African Art in London

London / Art / Africa


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Out of Focus @ Saatchi Gallery

Playing With Plastic, Toekomsrus, Beaufort - Mikhael Subotzky (2007)

The big new photography show at the Saatchi Gallery, Out of Focus, includes work by a number of photographers with African connections: Beninese photographer Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou (who showed at Jack Bell last year and the year before); South African photographers Mohau Modisakeng and Mikhael Subotzky (pictured); and Johannesburg/London-born, London-based duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.

Untitled (People in trouble) - Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin (2011)

I recently had the good fortune to see some of Broomberg and Chanarin’s work as part of a group show at Belfast Exposed gallery, but it might also be familiar to anybody who saw their exhibition at Paradise Row last year. In the recent series People In Trouble Laughing Pushed To The Ground (2011), the artists drew on images from the Belfast Exposed photographic archive, which was founded in 1983 and documents the Troubles in Northern Ireland through photographs of everyday and not-so-everyday life, taken by both professionals and non-professionals. The artists used the physical traces of these images’ lives in the archive – random blots, cuts, scratches and round stickers – to guide the form and selection of their own prints. The result is a moving, multi-layered exploration of the role of photography in the making, remembering and re-making of history.

Show: 25th April – 22nd July

Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10-6

Saatchi Gallery
Duke Of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London
SW3 4RY

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Isango Ensemble @ Hackney Empire

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist - The Isango Ensemble

After last year’s Woyzeck, there’s some more spectacular South African musical theatre coming to London next month, courtesy of the award-winning Isango Ensemble. The company’s performers, who are from townships around South Africa, reinterpret Western theatrical and operatic classics by placing well-known stories in new and powerful contexts that highlight South African historical and contemporary realities.  They are kicking off their international tour with three concurrent shows at the Hackney Empire in London:

La Boheme – Abanxaxhi
11th May – 1st June
Sneak preview available here.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist – Izigwili Ezidlakazelayo
12th May – 3rd June

Aesop’s Fables
13th May – 2nd June

Ticket prices range from a very affordable £8 to £34, with various discounts and multi-buy deals on offer – for instance, if you want to see all three shows, you can get £12 off. More details here.

Hackney Empire
291 Mare Street, London
E8 1EJ


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Stories from Somalia @ HOST Gallery

Photography and photojournalism gallery HOST (see here for a previous show) is putting on an exhibition and charity auction to raise money for the Somali Relief and Development Forum. The event will feature work from photojournalists Kate Holt, Sebastian Rich and Ed Ou. More details here.

6.30-9.30, 10th April

£4 donation

HOST Gallery
1 Honduras Street, London
EC1Y 0TH