Author Archive

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

David Cameron’s Libya Doctrine

The British media has, in the last few weeks, been working through allegations that the nation’s secret services helped Gaddafi’s spies track down Libyan dissidents. On 21 April the Mail on Sunday published documents discovered in Libyan archives and detailing the hunt. First, it is alleged that MI5 were involved in the kidnapping of two

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Africa and the state of Israel

My Land, a new documentary on the occupied territories of Palestine by Nabil Ayouch, opens with the statement by the director that his background gave rise to the inquiry his film makes. In the Israel-Palestine conflict this...

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Yinka Shonibare’s National Treasure

The ever-well-informed African Art in London announced this week that Yinka Shonibare’s contribution to the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square — Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle (2010) — has been bought for the nation after a successful campaign by National...

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Post-Script: Germany’s Colonial Legacy

The recent controversy around Günter Grass’s criticisms of Germany’s arms trade with Israel is an interesting post-script to the Namibian genocide controversy. The Nobel prize-winning author has written a poem – called ‘What needs to be said’ – which...

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Germany’s Namibian Legacy

So the Bundestag have once again refused to acknowledge that the systematic murders of four ethnic groups in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 wasn’t genocide.  Late last month, March 22, the German parliament debated a motion proposed...

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Nothing to Lose? The art of Rotimi Fani-Kayode

Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s first solo show in New York opened last week. The British-Nigerian artist’s last works, large photographs of the naked male body, are on display at the Walther Collection in New York City. These are images...

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

‘Golden Theater or Gutted Whore-house?’

The latest issue of Savvy Journal (#3) includes an article, ‘Transcending “Africa”‘, by Emeka Okereke, photographer and founder of the ‘Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographic Initiative’ (whose work we’ve been excited about here). It is an interesting contribution to debates about the...

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The Branson Biennale for Morocco

Vanessa Branson stands, hands on hips, her loosely hanging skirt tails give her the figure of a Western women making modest concessions to the predictable inquisitive gaze of an Arabic polis. Her trainers are burnished gold —...

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Tank Girl

Nadine Hammam’s work turned out to be “too risky” for Art Dubai. Her new exhibition, Tank Girl, opens tonight at the Gallery Misr (Cairo, Egypt).

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Thrones no one wants to sit on

Gonçalo Mabunda’s chilling constructions are now on display at the Jack Bell gallery in London. His thrones (above) and faceless masks (below) are made from weapons used in Mozambique’s civil war. These designs make dark mockery of ergonomics:...

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

“There is nothing left” in Alexandria

The emigrants Céline Condorelli interviewed about their past lives in Alexandria, Egypt, often arrived at this conclusion: “Il n’y a plus rien .” Condorelli, an artist of Italian and Egyptian descent currently based in London, found that Alexandria was...

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Ungovernables

It seems rather arbitrary to pick out the African artists from ‘The Ungovernables’, the New Museum’s triennial show. The first thing that appears (if, like me, you start on the fifth floor and work your way down)...

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The Noise of Cairo

Last month the Daily Beast decided that Cairo had lost its voice. It reminded me of a New York Times article which renamed Cairo The City Where You Can’t Hear Yourself Scream. It’s a city (or something),...

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Photography. The Jews of Morocco

An interview with Aaron Elkaim, a documentary photographer based in Toronto, whose photo-essay "Exodus" explores the remains of the Jewish communities in Morocco.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

January in Cairo IV: the two faces of Egyptian art

Om Kalthoum, the late great Egyptian singer, stands in the studio of Khaled Hafez. Her eyes are closed, her mouth open in song or lament. There is not one of her, but six (including a shadow), laser-printed repetitively...

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

How to feminise a tank

Nadine Hammam is an Egyptian artist making work around the embattled domain of the female body. We speak as she works on a series which will go to Art Dubai at the end of March.* This, she...

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Egyptian Post

Consider this painting by Mai Heshmat. Its her proposal for the new Egyptian stamp - now that Mubarak's head has been deposed - and demonstrates a refreshing humor. The ambivalence of this woman's faceless face is suggestive...

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Get Up, Stand Up

Tunisian born artist Amel Bennys, who works between Tunis and Paris, has just had her first solo show at the Selma Feriani Gallery in London. 'Get Up - Stand Up' includes 'Fin de Partie', a series of...

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

January in Cairo III

We can deduce certain trends about Egyptian painting and the nature of its buyers.

Monday, January 16th, 2012

January in Cairo II: The Ministry of Culture

Negar Azimi reflects on the difficult decisions facing Egyptian art: “A survey of titles of works from recent exhibitions in Cairo reveals the following: ‘Freedom,’ ‘Drink Freedom,’ ‘Shadow of Freedom,’ ‘People Demand,’ ‘Man Crying’ and so on.”...

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

January in Cairo: Nothing has changed in Egypt

On the third day of the New Year millions of Egyptians in governates outside the city voted in the third round of elections. In the capital, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has placed barbed...

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

New Nigerian art in London

Tiwani Contemporary is the latest art space in London devoted to contemporary African art. Affiliated with the non-profit Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Lagos, Tiwani promises to connect artists in Nigeria with buyers in London. “The...

Monday, December 19th, 2011

10 photographers to watch in 2012

As part of a series of year-end posts--we're taking a break from Friday, December 23, till January 5, 2012, we're hoping to post 10 "Lists of 10" this week. (We're trying to be cool by calling it...

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The afterlife of African studio photography

Is African studio photography, Cape Town art writer Sean O’Toole asks in frieze magazine, dying out? The answer, non-subscribers, is maybe. Everywhere in the modern world the business of professional photography is in decline. O’Tool argues that studio photography...

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Les Fantômes

A painting sits glowering on the wall of the Jack Bell Gallery in London. Figures daubed in bright colours stare out from the canvases against a dark background broken up by bits of newspaper cuttings. This is...

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