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 Paris to Cape Town, 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.


Coby Kennedy: Skin of the Thug is still on view at the Gallery Momo in Cape Town, South Africa from April 6 until May 27, 2017

In Skin of the Thug, Coby Kennedy builds on the ambiguous chronology of the imagined post-apocalyptic society which has permeated his work by introducing a historical event which he refers to as The Great Negro Wars. The exhibition presents faux relics from this fictional epoch in the form of Thuggernauts and is presented as a sort of museological social history exhibit. Skin of the Thug showcases decorated pieces of Thuggernaut skin as well as a ‘rare’ complete taxidermied Thuggernaut head. Located at the intersection of science fiction tropes, pervasive oppressive history and internalised subliminal narratives, Kennedy’s Thuggernaut artefacts bitingly satirise the ways in which the term ‘Thug’ functions as a catch-all for young black youth in racist media narratives. By the same token, the exhibition turns a critical eye to the problematic of self-image which result from the psychological conditioning of these narratives. For the artist, the Thuggernauts represent a physical manifestation of self-genocide and voluntary subjugation.

Jessica Webster: Wisteria is still on view at the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa from April 22 until May 24, 2017

Wisteria refers to the non-indigenous garden flower often planted along boundary walls and garden gates in South Africa as a borrowed expression of beauty from the European garden. Phonically, it evokes the term ‘hysteria’, which Freud associated with deep psychological repression and neurosis in Western women. For Webster, ‘stereotypes assigned to the white woman as both delicate victim and threatening provocateur have resulted in the containment of such figures to walled-in, protected settings throughout history, such as the safe South African suburban garden’. As a contemporary painter, Webster notes that this dynamic manifests in the European history of painting. In her new body of work, she references early European Modernist painting in which the white woman features as an ethereal complement to the sanctified garden scene. Working with an awareness of the politicised South African garden space, Webster references the formal qualities of surface and composition specific to Claude Monet and Jean-Édouard Vuillard’s garden images through which she explores the reproduction of the ‘white woman’ as painterly surface.


Afriques Capitales is still on view at La Villette in Paris, France from March 29 to May 28, 2017

The second edition of the 100% festival is devoted this year to Africa. In this context, La Villette presents Afriques Capitales, an exhibition curated by Simon Njami and dedicated to the major African cities. This is an opportunity to discover the contemporary African art scene through paintings, photos, installations, videos, sculptures, and sound creations. Afriques Capitales will gather more than ten productions specially made for the exhibition, including several massive works, and more than sixty artists of all generations. In parallel, the event continues outside as part of the Mois de la Photo du Grand Paris, with over thirty works in free access in the gardens of the park until September 3, 2017. In addition, Lille is presenting another part of Afriques Capitales, with the exhibition Cape of Good Hope Here We Come at the Gare Saint-Sauveur, from April 6 to September 3, 2017.

Art Fairs

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is opened at Pioneer Works in New York, United States from May 5-7, 2017

1:54 New York 2017 welcomes 19 galleries – including 9 new galleries – from Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, UK, US and South Africa, showcasing the work of more than 60 artists including the likes of internationally renowned figures such as Ibrahim El-Salahi, William Kentridge, Malick Sidibé, Billie Zangewa, as well as promising emerging talents such as Derrick Adams, Cheikh Ndiaye, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Boris Nzebo, Lebohang Kganye, and Mohau Mokadiseng, to name a few. 1:54 New York 2017 will be accompanied by the third edition of the fair’s highly anticipated FORUM program of talks and events, which includes artists talks, keynote lectures, and panel discussions with a host of international curators, artists, and art professionals. This year’s FORUM program in New York City convenes a range of artistic practices and aesthetic sensibilities around the idea of community.


Modern and Contemporary African Art will open at Sotheby’s in London, United Kingdom on May 16, 2017

Sotheby’s will hold its annual various-owners auction in New York on May 15, 2017, strategically timed to coincide with the height of the auction season, with the pre-sale exhibition to be held concurrently with those of Contemporary Art, and Impressionist and Modern Art. The auction will include a highly curated selection of works from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, including Pre-Columbian Art and selected American Indian Art. The next day, Sotheby’s will hold its inaugural auction of Modern and Contemporary African Art, which will take place in London. The auction will include some of the best-known contemporary artists from across the continent, including El Anatsui, Yinka Shonibare, William Kentridge, Romuald Hazoumè, Chéri Samba, Meschac Gaba, Abdoulaye Konaté, Ouattara Watts, Kader Attia, and Pascale Marthine Tayou, as well as the modern masters Ben Enwonwu, Uche Okeke, Skunder Boghossian, J.H. Pierneef, and Irma Stern.


Posted in Events  |  May 06, 2017