Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium is delighted to present a hugely diverse exhibition of contemporary art from Africa, curated by the London-based, Norwegian gallery owner, Kristin Hjellegjerde. Hjellegjerde’s gallery has worked closely with many artists from the African continent and Kubatana is the fruit of her research into and knowledge of the African art scene. This is one of the largest presentations of contemporary African art yet seen in Scandinavia, bringing together 33 artists from 18 countries. A broad spectrum of media and techniques is represented in the exhibition, and the artists explore themes ranging from their colonial past, collective mythologies and personal histories to the challenges posed by the new political, economic and social realities of modern Africa. Kubatana can therefore be said to be a reflection of the cultural diversity and riches of a continent which encompasses a wealth of religions, languages and peoples.
The term ‘contemporary African art’ is widely accepted as referring to art produced in the postcolonial era by artists on the African continent, or by African artists who have emigrated. While this common geographic origin may in no way impinge on the artistic direction chosen by individual artists, it is evident that African artists are proficient at cultivating among themselves social and professional networks. Kubatana means togetherness in the Shona language of Zimbabwe – a concept that is reflected in the rich cultural communities that have developed across the continent. At the same time, works produced by these artists have won for African art a new status on the international art arena.
Indeed, the rapid growth of contemporary African art in the last few decades has led to exponential recognition on the global art scene. Until quite recently a marginalised segment of Western art practice, African art today is projecting with strong and characterful voices that do not allow themselves to be reduced to merely regional and/or cultural connections. Since the 1990s, artists have challenged accepted forms of visual representation and stereotypical depictions of African culture, promoting instead a larger cultural, historical and aesthetic fluidity. Through performance, installation, video, painting and sculpture Kubatana invites us to discover new artistic expressions and significant artistic voices from a hugely diverse continent.
Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghana) · Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana) · Sadikou Oukpedjo (Togo) · Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (Benin) · Gerald Chukwuma (Nigeria) · Niyi Olagunju (Nigeria) · Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga (Democratic Republic of Congo) · Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (Botswana) · Igshaan Adams (South Africa) · Lhola Amira (South Africa) · Gabrielle Goliath (South Africa) · Zanele Muholi (South Africa) · Cinga Samson (South Africa) · Takunda Regis Billiat (Zimbabwe) · Troy Makaza (Zimbabwe) · Wycliffe Mundopa (Zimbabwe) · Moffat Takadiwa (Zimbabwe) · Lizette Chirrime (Mozambique) · Gonçalo Mabunda (Mozambique) · Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar) · Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya) · Dawit Abebe (Ethiopia) · Ephrem Solomon (Ethiopia) · Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan) · Amina Agueznay (Morocco) · Younes Baba-Ali (Morocco) · Yassine Balbzioui (Morocco) · Khadidiatou Sow (Senegal) · Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali) · Amadou Sanogo (Mali) · Aboudia (Ivory Coast) · Armand Boua (Ivory Coast) · Sanlé Sory (Burkina Faso)
Texts by Osei Bonsu, Nic Cheeseman, Kristin Hjellegjerde, Lars-Andreas T.Kristiansen, Tracy Murinik and Azu Nwagbogu
Published by Vestfossen, Kunstlaboratorium, to accompany the group exhibition, 4 May - 22 September 2019