africa—from the formality of the earlier studio poses to the theatricality of Fosso’s fantasies—the sitter’s self-assured and unabashed presence fully engages the viewer.

    When: 31 August – 03 January 2016 
    Metropolitan Museum Of Art

    “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama” at theStevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa.

    In contrast to her previous bodies of work that featured portraits of LGBTQI South Africans, for which she has become well known for, Zanele Muholi’s new exhibition of photographs sees the artist turning the camera on herself.

    Taken in different locations whilst travelling in South Africa, America and Europe, Muholi describes this process as one of self-discovery. Through this series, we see and experience the many ways she imagines herself, experimenting with different characters. Muholi portrays herself in a highly stylised and performative language that references the history of black and white fashion photography. 

    When: 19 November – 19 December 2015, 4 January – 29 January 2016 
    Stevenson Johannesburg

    “Zanele Muholi: Vukani/Rise” at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, England.

    Four of Muholi’s projects will be presented across Open Eye Gallery’s three exhibition spaces, accompanied by audio/video interviews and statements from those featured in Muholi’s work. The exhibition is the first major presentation of Muhli’s work in the UK.

    Faces and Phases (2006–15) is an ongoing series of work, a collection of powerful portraits that not only highlight the importance of representation and stories of LGBTQI individuals in South Africa, but that Muholi embarks on a journey of “visual activism” to ensure black queer and transgender visibility. 

    ZaVa (2013) focuses on Muholi’s relationship with her white partner, and brings the notion of making the private public to the fore. 

    (ZaVa, Amsterdam, 2014) 

    Brave Beauties (2013-2014) is a series of 12 black and white photographs celebrating looking at the body – and the experience of being seen.  Stylish, coy, subtle and proud, the gay and transgender men present a personal vision of themselves to the compassionate lens of Zanele’s camera. 

    (Eva, Somizy and Kat. photo shoot took place in Parktown, Johannesuburg on the 12th April 2014. Photo: Zanele Muholi)

    Mo(u)rning (2014) evokes death but also suggests the cycle of life as morning follows night. Life and death, love and hate are themes that run throughout her work. Tragic loss is addressed in this series, the persecution of a community and the coming together to remember those who have passed. 

    When: 18 September – 29 November 2015
    Open Eye Gallery

    “Kara Walker: Norma” at the Victoria Miro Mayfair,  London, England.

    For her exhibition at Victoria Miro Mayfair, Walker is showing a selection of preparatory drawings, sketches and models related to the production of Vincenzo Bellini’s two-act opera Norma she directed and art directed for Teatro La Fenice. 

    Her production moved the action from Roman Gaul to an unnamed west or central African colony under European subjugation in the late 19th century. The drawings and other studies show the artist’s detailed working process. The selection includes a number of works in pastel and watercolour, and demonstrates Walker’s facility with colour and line. 

    When: 13 November 2015 – 16 January 2016 
    Victoria Miro Mayfair

    ”Samuel Nja Kwa: Route du Jazz” at the Onomo Hotel in Bamako, Mali, and the Durban Art Gallery, South Africa. 

    In celebration of his book of the same name, Paris-born Cameroonian photographer’s ‘Route du Jazz’ exhibition is currently on show at the Onomo Hotel in Bamako, Mali, and will be exhibited at the Durban Art Gallery in Durban, South Africa.

    Featuring images, interviews and historical pieces, Kwa traces the history of jazz music to its African roots to its spread and evolution throughout the African diaspora.

    Dates: 21 May 2015 – 06 January 2016
    Onomo Hotel

    “50/50” at The New Church Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa.

    50/50 is a collation and juxtaposition of historical and contemporary works, all viewed through a responsive, documentary lens. As these repetitions and recognitions accumulate over time they come to bear on signifiers such as monuments, monumentality and iconoclasm, secrets and lies, the rise and fall of ideas, culture, cultivation, movement and mobility. 

    (Kemang Wa Lehulere)

    Artists on show: Avant Car Guard, Willem Boshoff, Kudzanai Chiurai, David Goldblatt, Dumile Feni, Randolph Hartzenberg, Samson Kambalu, Kemang Wa Lehulere, David Mogano, Robin Rhode, Cecil Skotnes, Sue Williamson

    When: 5 November 2015 – 23 April 2016 
    The New Church Museum

    “Margaret Bowland: Power” at the Drisoll Babcock Galleries, New York, USA.

