AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Zambian skull found in London art gallery

Discovered in 1921 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia (now Kabwe, Zambia), the original skull resides in the National History Museum in London, who made this replica for the Lusaka National Museum. The skull, also called the Kabwe skull or fossil, was used to describe Rhodesian man, or homo rhodensiensis.

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Emeka Ogboh’s Experimental Videos and Soundscapes of Lagos

Armed with microphones, a digital recording device, and a video camera, Emeka Ogboh captures the maddening hyper-visuality of Lagos: vivid colours, the syncopated cries of street and highway hawkers, yelling bus conductors, the impatient bleats of car...

Monday, August 12th, 2013

When Jean-Michel Basquiat went to Africa

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the first American artist of African descent to achieve international stardom, often referenced Africa or the African diaspora in his work. Take, for example, 1983′s “The Nile” (a painting that featured nods to Egyptian hieroglyphs,...

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Hassan Khan and his 6 minute film “Jewel”

Last year, while visiting Okwui Enwezor’s Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (titled: “Intense Proximity”), I was struck by one specific piece: “Jewel”, a 6 minute short film by Egyptian artist Hassan Khan. As already...

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

New Work by Julie Mehretu: The Unruly Rush of the City

It is as if Julie Mehretu has boxed some corner of a great, rambling city, shaken it, and spilled the contents out onto a canvas. Girders and struts, and the faint memory of the structure and reason...

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Gideon Mendel’s photographs of people affected by flooding

South African photographer Gideon Mendel is best known for his work on HIV/AIDS in the monograph “A Broken Landscape” (2001) and in projects with big-name NGOs. He is a six-time winner of the World Press Photo Award...

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Angola’s Biennale

On June 1st, a Sub-Saharan African country won a top prize Leone d’Or/Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale the first time in 118 years. In all the excitement surrounding “Africa’s triumph” and the way Venice is “Going...

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Review of Ellen Gallagher’s Tate Modern show: “Your truths are self-evident. Ours, a mystery”

The English word ‘perspective’ derives from the Latin, perspectiva, which means ‘to see through’, and as such, instantly assumes a position – a viewer and a horizon, and an in-between space that demarcates self and other, subject...

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Strange Cargo: Jane Alexander at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Almost nine years ago, in July 2004, I made my way to the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, to see a show celebrating “A Decade of Democracy”. On the front of the museum’s dazzling white...

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

African Perspectives in Comics and Animation: The Agbaje Brothers

And now for something completely different: Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with John and Charles Agbaje, the two brothers behind The Elite Comics & Art Studio at Central City Tower. Their now concluded and...

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

How to text someone you love: An interview with Temitayo Ogunbiyi

‘The Fountain of Love’, a painting by Honoré Fragonard, offers a vision of a moment in history when the aristocratic taste for luxury reflects the imminence of revolution. The rococo masterpiece is part of a collection of European...

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Cinderella is Pissed

A prominent South African, his name is unimportant, has yet again lit up the local blogosphere by trivializing sexual violence. He did so by describing gang rape as a free-for-all picnic and then by claiming to have...

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

How to Paint Ghosts: An Interview with Ivorian artist Aboudia

“Artists don’t create reality they make phantasms”, using a kind of “fantastical technique to produce an artificial dream for the waking world”. At least that’s what Plato thought. In the paintings of Aboudia, we cannot be sure if the...

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The Afronauts nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

On April 19th, the Deutsche Börse photography prize will open at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. Awarded annually since 1996, the prize has an impressive list of recipients — Jeurgen Teller, Walid Raad, Paul Graham, John Stezaker, to name but...

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The visibility of contemporary women artists in Africa

There has been much written recently about the proliferation of the ‘Africa Issue’ amongst many contemporary art publications and journals. So, true to form, last week saw the launch of the latest volume of feminist art journal...

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

My 5 Favorite Designs: Olalekan Jeyifous

True, true, that title sounds familiar. Consider it a variation on a successful theme. After coming across the work Olalekan Jeyifous did for “menswear brand” creator Ikiré Jones, we wanted to know more and asked Olalekan to share...

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Popstars, Politicians and Personhood: A Conversation with Masello Motana

South African actress/singer/writer Masello Motana has had a career in the entertainment business that many would envy. She has played a leading role in a number of South African television shows as well as in a mainstream...

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Egyptian Graffiti and Gender Politics: An Interview with Soraya Morayef

Mickey Mouse is pulling apart a bomb: inside is the torso of George W. Bush, and they’re both looking perfectly happy about the whole thing. Soraya Morayef is taking a photo of the wall where these figures...

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Challenging stereotypes about Africans in Toronto

In Between Stories is a short 2012 documentary directed by Roda Siad. Originally Siad’s Master’s thesis in Media Production at Ryerson University, the film offers a portrait of four young artists of African descent living and working...

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Moses Mololekwa and the loss of “new” South African innocence

Recently, I’ve found myself listening to more and more South African Jazz. In particular, I’ve been gravitating towards the late pianist and producer, Moses Taiwa Mololekwa. Now, I must admit that my appreciation for Mololekwa’s music did...

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

My Subjective List of The Best Albums of 2012

No, Somali-Canadian rapper/crooner K’Naan’s “God, Country or the Girl” did not make my list of best albums of 2012. And his post-facto denouncement of its contents in an op-ed in The New York Times (!) has nothing...

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Social Media in Africa’s Revolutions

I recently visited the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (better known by its acronym MoCADA) in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn to view its current exhibition: NEWSFEED: Anonymity & Social Media in African Revolutions and Beyond. Running...

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Redefining “Blackness”: An interview with Toyin Odutola

The richly layered portraits of Nigerian-American artist Toyin Odutola have been on the Africa is a Country radar for quite some time. Painstakingly created with marker and ballpoint pen, Toyin’s drawings have been making waves in the...

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Jared Thorne’s Black Folks

Stencilled on the white walls of the Iziko Gallery ‘Annexe’ in Cape Town, South Africa, is this bell hooks quote from Black Looks: Race and Representation: For some time now the critical challenge for black folks has...

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Interview: Abdellah Karroum and the Benin Biennale

We tracked down Abdellah Karroum in Paris, and asked him some questions about the Biennale Regard Benin 2012, of which he is the artistic director (more on that in yesterday’s post). Born in 1970 in Morocco, he is...

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Africa and the Biennial: Regard Benin

In Africa “biennials are a difficult idea, conceptually as well as financially, to implement and sustain,” Sean O’Toole wrote recently in Frieze. The first Biennale in Lubumbashi in the DRC — being organised by Sammy Baloji, Patrick Mudekereza...

Monday, November 19th, 2012

French-Algerian sculptor Rachid Khimoune exhibits in New York City

Rachid Khimoune grew up in a small mining town in Northern France where his Algerian parents had settled. It was there that he saw first hand the end of industrialisation: his father lost his job at the local...

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Revolutions and Dancing

In Egypt earlier this year I was taken by my host to a nightclub in downtown Cairo where I was introduced to a cosmopolitan group of friends — musicians, artists, poets — all drinking beer and dancing...

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

My favorite things from the last six months

Recently I was asked to pick my “Best Six,” i.e. pick my “favorite (six) things from the last six months” for a regular feature in “Art South Africa” magazine. Here they are. Filmmakers Dylan Valley (also an...

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Hassan Hajjaj’s Rockstars

Hassan Hajjaj’s first memories of photography are from his childhood in Morocco. His mother would occasionally dress him in clothes sent from his father in England, cover him in perfume and take the whole family to the...

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