Senghor, Bergson and the Idea of Negritude
By Souleymane Bachir Diagne
“Danced the forces that were given
rhythm by, that gave rhythm to the
Force of forces: Justice in accord,
which is Beauty Bounty”
– Leopold Sédar Senghor
FROM THE TROCADERO TO THE IMAGINARY MUSEUM
Near the end of 1906, at the time of Senghor’s birth, Picasso is 25 years old. He is already famous and numerous are the admirers of his paintings, drawings and sculptures. What is known as his ‘Blue Period’ (1901-04) has been succeeded by the ‘Rose Period’ (1904- 06) with its harlequins and acrobats.
By Ellen Agnew
“We are told that Dr. Livingstone ‘discovered’ the Victoria Falls, and that somebody else, a thousand years after Ptolemy chartered them, ‘discovered’ the sources of the Nile. But who ‘discovered’ that African art was ‘art’? Before the Expressionists, before the Picasso Group, and long before the movements of independence, a vertiginous fascination for it spread over Europe. It was like pattering rain, announcing a violent squall. The squall blew up at the turn of the century while Africa was still in the great sleep and Spanish, French and German artists – explorers in aesthetics – were blown before its blast like full-rigged ships under bare poles.”
- FRANK McEWEN (International Congress of African Culture)
Frank McEwen’s account of the proceedings of the first International Congress of African Culture – which was held in August of 1962 at the National Gallery of Harare, Zimbabwe (previously named Salisbury, Rhodesia) – expresses an indignation over Europe’s benefit at the expense of Africa, and especially at the expense of African art.
Discovering and promoting South Africa’s artistic talent is at the very heart of Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. Being the longest running competition of its kind in South Africa, Sasol New Signatures has played a pivotal role over the years in unearthing local artists and promoting them to the art-loving public.
This year’s competition intends to remain true to this legacy by looking for those hidden artists that want to break into the mainstream.
John-Michael Metelerkamp is an artist based in Knysna, South Africa. His paintings deal with both reality and the subconscious, confronting trauma, anxiety and awkwardness whilst simultaneously conveying a sense of humour and light-heartedness. ART AFRICA spoke to John-Michael on the practice of his work and why these sensitivities portrayed are important to him.
In 2015 at All the World’s Futures, Okwui Enwezor’s Venice biennale, African presence was celebrated and unmissable. In 2017, it is arguable that gaining a solid and substantial foothold in the world’s most celebrated biennale will take more than the leverage of one curator. The number of national pavilions in Venice remains a small minority of African states seven out of the possible fifty-five (Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia and Zimbabwe). Equally the number of African artists represented in Christine Macel’s Vive Arte Viva! exhibition was a minute fraction.
Auction Record for Yinka Shonibare MBE, 63 Artists from 14 Countries Represented.Half of the buyers new to Sotheby’s Participants from 29 countries.
Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012).
Johannesburg, May 8 2017: Innovative South African art auction house, Aspire Art Auctions, was the only local representative contributing to a recent one-day global summit in Geneva, on the subject of Artist’s Resale Rights (ARR).
Hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), partly at the instigation of the governments of Senegal and the DRC, the conference was aimed at a better understanding of the application,management and reception of ARR around the world. Participants included policy makers, collective rights management organisations, artists and members of the private sector in the art industry, including galleries, curators and auction houses.
Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu is being honored with the National Artist Award from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen, Colorado, to be presented at the institution’s 21st Annual Recognition Dinner on July 20, 2017.Last yesr Mutu was the recipient of the Rees Humanitarian Award for her work celebrating and empowering African communities.
Wangechi Mutu was born and raised in Kenya and has made Art in New York for almost twenty years. Mutu's work focuses on the conversations that surround perception, in both personal and political realms. She's primarily interested in how identity pivots around a kind of social contract that can only be broken through personal and political reinvention - a rewriting of the codes that have been used to represent us.
Opening on May 13 to the public, the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, titled “Viva Arte Viva” is curated by Christine Macel. Of the of 120 participating artists and national pavilions, only 7 African countries are represented. “In a world full of conflicts and jolts, in which humanism is being seriously jeopardized, art is the most precious part of the human being,” Macel has said in a statement. “It is the ideal place for reflection, individual expression, freedom and fundamental questions. It is a ‘yes’ to life, although sometimes a ‘but’ lies behind. More than ever, the role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are crucial in the framework of contemporary debates.” This year, questions around national and post-national art will be explored in several different projects in and around Venice. Particularly relevant, the African Art in Venice Forum is an event that raises the question as to why only seven of the 54 countries in Africa are represented in the 2017 Biennale.
African countries participating in the 2017 Venice Biennale include Angola (which won the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2013 and was the first pavilion of Angola at the Venice Biennale); Egypt; Ivory Coast; Nigeria (a first time participant); South Africa; Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
SHADOWS AND SUBJECTIVITY: Contemporary sculptural practice exploring existential themes.
Manuela Holzer in conversation with ART AFRICA.
Manuela is a South African born artist of Austrian descent, currently based in the Western Cape. She completed her Master’s in Fine Art from Stellenbosch University, where she gave expression to the fragility of human existence with her evocative sculptures. ART AFRICA spoke to Manuela about the way in which she translates her conceptual inspiration from Plato, Nietzsche and Jung into figurative sculptures.
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair announced a lineup of special projects for the 2017 edition of the New York fair (May 5 – 7, 2017). This year’s special projects program is the largest roster of non-for-profit programming for the New York fair since its inauguration in 2015, and will highlight an incredibly diverse mix of projects and partnerships that will complement the gallery presentations throughout the main fair.
Amref Health Africa is a wonderful and pretty essential organization, particularly in providing vital health services to African communities who need it most. What made you decide to run an art auction to raise funds, how did this project evolve? Why the focus on artists from the continent only.
