The Artist El Anatsui is famous for his large-scale sculptures, made of hundreds of flattened bottle tops intricately linked to one another that once installed, take the appearance of a textile draping a wall. In a departure from sculpture, he returns to the October Gallery with a new body of work: Prints created in collaboration with Factum Arte.
For years, the wooden tabletops in El Anatsui’s studio in Nigeria, have been the silent witnesses to the labour that went into creating his sculptures. They have preserved the traces and dents left behind by the repetitive cutting, flattening and piercing of the aluminum bottle-tops. And now, these wooden tops have been turned into story-tellers in the hands of Factum Arte in Madrid, where they were scanned and their textured surfaces turned into Prints.
Over the years, Art Paris Art Fair, has forged a reputation as a Spring Art fair that showcases both local talent and international artists, whose work is not readily accessible in France. The fair is staying true to that reputation by turning the spotlight on Africa, the ‘guest of honor’ of this year’s edition.
From March 30th to April 2nd, the fair will provide an in Depth view into the African Art scene through the work of about 100 artists of Africa and the Diaspora.
The exhibition, the art of a nation, retraces the chronological history of South Africa through art going back 3 million years, up to the emergence of what is known today as the Rainbow Nation. It is a myth busting display, challenging some long held beliefs in Art History.
3 Million years ago, a Human Ancestor in South Africa collected a face-like stone, The Makapansgat Pebble, probably on the sole merit of its shape and aesthetics. Some millions of years later, those who followed, had shaped ironstone into a hand axe (found in Kathu Pan) and shell beads into necklace. These exhibits, dating back respectively 100,000 and 78,000 years, demonstrate Humans’ early interest in Art and position South Africa as one of the artistic cradles of humanity.
Malick Sidibé, the celebrated Malian photographer, passed away in 2016. In a lifetime dedicated to photography, he took a vast collection of pictures that shed a light on the major transformations that the Malian society had been through. In his black and white pictures, he captured the character and the essence of the youth of his country; exploding with joy, embracing modernity and pop culture. A selection of his pictures is now on display in London at Somerset House. “Malick Sidibé: the eye of modern Mali”, is the Artist’s first ever solo exhibition in the UK.
The term “African Fashion” has been bandied about lately. It covers, loosely, anything related to Africa and Fashion, such as Fashion Collections made using Dutch wax prints or African prints, clothing made on the continent or by African Designers.
What images spring to mind if you hear of Tunisia? The usual stereotypical ones would be of a sunny holiday destination or, more recently, the epicenter of the Arab Spring.
Now, a dynamic group of artists, whose work is being exhibited worldwide, are slowly painting an alternative image of their country: a thriving hub of Creativity and Arts. It is that image, that the Tunisian Embassy wanted to showcase to London when it was transformed into a temporary Art Gallery and opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, for the exhibition: Tunisia, The New Picture.
The first edition of the Contemporary African & Design fair – AKAA (Also Known as Africa) – was held from the 11th to 13th of November in Paris.
The objective of the fair, is to be a new platform for African artists to showcase their works to international collectors and to a wider public in order to gain the recognition they deserve. It is also part of a wider movement of people, determined to write a different narrative about Africa and counter what the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi called the “single story” of Africa.
As I stepped into the Turner Contemporary Gallery, I was taken aback by the sheer scale of ‘The British Library, 2014, an Installation by the Artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE .
From floor to Ceiling, hundreds of books are neatly organized in book shelfs that entirely cover 3 walls – Just like in a library. The books are covered in wax prints, one of Yinka’s signature materials. Together, the books make visible and almost palpable the contribution that consecutive waves of Immigrants have made to British Society. Glowing in the distance, are the names of some of the most famous immigrants and descendants of immigrants to the UK. As you step closer and read out the names, from Zaha Hadid to Anthony Bennett, from Prince Charles to Charles Mendes, from Laura Mvula to Mo Farah you couldn’t help but wonder what the alternative story – without immigration – would have been. What the UK would have looked like as a society? Which is precisely one of the objectives of the artist; questioning the role of immigration in our society.
Dear James, you are a pioneer among African photographers. You were the first Ghanaian photographer to shoot the cover for Drum, one of the first black magazines in the Sixties. We wanted our readers to learn more about your background and the impact of your work.
You trained as a basket weaver and worked as a teacher, what made you take up photography?
As I always say, Photography was practiced in my family: I had two maternal uncles who were Professional Photographers, when I was born; there were also two cousins well vexed in photography. I did not associate with any of them seriously but I remember showing an interest when I left school. I wanted to become a Police Photographer!
Somehow or somewhere along the line I ended up serving a two year apprenticeship with Mr. J.P.Darku Dodoo, one of my cousins, running a thriving practice in Accra Ghana.
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga is a young Congolese Artist. In his paintings, he explores the tension between tradition and modernity through the current fate of the Mangbetu people.
The Mangbetu are a small tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Originally a warrior tribe from Sudan, they have migrated and settled in Congo in the 18th century. Once a proud tribe, reputed for their crafts and their beautiful elongated heads, they are now reduced to a remnant group of elderly people. Like endangered species, their very existence and their culture are slowly dying out. Their elongated heads that used to be a distinct and proud sign of their tribe, have turned into an insult among their fellow citizens who value modern beauty standards.