COLLECTOR. magazine, issue 02
Samir Rafi, The Dog and the Fish, 1972. Images courtesy of Nadim Elias
Chairman and CEO of the Sahara Printing Company, Nadim Elias developed his fascination with painting and sculpture after gaining exposure to Picasso, Miro, Dali and Modigliani in his youth. This fuelled his attraction to surrealism and figurative expressions as movements which grapple with questions concerning the human psyche. Elias started his collection in 1990 after purchasing a painting by Hamed Nada and has subsequently expanded his understanding of contemporary art through frequent visits to museums and galleries in Europe and Egypt.
ART AFRICA, issue 07
Guest Edited by Kendell Geers
Issa Samb, “The Crisis Begins Tomorrow at Dawn” (La crise commence demain à l’aube”), in Verksted no. 15, Word! Word? Word!. Issa Samb and the Undecipherable Form, ed. Koyo Kouoh, OCA Norway and Sternberg Press Berlin, 2013, pp. 224-239
This article provides a short, dense reflection on the importance of revolutionary artists, thinkers, and activists who developed their practice in the frame of a cultural spirit that ‘declared’ its objective in the form of a struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against the great powers and bi-polar bloc politics.
ART AFRICA, issue 08
Edited by Ashraf Jamal
Farah Al Qasimi, from the GAF11 commissioned DRAGON! series, 2017
Narrow as it was, the street in any Muslim country was always very lively – a permanent meeting place for people who enjoyed open-air display. It was the essential artery, the rendezvous for story-tellers, signers, snake-charmers, mountebanks, healers, charlatans, barbers and all those professionals who are so suspect in the eyes of Islam’s moralists and canon lawyers.
– Fernand Braudel – A History of Civilisations
COLLECTOR. magazine volume 01 issue 02
Nadège Besnard Iwochewitsch: Jean-Paul, how did your collection start?
Jean-Paul Blachère: I began collecting (contemporary African) art around the end of 2000. An exhibition had been organised in the North of France that was curated by Yacouba Konaté, and devoted solely to African talents. It was here that I fell in love with The Dance, a work by Moustapha Dimé that expressed so much simplicity, spirituality and strength.
Thereafter, I decided to build a collection that would show the strength and beauty, both aesthetically and sociologically, of the African continent. I visited artists’ workshops in Africa, and subsequently fell in love with the work of Amahiguéré Dolo, specifically Le Forgeron (The Blacksmith). I was equally as drawn to this sculpture as I was by the story of Dolo’s life; it is important for me to understand both the artist’s experience and his message. I believe this establishes a real bond between the three of us – a triumvirate connecting the artist, the artwork, and myself.
Sculpture plays a large role in the collection, and through this I have developed many close relationships with artists such as Moustapha Dimé, Amahiguéré Dolo, Siriki Ky, Ndary Lo, Jems Robert Koko Bi and Freddy Tsimba.
ART AFRICA volume 02, issue 08
Edited by Ashraf Jamal
Crest Mask representing al-Buraq, Guinea. Polychromic wood and fibre, 78 x 113 cm. Image courtesy of Barbier-Mueller museum, Geneva, Inv. 1001-59. © photo studio Ferrazzini-Bouchet. On show in the exhibition 'Treasures of Islam in Africa', Arab World Institute, Paris.
ART AFRICA volume 02 issue 07
Guest edited by Kendell Geers.
Although scholars no longer share the Enlightenment view that Africans are childlike and capable of thinking only simple thoughts at best, some still offer explanations of Kongo remedial complexes (min’kisi, sing.n’kisi) that presume a tendency to naïve imitation on the part of the makers of such complexes. In some respects therefore, we have not advanced beyond the view of Dutch traders on the West Atlantic coast of Africa in the eighteenth century who reported that when an African needed a deity to sponsor some enterprise, he would make a god of the first thing his eye happened to light upon, perhaps a bone, a piece of wood, a dog, or a lion’s tail. In fact, any actual n’kisiis clearly not an object picked at random but a complex assemblage of materials requiring time and deliberation to compose it.