We decided to hold a benefit art auction because of the rise in popularity of African contemporary art in the United States. We felt it would resonate with audiences here, in terms of bringing them unique, contemporary art pieces to invest in, while showcasing the diversity and talent from all regions across Africa. Being an African based health development NGO, we also wanted to raise more awareness of our ability to mobilize the incredible creativity of Africa.
Biannually, Venice becomes the world capital of contemporary art. Art enthusiasts, curators, artists, and journalists attend and discuss important social topics regarding the Biennale’s participants. Comparatively by geography, population, and the creative capability of the African continent, very little has been exhibited and discussed about many African countries until now. Only 7 out of 54 African countries are represented in national pavilions in the 57th Biennale Dell'Arte di Venezia.The lack of content becomes a lack of debate and research: How can unrepresented countries develop and improve their infrastructure for the promotion of the arts? Which are the factors preventing their community of creatives from thriving, both on a national and a global level?
The most important and historic award for contemporary art in Belgium goes to Otobong Nkanga. The artist’s delicate works on transformation processes referring to changes in our society won over the international jury. Alongside the Belgian Art Prize exhibition in Brussels, Otobong Nkanga’s work is currently also on view at Contour in Mechelen and Documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens.
The public voted for its favourite artist and awarded the ING Public Prize to Maarten Vanden Eynde.
Brooklyn, NY (March 2017) – 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading international art fair dedicated to promoting contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives, is pleased to announce the 2017 New York lineup for 1:54 FORUM, the fair’s annual talks program, curated by Koyo Kouoh, Founder and Artistic Director of RAW Material Company, Dakar and supported by Gabriella Beckhurst (FORUM Curatorial Assistant).
Tabita Rezaire in conversation with ART AFRICA.
Tabita is a French born Guyanese and Danish new media artist, currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work explores ideas surrounding decolonial health and knowledge, and navigates these themes, both online and offline, through internet’s tools and languages. ART AFRICA sat down with Tabita to discuss her solo show, Exotic Trade, currently up on exhibition at the Goodman Gallery.
Take me to Zambia! Greenpop, a social enterprise working in Southern Africa, launched a competition to win a trip to the Zambia Festival of Action in Livingstone. The festival is an environmental action summit that brings people together from around the world to actively engage with sustainability solutions and have fun while doing it. Everyone can enter the competition via the Zambia Festival of Action Giveaway. Just send Greenpop your short motivation before 3 May and win one week in Zambia between 25 June and 16 July 2017.
Chinafrika is a two-day conference from 29-30 April 2017 at Goethe Institut, Johannesburg presented in partnership with MetroZones Berlin, The Confucius Institute and Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig. The conference presents academic papers, artist’s presentations and group discussions focused on cultural responses to the relationship between the African continent and the People’s Republic of China, both historical and contemporary.
Regarding Africa: Contemporary Art and Afro-Futurism is on show at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel. The term Afro-futurism refers to music that grew during the 1960s among Afro-Americans as well as to the poetry, comics, cinema and art that developed later. Today it applies to a wide range of art that reflects, in various absurd ways, an African version of futurism.
Five Artists Announced for ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’, the National Pavilion UAE’s exhibition for the 2017 Venice Biennale.
The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the five UAE-based contemporary artists who will be participating at the 57th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale). Commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the exhibition will run from May 13th to November 26th, 2017, with a preview from 10th to 12th May, 2017.
KROTOA is just as remarkable and unforgettable as the historical heroin this impressive film is based on. It has already managed to conquer the hearts of international film lovers and critics, and is set to be an even bigger hit with local audiences. This film, which has not yet been released in South Africa, has already received six official selections at international film festivals, like the International Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture, World Film Awards, Artemis Women in Action Film Festival and the Nashville Film Festival.
Lagos, an economic centre of Africa and cultural destination on the continent, has been dubbed as one of the emerging art capitals of the world. With its most recent art festivals being FESTAC ’77, Lagos Photo, ARESUVA, and Art X, Lagos is taking on the international art scene.
The Lagos Biennial, which is an artist initiative, will be held once every two years in the city of Lagos with the primary aim of opening cultural, artistic, and political conversations from Lagos to the rest of the world. In line with the spirit of Lagos which is all-welcoming, the Lagos biennial is not driven by Afrocentric ideologies but rather embraces the unifying simplicity of the human experience.
Aspen/Snowmass, Colo. (April 11, 2017) — Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a premier destination in America for art making and critical dialogue, celebrates creativity and service to the arts by recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of key figures in the art world. This summer Anderson Ranch will honor Wangechi Mutu with the National Artist Award, Jan and Ronnie Greenberg with the Service to the Arts Award and Ann Korologos with the Extraordinary Leadership Award at its 21st Annual Recognition Dinner. The gala evening will take place on July 20, 2017.
ART AFRICA in conversation with Patrick Bongoy.
Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Patrick Bongoy graduated from both the Institute of Fine Art and the Academy of Fine Art in Kinshasa. Bongoy currently lives and practices in Cape Town, South Africa, but continues to reference the socio-economic and political dialogue of his birth country.
ART AFRICA spoke to Bongoy about his experiences in both South Africa and the DRC, as well as his work for upcoming solo exhibition at EBONY Curated, ‘Where are we / Where are we Going?’.
ART AFRICA in conversation with Elize Vossgatter on her solo show, ‘limp’, currently up on Exhibition at SMITH.
ART AFRICA talks to Ephia Mmbidi - represented by Candice Berman Fine Art Gallery, on her experiences growing up in violent yet significant Sebokeng, her role as a black female artist, and how she utilises tools to capture the essence of what it is to be female.