African Art Outlook for September

African Art Outlook for September

Posted in Events

Since the global expansion of the covid-19, many contemporary African art events have been cancelled, postponed, or transitioned to virtual exhibitions. Some galleries are opened for exhibition visits by appointment. From Paris to Nairobi, we’ve got you covered with a quick guide of what to discover this month. So, we’ve rounded up our favorite events of September featuring African and Africa related art practices and projects.


Kara Walker: A Black Hole is Everything a Star Longs to Be is still on view at Kunstmuseum Basel in Basel, Switzerland until September 26, 2021

Throwing open the doors to her personal archive that she has closely guarded for the past 28 years, Kara Walker (b. 1969) presents more than 600 drawings from her studio. The Kupferstichkabinett Basel displays these treasures together with brand-new works by the world-famous American artist in her first extensive solo exhibition in Switzerland. Walker, who first caused a stir with panoramic silhouettes in 1994, is one of the most prominent artists working in America today. Provocative and obscene but aesthetically appealing scenes executed with extraordinary technical finesse bring racism, gender, sexuality, and violence into focus. Surveying American history from slavery to Barack Obama’s presidency, Walker has no patience for political correctness and does not propose a conciliatory view of the past, instead prodding the viewer to question established narratives and entrenched myths. Unsparing in her analysis of conflicts that have never been resolved, she examines the genesis of collective self-images as well as her own identity.

Ajarb Bernard Ategwa: Kwata Saloon is still on view at Afikaris in Paris, France until September 28, 2021

This new body of work pays tribute to a thematic evolution in the art of Cameroonian artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa (b. 1988, Kumba, Cameroon). Whilst he feeds his pictorial language from the scenes of daily life focusing mainly on the markets of the Cameroonian capital, Douala, where the artist lives, this new series turns to the local hair salons. Ategwa explores the aesthetics and sociocultural significance of these salons to local women – sites which between November and December welcome a flurry of women from various strands of society, rekindling one last time before the extended closures of the early year. In this ensemble of 20 canvases and drawings, the women he used to represent in simple clothes, wear their most beautiful outfits, pampering themselves, and sporting flawless hairstyles. The bright colors spurting under Ategwa’s brushes pay tribute to the pop aesthetic, mirroring the heat and bustle of Douala.


Crossing the Pale River will take place at Transvaalstraße in Berlin, Germany from September 17-25, 2021

Created and performed by South African artists Coila-Leah Enderstein and Nicola van Straaten, the site-specific work engages with a street in Berlin named after a province in South Africa that no longer exists. Transvaalstraße cuts through the so-called “African Quarter” of Wedding. When the British took control of the Cape in the early 19th century, descendants of Dutch settlers traveled north-eastwards with the hopes of establishing a homeland. In 1852, the territory north of the Vaal River was demarcated as the Afrikaner nation, “Transvaal.” Starting from their perspectives as descendants of European settlers, the two artists interweave lesser-known histories and their personal narratives to critically reflect on coloniality through the frame of Transvaalstraße.


34th Bienal de São Paulo will open at various locations in Sao Paulo, Brazil from September 4 to December 5, 2021

The title of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo, Faz escuro mas eu canto [Though it’s dark, still I sing], is a line from a poem by Amazonian poet Thiago de Mello, published in 1965. Through this poetic phrase, the curatorial team recognizes the urgency of the problems that challenge life in the current world, while underscoring the need for art as a field of resistance, rupture, and transformation. In the last year, the darkness that surrounds us has been thickening: from the fires in Amazonia that darkened the day for thousands of kilometers around them to the mourning and lockdowns brought on by the pandemic, along with the political, social, environmental, and economic crises that were ongoing and are now deepening. Throughout these year of work, surrounded by collapses of every sort, we continuously asked ourselves: what forms of art and ways of being in the world are currently possible and necessary? In dark times, what are the songs we need to listen to, and to keep singing?


Virtual Panel: Women in Sculpture will take place at Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute, Kenya on September 7, 2021

As part of their online programming, and following from the Ledge Sculpture exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI) is hosting a panel discussion with Wangechi Mutu, Magdalene Odundo DBE and Chelenge Van Rampelberg, moderated by Mukami Kuria. Join the Panel Discussion on September 7 at 7pm (EAT) for a one and a half hour conversation and Q & A with the artists as they discuss their approaches to sculpture and much more.


Posted in Events  |  September 04, 2021