Are you the next winner of the Sasol New Signatures art competition? Two weeks to go until entries close!
Johannesburg, South Africa – There are just over two weeks to go until the entries close for the Sasol New Signatures art competition, which is aimed at South African artists above the age of 18.
The prestigious contest is the longest running competition of its kind in South Africa and a platform to unearth and showcase local artists to the art-loving public.
Aspire Art Auctions’ upcoming July sale at The Park on 7, Hyde Park Corner, offers a selection of some of the best works produced by local and international artists available on the local market.
ART AFRICA volume 02 issue 07
Guest edited by Kendell Geers.
In July 2016 the Republic of Benin asked that France give back 5000 objects. In the palaces of Abomey, the ancient capital of the Danhomè Kingdom, the rooms are empty. Most of the vestiges of the reign of the kings are visible today at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris, while copies sculpted from photographs of the originals are displayed in Abomey. The contrast is breathtaking and the symbol is strong. Nonetheless, all was not acquired in bad faith, or seized during the conquest of the Danhomè Kingdom at the end of the 19th century, and the list of required objects is still to be established.
ART AFRICA volume 02 issue 07
Guest edited by Kendell Geers.
Few objects created in Africa as thoroughly reflect the range of misconceived ideas outsiders have projected on the expressive and spiritual cultures of the continent. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Bakongo groups of central Africa have constructed and enhanced some of their wooden figures with nails. Once seized or traded from today’s northern Angola, western DRC, Cabinda, and Congo, dozens of these figures continue to be displayed in museums of art or anthropology around the world - an unrelenting visual impact born of the intricate of their construction.
Over the past few months, South Africa has seen a remarkable increase in gender-based violence, where women and children are almost always the victims of sex crimes and brutal murders. Whilst the extent of violence towards women and children may be ‘uniquely’ South African, the discrimination is not. Only recently did Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, claim that “[he does] not have any bad days, because [he’s] not a woman”.
Misogyny and patriarchy have for too long been dominant in our global society, and women are tired of existing under the male gaze. ART AFRICA spoke to Sarah Zimmerman and Ceil Ann, the creators of C(lit), to find out how they’re combatting gender-based violence and inequality today, bringing empowerment to all those who relate to, and resonate with, their brand.
Tr(eat) me better, 2017. Model:Mziyanda. Image courtesy of C(lit).
COLLECTOR. magazine volume 01 issue 02
Robert Devereux spoke to COLLECTOR. on African art now, his private collection 'Sina Jina', and the personal side to collecting art.
Installation image, When the Heavens Meet the Earth, 2017. Image courtesy the artists and The Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge. Photo: Perry Hastings.
By Sven Christian
Last Wednesday one of Swaziland’s leading news outlets, the Swazi Observer, published a story entitled ‘Government’s rosy refugee report ignores reality.’ Circulated nationwide, the article paints an apocalyptic (yet realistic) vision of Swaziland, following the increasing number of immigrants seeking refuge in more hospitable climates. Dependant on international aid to accommodate the population spike, the Swaziland government finds itself pandering to international press at the International Committee on Climate Migration (ICCM) in an attempt to retain future funding. “With assistance from both the GCF and the SADC community, Swaziland has adopted what - at least on paper - looks like a proactive and welcoming stance on climate refugees,” wrote Remigius Dlamini.
In an Australian first, Another Antipodes/urban axis exhibition is poised to deliver some of the freshest of new art from Africa this winter in Perth and Fremantle and one of the largest contemporary African art exhibitions in the world this year.
by Marijke Tymbios
The muse is an ideal and therefore says more about the artist than it does about the muse.
In her response to the theme of Smith’s group exhibition, ‘Out of Nowhere’, Michaela Younge captures the veracity of creative stimulus contained in the concept of the muse. At once the object of desire and subject of inscrutable study, the muse lends a voyeuristic glance into what largely consumes the complex inner-workings of a creative mind. Conceived in reaction to Stieglitz’s photographic portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe, Smith curator Amy Ellenbogen set the theme as a challenge for contemporary artists to demonstrate the shift from the archaic ideal of the female deity to the often latent multitude of subjective sources of inspiration. Fuelled with renewed insight, Ellenbogen poses the following, “What are modern day muses? How has the relationship between the artist and the muse shifted over time? Has it shifted?” In light of the curatorial proposal, a selection of 24 artists was made for the exhibition which interrogates and presents a plethora of conceptual responses to the muse.
