African Art Outlook for May

African Art Outlook for May

Posted in Events

As interest in contemporary African art continues to grow, we identified several events that are worth visiting in May. From Dakar to New York, we’ve got you covered with a quick guide of what to discover this month. So, we’ve rounded up our favorite events of May featuring African and Africa related art practices and projects.


Dakar 66: Chronicles of a Pan-African Festival is still on view at Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, France until May 15, 2016

In April 1966, the First World Festival of Black Arts opened in Dakar. The biggest names of the cultural scenes of Africa and of the Diaspora met there. Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, the National Ballet of Chad, Aimé Césaire, Wole Soyinka, and Michel Leiris: all the leading names of the African and international cultural scene convened in Dakar. The program included theatre plays, dance, film screenings and exhibitions all launched by a major conference. The event, celebrating its 50th anniversary, was to become one of the key moments in the staging of Négritude, a literary and political movement developed by President Léopold Sédar Senghor. What emerges is a reflection on the cultural and political issues invested in an event that marked the outlook of Pan-Africanism at the time of the Cold War. 50 years on, the Musée du Quai Branly in collaboration with Panafest Archive, is hosting an installation dedicated to this unprecedented event in the cultural history of Africa.

Dillon Marsh: For What It’s Worth 2 is still on view at Gallery Momo in Johannesburg, South Africa until June 6, 2016

Dillon Marsh uses photography and image manipulation to depict the exploitation of mineral resources at various mines in South Africa and to explore the relationship between human beings and the environment. About two years ago, Marsh took his photography one step further by introducing computer generated imagery into his photographs in an attempt to reveal underlying features or dynamics he wouldn’t be able to show with photography alone. “For What It’s Worth was born out of my curiosity about what a mine’s output in precious metals or stones would look like when visually juxtaposed with the mine itself”. Marsh first explored the copper mines of Namaqualand and the series soon grew to include diamond mines in the Northern Cape as well. More recently, Marsh started investigating the gold fields of the Witwatersrand Basin and the production of platinum group metals on a national scale. For What It’s Worth depicts Marsh’s exploration of these two precious metals.

Sammy Baloji & Filip De Boeck – Urban Now: City Life in Congo will be on view at Wiels in Brussels, Belgium from May 8 to August 14, 2016

This exhibition by photographer Sammy Baloji and anthropologist Filip De Boeck offers an exploration of different urban sites in Congo, through the media of photography and video. Focusing upon the “urban now,” a moment suspended between the broken dreams of a colonial past and the promises of neoliberal futures, the exhibition offers an artistic and ethnographic investigation of what living – and living together – might mean in Congo’s urban worlds. As elsewhere on the African continent, Congo’s cities increasingly imagine new futures for themselves. Today, these new urban dreams often only manifest themselves in the form of billboards and advertisements for the city to come, inspired by Dubai and other recent hot spots from the Global South. Ironically, the city model they propose invariably gives rise to new geographies of exclusion that often take the form of gated communities and luxury satellite towns designed for a still somewhat hypothetical local upper middle class.


The City in the Blue Daylight is the central theme of the 12th edition of Dak’Art that is still open at Dakar, Senegal until June 9, 2016

This year, the Dakar biennial is inspired by the theme “The city in the blue daylight” and curated by Simon Njami who is also responsible of the artistic direction. Njami chose an extract from a poem written by Leopold Sédar Senghor: « Your voice tells us about the Republic that we shall erect the City in the Blue Daylight In the equality of sister nations. And we, we answer: Presents, Ô Guélowâr! ». Those verses inspire Njami’s ambition for the Biennale: to make Dak’Art a “new Bandung for Culture”. The main exhibition entitled “Re-enchantments” is closely related to the overall theme of the biennial which invites artists, and above all Africans, to invent new ways to re-enchant the world and the continent. Africa, the practical dream of a liberated Africa responsible for herself, the dream of a continent whose sons sang and danced the freedom recovered at independence caught in the spell of a future to be reinvented, has had its ups and downs. Some have been disillusioned while others have lost in their gaze the enthusiastic flame which alone can give the strength to change things. The re-enchantment is the reintroduction of new energy, a new creativity, a new momentum.

Art Fairs

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is open at Pioneer Works in New York, United States from May 6 to 8, 2016

1:54 is a reference to the fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent and establishes the parameters of the fair’s ethos: as a platform that strives to represent multiplicity and showcase the diversity of contemporary African art and cultural production on an international stage. The second New York edition of 1:54 will showcase 17 galleries from 9 countries, in addition to an impressive selection of works by over 60 artists working in various artistic mediums and who come from a unique blend of geographical backgrounds, comprising 25 countries. 1:54 is accompanied by the 1:54 Forum an educational and artistic program curated by Koyo Kouoh and includes lectures, film screenings and panel debates featuring leading international curators, artists, and art experts. Pioneer Works’ monthly event Second Sunday will also take place from 4-8pm on Sunday, May 8, in collaboration with 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair.


Posted in Events  |  May 07, 2016