African Art in London

London / Art / Africa

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From Facebook to Nassbook @ Mica Gallery

(untitled) - Amina El Oteify

What do artists do when there’s a revolution going on? Carry on making art, is the resounding reply from Mica Gallery and the artists in its current show, From Facebook to Nassbook. The exhibition includes contributions from nine contemporary artists working in Egypt, whose practice responds to the dramatic political and social upheavals of the Arab Spring. With a particular focus on Cairo, much of their work emphasises the everyday lived experience of urban political unrest – a welcome and appropriate intervention from street-level at a time when the balance of power is, well, in the balance.

The show was part of the recent Shubbak Festival, and continues until 8th September. You can read more about it here.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri, 10-6
Sat, 11-6
(by appointment only – call (0)20 7730 1117)

Mica Gallery
Studio 2, 1st floor, 259A Pavilion Road, London

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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

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Wael Shawky @ Delfina Foundation

Larvae Channel 2, video animation (still) (2009) - Wael Shawky

As part of Shubbak festival, London’s ‘window on contemporary Arab culture’, Egyptian artist Wael Shawky is presenting Larvae Channel at Delfina Foundation. In this video series, the Alexandria-based artist explores ‘migration, cultural hybridization, marginalization and modernization as platforms for self-perception’.

More info the the show here, and on Shubbak here.
Show: 29th June-23rd July

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat, 10-6

The Delfina Foundation
29 Catherine Place, London

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Arab Cinema @ Tate Modern

Still from 'Domestic Tourism II' (2009) - Maha Maamoun

Tate Modern’s film programming takes an interesting turn this month with a season of Arab Cinema. My past experiences with Tate’s film events have been mixed, to say the least: technical malfunctions and impenetrable, self-congratulatory chit-chat masquerading as ‘discussion’, not to mention boring films. This earnestly titled season, ‘Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now’, may sound similarly unpromising. However, if you click through to the descriptions of some of the films, they do sound rather engaging, and the timing couldn’t be better as far as current affairs goes, so I’m hoping to give a few of them a try. The series kicks off this Friday with an Egyptian double-bill from the 1970s, and continues by way of Algeria and Morocco, plus films from the Middle East.

4th – 27th March

Various show times – see listings here.

Tate Modern
Bankside, London

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Imani and others at the BFI London Film Festival


Imani (2010) - dir. Caroline Kamya


Thanks to a tip-off from my friends at African Screens, were I in London during the upcoming 54th BFI London Film Festival, I’d be sure to check out Imani, the debut feature film  from Caroline Kamya, about a day in the life of a former child soldier, a maid and a hip-hop dancer in Kampala. You can read an interview with the director here and find out about screenings here.

Other African film highlights of the festival include:

  • New African Cinema‘: a trio of shorts – The Tunnel, Pumzi and Saint Louis Blues – made through the Africa First mentoring scheme (14/15 Oct)
  • Zimbabwean documentary Shungu: The Resilience of a People (18/19 Oct)
  • Microphone, set in Alexandria’s underground music scene, the second feature from director Ahmad Abdalla after last year’s Heliopolis (18/19/20 Oct)
  • a story of love and war set in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, Relentless (20/21 Oct)
  • a tale of courage in the face of prejudice in a South African community, Life, Above All (26/27 Oct)