    The exhibition features 8 new paintings, which marry canonical imagery with contemporary references to blur fact and fiction, challenge cultural hierarchies, and offer alternate narratives. It also includes Bowland’s first major installation: a transformational bramble of US dollar bills folded into origami roses that twist throughout the gallery on barbed-wire stems, underscoring the dangerous allure of wealth and power.

    Bowland’s paintings construct an anachronistic world dense with symbolic imagery. She employs a variety of sources, from the artistic production of the early modern Deccan plateau of India, to post-Renaissance European paintings, to today’s fashion magazine spreads. In this maelstrom of references, Bowland’s subjects bear the weight of complex power struggles, reckoning with enduring issues of race, gender and agency.

    When: 29 October – 12 December 2015 
    Driscoll Babcock Galleries

    Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination” at the  Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, USA.

    Composed of artifacts from the Schomburg collections that are connected to Afrofuturism, black speculative imagination and Diasporan cultural production,Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination is a sci-fi and fantasy lover’s dream that aims to offer a fresh perspective on the power of speculative imagination and the struggle for various freedoms of expression in popular culture.

    (Manzel Bowman)

    The exhibition showcases a range of multimedia, from illustrations, film posters, fiction, comics, literature, memorabilia and other graphics that highlight those popularly found in science fiction, magical realism and fantasy.

    When: 1 October – 31 December 2015
    Where: Schomburg Center

    “Esther Mahlangu 80” at the Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, South Africa.

    In celebration of internationally renowned Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu’s 80th birthday on 11 November 2015, the artist will lauch a solo exhibition, Esther Mahlangu 80, at the UCT Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. The exhibition will comprise of recent paintings and three-dimensional works.

    When:  11 November – 2 December 2015 
    Irma Stern Museum

    ”David Adjaye Selects” at Cooper Hewitt, New York, USA.

    Ghanaian architect David Adjaye presents a series of curated textiles from West and Central Africa, all textiles from the museum’s permanent collection, in the latest installment of the Selects series.

    The exhibition is the 12th in the ongoing series, in which prominent designers, artists and architects are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection.

    Dates: 19 June – 14 February 2016 
    Where: Cooper Hewitt

    “Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko” at Foundation Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain, Paris, France.

    With an emphasis on the rich cultural heritage of contemporary popular culture painting in the Democratic Republic of Congo from the 1920s onward, and also including other creative expressions such as music, photography, comics, sculpture and other mediums, this exhibition – which includes 350 works from 41 Congolese artists – seeks to highlight the country’s extraordinary cultural vitality.

    Dates: 11 July – 15 November 2015
    Where: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

    “Zina Saro-Wiwa: Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?” at Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Texas, USA.

    Centered on the relationship between the people of the Niger-Delta and their surrounding environment, largely tarnished by neglect from the Nigerian government and pollution from oil companies, Nigerian-British filmmaker and artist Zina Saro-Wiwa’s first solo exhibition at the Blaffer Art Musuem includes a series of video installations, photographs, and a sound installation produced in the Niger Delta region of southeastern Nigeria from 2013 to 2015.

    The series cultivates strategies of psychic survival and performance, underscoring the complex and expressive ways in which people live in an area historically fraught with the politics of energy, labor and land. The exhibition uses folklore, masquerade traditions, religious practices, food and Nigerian popular aesthetics to test art’s capacity to transform and to envision new concepts of environment and environmentalism.

    Dates: 26 September – 19 December 2015
    Where: Blaffer Art Museum.

    “Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism” at Rivington Place, London, England.

    Between 1976 and 1981, the movement Rock Against Racism (RAR) confronted the growing racist ideologies in streets, parks and town halls all over Britain.

    (image: Syd Shelton)

    Formed by a collective of concerned and affected musicians and political activists to fight fascism and racism through music, we revisit this pivotal time and radical period in post war British history and 20th century race relations through the first major exhibition of Syd Shelton’s photographs.

    Dates: 2 October – 5 December 2015
    Where: Rivington Place.

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