African Art in London

London / Art / Africa

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Politics of Representation @ Tate Modern

Three Continents (2010) – Nástio Mosquito

This Saturday, don’t miss the Tate Tanks take-over from Otobong Nkanga and Nástio Mosquito. Both artists will be engaging with the ‘Politics of Representation‘ – that is, ideas like cultural identity, memory and belonging, and how we understand and engage with them – in the context of Tate’s collections. Their interventions will involve combinations of performance, installation, video, and perhaps even a bit of audience participation… Nkanga will be in residence throughout the day, and Mosquito will take over for the evening slot. For an idea of what to expect, maybe take a look at Mosquito’s film My African Mind.

The day’s events are the first part of Across the Board, an exciting new series looking at contemporary artistic production in and from Africa, which is taking place over the next year or so in London (United Kingdom), Accra (Ghana), Douala (Cameroon), and Lagos (Nigeria). The project has been made possible through Tate’s partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank, which I first posted about last year. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Also – while you’re at the Tanks, don’t forget to take a look at the mesmerising William Kentridge film installation.

Date: Sat 24 Nov

Tickets: free, but booking is advised for the evening performance from Mosquito – book here.

Otobong Nkanga – 10.00–19:00
Nástio Mosquito – 20.30–22.00

The Tanks at Tate Modern
Bankside, London

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Seminar: Contemporary Art in Nigeria @ SOAS

There’s a seminar on Contemporary Art in Nigeria coming up at SOAS’s Centre of African Studies, presented by sculptor Dr Edewor Uyoyou Nelson, who is also Leventis Visiting Fellow.

The event will chaired by Dr Charles Gore, Senior Lecturer in the History of African Art (SOAS), and there will be discussion led by Maria Varnava, Director of Tiwani Contemporary Gallery. Check out the details of Tiwani’s latest exhibition here.

Date: 29 November 2012

Time: 17.00-18.30

Room 4421, College Building, SOAS
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London

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Temitayo Ogunbiyi @ Tiwani Contemporary

This evening, there’s another Art Connect event from Tiwani Contemporary. Following her spot on a panel at Africa Utopia at the weekend, US-born, Nigeria-based artist Temitayo Ogunbiyi will be taking centre-stage to discuss her practice, which is often site-specific and uses a variety of media including drawing, fabric and collage. More info here.

Event: Tuesday, 24 July, 6:30pm

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street
London W1W 8BP

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Obiora Udechukwu @ Tiwani Contemporary


Delicate Burden – Obiora Udechukwu (1984)

Obiora Udechukwu is best known for his creative experimentation with traditional Igbo Uli motifs. Tiwani Contemporary’s new showFrom Uli to Li: A Natural Synthesis, presents work from the 1980s, when the artist was exploring his interest in Chinese calligraphy with delicate pen-and-ink drawings and watercolours.

Hopefully, this show’s existence is a sign of how far things have moved on in London. A few years ago, a mixed-bag group-show of ‘contemporary African artists’ was about as much as one could hope for; but now, galleries like Tiwani are starting to explore the depth and breadth of work of some of Africa’s best-established and most influential contemporary artists.

Read more about Udechukwu, and the Nsukka group of which he is a part, here.

The next event in Tiwani’s Art Connect series is taking place on 21st July at the Southbank Centre as part of the Africa Utopia festival – more info here.

Show: 11-26 July

Opening hours: Weds-Sat, 11.00-18.00

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street, London


Art Connect @ Tiwani Contemporary

Lucy Azubuike

Art Connect is a series of panel discussions, screenings and live performances coming up at Tiwani Contemporary, and the first instalment is taking place TONIGHT, as artists Lucy Azubuike, Amarachi Okafor and Victoria Udondian discuss their work and the Nigerian art scene with curator Gabriela Salgado. All three artists are currently participating in We Face Forward, the festival of West African art and music that launched last week in Manchester.

5th June, 18.30 – 20.30

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street, London

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Sokari Douglas Camp @ Brunei Gallery

Material Salsa – Sokari Douglas Camp (2011)

Right. It turns out that not only is Sokari Douglas Camp giving a lecture tonight at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, she also has an exhibition opening! Hot on the heels of her recent show at Tiwani Contemporary, Sokari has a new exhibition of sculptures, called Dyad. Thanks to Elsbeth Court for the heads up. Really, I can barely keep track of it all.

Show: 23rd May – 28th July

Opening hours:
Tues – Sat, 10.30 – 5
Late night Thursday until 8

Brunei Gallery
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London

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Sokari Douglas Camp @ Tiwani Contemporary

Sokari Douglas Camp

Tiwani’s next show comes from Nigeria-born, London-based artist Sokari Douglas Camp. In a departure from her recent politically-oriented work, It’s Personal will include steel sculptures and metal drawings exploring relationships, emotions and life transitions. You can find out more about Sokari here, and you can see more of her work in the Sainsbury Galleries at the British Museum.

Private view: Thursday 5th April, 6.30-8.30

Show: 6th April – 19th May

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street, London

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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


Abdulrazaq Awofeso @ Fred [London]

From 'Fragments from the city' @ Goethe on main, Johannesburg - Abdulrazaq Awofeso (2011)

Opening next week at Fred [London] is a new show from Lagos-born, Johannesburg-based artist Abdulrazaq Awofeso. Featuring small figures carved from pallets left lying around near the artist’s studio, the exhibition was originally put on at GoetheonMain, the Goethe Institute’s newish experimental space in Jo’burg. Awofeso’s figures are intended to call to mind a kind of prayerful army, but also, in their fragility, act as a warning against literal readings of the holy scripture, which could be “enough to topple this multitude standing in file into an apocalyptic human heap”.

Show: 2nd February – 11th March

Opening hours:
Wed-Sun, 12-6 or by appointment

Fred [London]
45 Vyner Street, London
E2 9DQ

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The Tie That Binds Us @ Tiwani Contemporary

New information has emerged about London’s latest African contemporary art venture, Tiwani Contemporary – in a correction to my last post, I can now confirm that the gallery’s inaugural exhibition will open on 7th December, continuing until 21st January. A group show, it will feature work in various media by Mary Evans, Lawson Oyekan (last seen across town at Canary Wharf), Emeka Ogboh, Adolphus Opara (fresh from Tate Modern’s show) and Ben Osaghae. More info here.

7th December – 21st January

Opening hours:
Tues-Sat, 10-6
(20th Dec – 3rd Jan by appointment – call +44 (0) 20 7631 3808)

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street, London