Jeanne Gaigher, Veil, 2017. Acrylic on canvas and dyed scrim, 80 x 120cm; Jeanne Gaigher, Separated Belly, 2017. Acrylic, ink and household paint on block-out, 245 x 155cm.
Banele Khoza, Untitled, 2017. Oil on canvas, 92 x 122cm.
Upon entering the space, one experiences a cathartic response to reality with the figurative renderings by Jeanne Gaigher and Banele Khoza. Confronting the viewer with questions of identity, Gaigher’s work precariously balances on the cusp of androgyny whilst Khoza offers a highly expressive take on the nude male figure.
Claire Johnson, Keeping Quiet Two, 2017. Acrylic on Zerkall paper, 92 x 57cm framed
Dale Lawrence, The Only Constant is Change, 2017. Acrylic on paper, 120 x 80cm.
A plurality of forms and mediums become evident as one moves past the abstract expressions produced by Claire Johnson and Dale Lawrence. The uncanny familiarity of a high modernist aesthetic draws one into the work of Johnson, whereas Lawrence’s bold, textured line work evoke feelings of incompletion as echoed in his artist statement, “A muse or subject or inspiration is and must remain always unattainable or it will cease to be. Attainment is completion. Completion is consumption or death. It is perhaps the recognition of impermanence – a hopeless hope – that creates the intense dynamic necessary for art.”
Katharien de Villiers, The Waves/Wanderer Above The Fog, 2017. Foam, perspex and spray paint. Dimensions may vary.
Subtly transcending the sensory, Katharien de Villiers provides a visual map in which she draws on concepts expressed in the literature of Eliot and Woolf placed alongside Friedrich’s iconic ‘Wanderer Above the Fog’. In combining these references, she offers the viewer some insight into the existential grappling that underpins her installation. In a similar vein, Bert Pauw’s loaded composition comprises a 2D photographic image (of a sunbathing Slimslab) framed by evocative installation pieces. The power of Pauw’s work lies in the recasting of banal items and images, in effect turning prosaic objects into subjects of renewed inquiry.
LEFT TO RIGHT: All by Bert Pauw, Purity of an Ideal, 2017. Mixed media, 27 x 20 x 70cm; Agitation of Sinking Thoughts, 2017. Pigment print on cotton rage, 80 x 60cm; Sacred Fragment of Unconscious Joy, 2017. Mixed media, 15 x 15 x 12cm.
Considering the exhibition in its entirety, as a group show consisting of 46 works by 24 artists, one is able to cast wide-angled glances over the gallery spaces, fashioning dialogues and moments of interplay between the pieces. However Jess Holdengarde’s intricate collage work necessitates close- and concentrated inspection. Not to say that the work does not blend with the overarching aesthetic of the exhibition, as her collages are well curated in their own capacity, Holdengarde triumphs in the execution of a mindful, decorative response to custody battle of power surrounding the female body.
Jess Holdengarde, A Garden of Shattered Thoughts, Obscure Dreams and a Glimpse of No Reality, 2017. Mixed media collage on tracing paper, 60 x 85cm.
A dialogue between beauty and repulsion emerges from flatness of Stephen Allwright’s the fallen rope-walker (resurrected). Devoid of perversity, Allwright manages to enlarge certain features, such as the nipples, without offending the viewer. Beauty lies in the body language and sullen features of this figure frozen in eternal isolation. An inquiry into and question of the muse resurfaces, but is left in a state of rhetorical abandon.
Stephen Allwright, the fallen rope-walker (resurrected), 2017. Watercolour, ink and pencil on paper, 138 x 98cm.
