African Art in London

London / Art / Africa

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Jill Berelowitz @ Westminster City of Sculpture Festival

Core Femme - Jill Berelowitz (photographs by Louise May Photography)

South African-born, London-based sculptor Jill Berelowitz has unveiled Core Femme as part of the Westminster City of Sculpture Festival. A six-metre high spinal column made from female torsos cast in resin and gracefully threaded onto a stainless steel pole, the sculpture will tower over visitors to Cavendish Square until October 2011. According to the artist, the work is a ‘metaphor for human strength of character, wisdom and spiritual growth’. There’s more on the festival here and here.

Cavendish Square,
Westminster, London W1


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Rotimi Fani-Kayode – one week left!

Nothing to Lose VII (Bodies of Experience) (1989) - Rotimi Fani-Kayode

If you haven’t yet been to see the show of Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s fantastic photographs at Rivington Place, plus the haunting display upstairs on lynchings in the US, Without Sanctuary, you’ve got one week left – don’t miss out.

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Contested Terrains @ Tate Modern

Orisa Egbe Deity of Destiny (Mrs Osun Yita) from 'Emissaries of an Iconic Religion' (2009) - Adolphus Opara

Tate’s new partnership with Guaranty Bank is already beginning to bear fruit – the Nigerian bank is supporting the new Level 2 show at Tate Modern, which features the work of four contemporary artists currently working in Africa.

Adolphus Opara (b.1981 Nigeria), Michael MacGarry (b.1978 South Africa), Sammy Baloji (b.1978 Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kader Attia (b.1970 France) work in a variety of media and from different cultural standpoints, but they all explore the making, telling and re-telling of history. Juxtaposing images and objects from the past and present, the artists recall and reframe Africa’s colonial and post-colonial histories, highlighting the different ways that these stories can be told – hence ‘contested terrains’.

There’s also a talk (Saturday 30th July, 2pm, £5) featuring exhibition artists Kader Attia, Michael MacGarry and Adolphus Opara discussing their work with curators Kerryn Greenberg (Tate Modern), Jude Anogwih (CCA Lagos) and Bolanle Austen-Peters (Terra Kulture). You can find out more and book a place here.

Show: 29th July – 16th October

Opening hours:
Sun–Thurs, 10-6
Fri-Sat, 10–10

Level 2 Gallery, Tate Modern
Bankside, London


Queer Africa @ South London Gallery

As part of the Contemporary Africa on Screen season, South London Gallery presents an evening event about ‘queer Africa’, curated by Jennifer Bajorek (Goldsmiths) and introduced by Natasha Bissonauth (Cornell University).

Photographer Andrew Esiebo’s work featured as part of the Nigerians Behind the Lens photography show at Bonhams this spring, but here the focus is on his multimedia work Living Queer African (Paris, 2007), which explores the lives of young queer Africans in Europe. Esiebo shares the spotlight with visual activist Zanele Muholi and her documentary Difficult Love (South Africa, 2010); anybody who’s seen Muholi’s photographic portrayals of the black lesbian community in South Africa (recently on view at the V&A and the Southbank Centre) will agree that her powerful work is well worth checking out.

Friday 29th July
7 – 9

South London Gallery
65 Peckham Road, London

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Baudouin Mouanda @ Gasworks

From the series La Sapologie (2008) - Baudouin Mouanda

Brazzaville-based photographer Baudouin Mouanda presents his first UK solo show at Gasworks this summer, following his residency at Deveron Arts in Scotland. Mouanda’s photographs reflect on the collision between Congolese urban subcultures and global market forces, and revel in the fascinating and often flamboyant cultural self-expressions that emerge as a result. The works on show here feature the famously snappy Sapeurs (above), as well as everyday scenes and hip-hop culture from Libreville and Brazzaville.

There is a talk about the exhibition by Jennifer Bajorek, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, on 17th September at 2pm – further details here

Private view:
29 July, 6.30-9

30 July – 18 Sept
Wed-Sun 12-6

155 Vauxhall Street, London
SE11 5RH

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Talk: Aleya Hamza @ Gasworks

Aleya Hamza will be talking on visual arts in Egypt

Tate Modern – together with trusty allies like Gasworks – are really leading the charge on contemporary art from Africa at the moment. Just as they announce their new partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank to support, promote and develop collaborations and exhibitions with artists in and from Africa, the cogs are also beginning to whirr on another project, this time with Cairo-based independent curator Aleya Hamza.

Following on from CCA Lagos’ Jude Anogwih, who recently gave a talk at Gasworks on his forthcoming Level 2 show with Tate Modern (among other things), Hamza presents ‘A Perspective on Visual Arts in Egypt’, a talk coinciding with her trip to London to work with Tate Modern Assistant Curator Kasia Redzisz on another Level 2 show next year. Hamza will discuss street art in Cairo in relation to the revolution, as well as earlier projects The Long Shortcut (2008-2009) and Tales around the Pavement (2007-2008). The exhibition resulting from her stay here will also appear in Egypt at Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo.

Monday 11 July 2011
7 – 8.30

155 Vauxhall Street, London
SE11 5RH


Tate and Guaranty Trust Bank team up for African art partnership

Partners: Guaranty Trust Bank and Tate

Tate and Guaranty Trust Bank have announced a new partnership which will enhance Tate’s engagement with modern and contemporary art from Africa. The Nigerian bank’s sponsorship will create a new curatorial post, fund acquisitions, and support an annual project, providing a massive boost to the presence of art from Africa at Tate Modern.

The announcement follows the recent passing of the bank’s CEO Tayo Aderinokun, a noted supporter and patron of the arts in Nigeria and overseas. Guaranty have already supported two highly successful arts projects in London: Chris Ofili’s exhibition at Tate Britain in 2010, and Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Continuing the bank’s commitment to the arts, the Tate partnership extends their support in new directions.

The new curator will develop collaborations with artists, institutions and networks in Africa, sharing expertise and developing new platforms for artists both on the continent and in the UK. One of these platforms will be a new annual project, the first of which, Contested Terrains, opens in Tate Modern’s Level 2 Gallery at the end of this month, before travelling to CCA Lagos early in 2012. Guaranty will also fund the acquisition of new works for Tate’s collection, focusing in particular on work from sub-Saharan Africa, to add to the 100 or so works by African artists already held by the gallery (which are mostly from South and North Africa).

You can find out more here and here.