African Art in London

London / Art / Africa

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UNITY @ Watermans

UNITY - One Room Shack (2012)

Opening next weekend at Watermans is UNITY, an interactive installation celebrating the ‘Olympic spirit’ by Nigerian artists Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi and Emeka Ogboh, aka One Room Shack collective. Commissioned as part of the ongoing International Festival of Digital Art, the work invites viewers to find their way through a maze-like structure made up of the letters of the word ‘unity’. Each letter is wired with LED lights of a different colour, representing the Olympic rings, and lights up in response to the audience’s movements. It’s a fun way to address the big ideas of universalism, global fraternity and interdependence that underpin the Olympics, and also inform the artists’ work more widely.

There’s a seminar in connection with the show, on ‘New media geographies / space, architecture and technology’, chaired by Saul Albert, with contributions from Carol MacGillivray and Bruno Mathez, as well as the artists, Ugochukwu-Smooth Nwezi & Emeka Ogboh, in conversation with (ahem) yours truly. Come along! It’s on Saturday 25 February, from 4pm until 7, and more info can be found here.

There’s a publication accompanying the festival, including a recent interview between me and One Room Shack, which you can also read hereFor details about the other exhibitions and events during the festival, take a look here.

25th February – 8th April

Opening hours:
Daily, 1-9

40 High Street, Brentford, West London

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Gonçalo Mabunda @ Jack Bell

Gonçalo Mabunda

Jack Bell’s new exhibition is a solo show from Maputo born and based artist Gonçalo Mabunda. Mabunda studied in Mozambique and South Africa, and is exhibited and collected internationally. His sculptures, many of which are made from deactivated weapons, speak of the civil war in Mozambique which began in 1977, two years after his birth, and did not end until 1992. You can read more about the background to this ‘arms into art’ idea here.

Private view: Wednesday 15th February, 6-8

Show: 16th February – 17th March

Jack Bell Gallery
13 Mason’s Yard, St. James’s, London

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Material Matters: The art of Yinka Shonibare, MBE @ British Library

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle - Yinka Shonibare, MBE

A few weeks ago I posted about the Art Fund’s campaign to bring Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Money has been coming in at an encouraging rate, but more’s still needed, so if you’d like to support the campaign, a good way to do it is to attend this event at the British Library, where a panel of experts will be discussing Shonibare’s work.

Find out more about the event from the Stephen Friedman gallery page. There’s also loads more information, competitions, videos, you name it, on the campaign page.

Wednesday 15th February, 6.30-8

Tickets are £15 (£7.50 for students/concessions) and the price includes a glass of wine. To book, call 0844 415 4151.

The British Library Conference Centre
96 Euston Road, London

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An Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa @ Tate Modern

Have you ever wanted to learn more about art from Africa, but didn’t know where or how to start? Well, here’s one way: go along to Tate Modern’s new series of evening classes, Looking Both Ways: An Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa. The course promises a whistle-stop tour of art and artists on the continent and overseas, from the 1940s to the present day. It’s a lot to cram into 8 hours, but with some clear themes and time periods structuring the programme, it looks like a great opportunity to get an overview of what’s been going on.

A place on the course costs £90 (£70 for concessions) for four 2-hour sessions led by Tate curator Kerryn Greenberg. You can book here.

Mondays, 5 – 26 March, 18.45–20.45