At last glance, evidence of a distinct colour palette brings forth the question of a collective unconscious as an undercurrent that binds the idiosyncratic expressions, as Ellenbogen states, “You’d think we’d have moved well past the idea of the muse as female but, curiously and whether or not this was intentional, there’s a lot of pink and blue in this show.” Despite the recurrence of gendered pigments, ‘Out of Nowhere’ attests to the wealth of insight into the contemporary, subjective take on the muse.
Artists who formed part of ‘Out of Nowhere’ at Smith Studios, which ran from 3 to 27 May 2017 include: Stephen Allwright, Fanie Buys, Frederick Clarke, Katharien de Villiers, Byron Fredericks, Jeanne Gaigher, Jeanne Hoffman, Jess Holdengarde, Claire Johnson, Jill Joubert, Banele Khoza, Michael Linders, Dale Lawrence, Gitte Möller, Rosie Mudge, Gina Niederhumer, Jenny Parsons, Bert Pauw, Thomas Pierre, Joshua Stanley, Anna van der Ploeg, Marsi van de Heuvel, Mary Visser and Michaela Younge.
Kendell Geers, Mutus Liber (Fetish), 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.
By Kendell Geers
At the end of Apartheid – in the time between Nelson Mandela’s release and the first election – I threw a red clay brick through the window of the Market Theatre Gallery. It was a protected space of protest and a bastion of the cultural wing of the anti-apartheid movement, a space of hope and revolutionary expectation. The red clay brick, a sign of eurocentric Minimalism and the biblical symbol of our flesh, was re-cast as a cultural weapon in the name of African art. The smashed vitrine was liberated and the African Mask could dance once again, moving through the streets in the masquerade that never rests, can never be defined, is always shifting and changing. You cannot understand the dance unless you are the dancer and you have no right to wear the mask unless you understand its power. The history of African art is intertwined within the context of its contradictory histories, the complexities of its politics, identities, communities, struggles, culture, and faith. The AK47 is as integral to African identity as the mask, wax print fabric, and the mobile phone, yet these incongruous elements are rarely understood as inextricably interconnected.
Kendell Geers, The Wretched of the Earth, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.
In 1550, the Venetian cartographer Giovanni Battista Ramusio depicted the African continent with the South on top, an orientation that was followed by Leo Africanus in 1556 and again a century later by Giovanni Battista Nicolosi. Whilst it has since become the habit and norm to depict the round planet with North on top, the convention speaks more about the national identity of the mapmakers and the place of Europe than the lie of the land. Our image of the world map is determined by where we see our place on that map. “Since Mercator produced his global map over four hundred years ago for the age of Europeans world domination, cartographers have clung to it, despite its having been long outdated by events. They have sought to render it topical by cosmetic corrections,” wrote German historian Arno Peters, “… The European world concept, as the last expression of a subjective global view of primitive peoples, must give way to an objective global concept. The cartographic profession is, by its retention of old precepts based on the Eurocentric global concept, incapable of developing this egalitarian world map which alone can demonstrate the parity of all peoples of the earth”.
"The issue of the magazine that I have been invited to guest edit has been conceived of as an exorcism, breathing spirit back into matter through an interrogation of form and content."
The issue of the magazine that I have been invited to guest edit has been conceived of as an exorcism, breathing spirit back into matter through an interrogation of form and content. Black Americans, White Africans, European Arabs, indigenous and immigrant, all of us – whether from the continent or the ever-growing diaspora – are authentic and curious. African art, culture, and the fluidity of identity are rooted in the social, political, and spiritual communities of artists whose work opens our eyes to truths we are otherwise blind to see. The work of art exists at the intersection between flesh and spirit, between politics and identity, at the sharpest edge of the anvils of experience. “Politics, it goes without saying, is closely related to the social. The latter is to the former as the artist’s hand is to his mind… The [African] service will have been to contribute, with other peoples, to remaking the unit man and World: to binding the ﬂesh to the spirit, man to his fellow, stone to God. In other words, to binding the real to the spiritual surreal – through man not as the centre, but as the point, the navel, of the World.” (Leopold Senghor)
“A luta continua - A vitória é certa”
– Kendell Geers, Guest Editor
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.