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FanCon: Cape Town Comic Con

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For the last fourteen years Readers Den, a Cape Town-based comic shop founded by Mahdi and Nizar Abrahams, have organised an open and animated event known as the Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). In response to the event’s explosive growth and popularity over the last five years, last weekend saw the first iteration of FanCon: Cape Town Comic Con, an extension of the original event held at The Lookout, a larger (but not large enough) venue at the V&A Waterfront. 

'What Time Is It on the Clock of the World' Tracey Rose at the International Festival on Feminism and Public Space in Hamburg

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"... the slave who is not able to take change of his own revolt deserves no pity for his lot." - Tracey Rose
From the 4 - 7 May 2016, the Stadtkuratorin Hamburg held the 'What Time Is It on the Clock of the World*' festival and symposium that brought together artists, musicians and performers as well as international theoreticians and activists to discuss questions around racism and sexism "in relation to the (in)visibility of current migration, stereotyped gender roles and material reproduction conditions."
The festival was conceived by Sophie Goltz (Artistic Director Stadtkuratorin Hamburg) in collaboration with Hengameh Yaghoobifarah (journalist, editor, Berlin) and the title comes from an expression of the U.S. human rights activist, philosopher, and feminist Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015), who campaigned for social change, for the workers movement, and for the rights of the Afro-American population. In her 1974 book 'Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century,' Boggs shows how conditions change and that if progressive ideas don’t change to keep up, they become limitations to human and social development.
To give context to this necessary festival and symposium, we've chosen to highlight the work of the only artist from the African continent in attendance, Tracey Rose. Rose took an original and challenging puppet show to Hamburg, titled …don’t shoot the messenger!” Mnemosyne defends Mercury (45 min), performed in both German and English. The script for the show is published below, alongside images from the live performance.

Amref Health Africa Artball, New York: Behind the scenes with curator Atim Annette Oton

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Nearly thirty artists from across the continent have already come on board by donating artworks for auction at the Amref Health Africa ArtBall to be held in New York on Wednesday the 8th of June 2016. The works have been donated to the #AmrefArtBall in order to help raise funds for Amref Health Africa's innovative grassroot programmes that span across thirty-five countries and touch millions of people throughout sub-Saharan Africa every year. In this article curator Atim Annette Oton tells us about the curatorial framework for the event, and what we can expect to see.

1:54 New York, It's A Wrap!

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1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair closed its second New York edition on Sunday, May 8, 2016 amid strong sales and attendance. This edition welcomed over 6,500 visitors, including museum directors, curators, and collectors affiliated with over 20 museums and nonprofit institutions. Over 80% of participating galleries sold works on the preview day of the fair.
By the fair’s conclusion, multiple booths were either sold out or close to sold out.

ComicArtAfrica Juin 2016: Su Opperman s'entretient avec Somto Ajuluchukwu, Directeur Artistique de Vortex, Inc. au Nigéria

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À la rencontre de Vortex, Inc. Née à Lagos, au Nigéria, cette société de contenu créatif et de divertissement est en train de changer le visage de la production de bandes dessinées en Afrique. Grâce à Vortex, la culture africaine trouve un moyen d'expression unique, essentiellement par le biais du langage visuel emblématique de la bande dessinée. Afin d'exalter le continent, Vortex mise sur l'exportation d'histoires africaines créées par des Africains vers un public plus large et publie des récits prenant le ton et les saveurs épicées de la Patrie.

'Zoom Avant Sur L’Afrique:' New Africa Film Festival – shnit Shortfilmfestival in conversation with Africa World Now Projects and afrikafé

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ART AFRICA a pris contact avec les organisateurs de deux festivals de films africains contemporains, The New Africa Film Festival et shnit International Shortfilmfestival  déjà initiateurs de grands changements  afin de faciliter le dialogue: où les organisations pourraient se poser leurs propres questions entre elles pour en savoir plus sur leurs projets respectifs et des chevauchements propices. 

Une autre tradition abandonnée. Par Sean O'Toole

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En 1940, alors âgé de seize ans, James Baldwin frappe à la porte de l'appartement austère du peintre Beauford Delaney au 181 Greene Street à Soho. Baldwin n'était pas encore l'homme de lettres et activiste que l'on connaît aujourd'hui, mais plutôt un adolescent maigrichon effectuant, comme il l'écrit plus tard, un "travail dickensien" après l'école dans un atelier de misère sur Canal Street. Delaney, de son côté, était alors trentenaire et assez célèbre pour que le magazine Life lui consacre un article, ce qui était une performance dans cette Amérique d'avant la télévision. Deux ans avant qu'il ne rencontre son mentor, Life mentionnait Delaney dans un article intitulé 'Noirs : Les minorités posent problème aux États-Unis également.'

'Conterfeit Worlds: Malala Andrialavidrazana' By Ashraf Jamal

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In February 2016, we welcomed artist Malala Andrialavidrazana to Cape Town for the second iteration of THAT ART FAIR, an initiative of ART AFRICA magazine. As one of our Featured Artists, she exhibited her dreamy cartographical compositions, inspiring viewers to question the mercurial nature of official narratives and categorical documentation, like maps, anthropological and scientific texts, and even currency. Critic and arts journalist, Ashraf Jamal, explores the nuances of Andrialavidrazana's vivid work.

Underground Art Activist: kEda Gomes

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Over the passed weekend, South Africa experienced its first ever FanCon: Cape Town Comic Con at the V & A Waterfront (7 - 8 May 2016). The inaugural event for South African comic fans and self-confessed 'geeks' clearly indicates the growth in the local comic industry over the last few years, and for every artist that is seen, there are twice as many (if not more) who remain unseen apart from a core following.

In this vein, Su Opperman spoke to underground art activist kEda Gomes about her influences, her practice and her crossover interests between comic art, street art and illustration.

Dak'Art 2016: The City in the Blue Daylight

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Initiated in 1996 by the Republic of Senegal and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, Dak’Art, the Dakar Biennale, is the first major international art event dedicated to the Contemporary African creation. This year marks the 12th edition of the event, and will take place from May 3 to July 11, 2016 under the title ‘The City in the Blue Daylight’, a name given to it by the Artistic Director Simon Njami. 

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, NYC, Opens This Week

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1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, a leading transnational platform dedicated to promoting Africa and African-related art practices and projects, will return to New York from May 6 - 8, 2016, with press and collector previews on Thursday, May 5, 2016. The second U.S. iteration of the fair will take place at the 25,000 square-foot manufacturing warehouse Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where the New York edition of 1:54 launched in 2015, and will coincide with Frieze Art Week.

‘Skattie Celebrates’ presents Rose Gelderblom Waddilove

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Saturday, May 7th marks the fourth Skattie Celebrates exhibition-party as Skattie presents the work of emerging artist Rose Gelderblom Waddilove

This edition, hosted at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, follows on previous such exhibitions, where Skattie presented the works of then largely unknown artists Laura Windvogel, Unathi Mkonto and Thania Petersen, all of who have gone on to become acclaimed artists in their own right.

ART AFRICA In Conversation with Patricia Caille

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Patricia Caille teaches in the Information-Communication department a the University of Strasbourg. As an academic she has coordinated multiple research projects in relation to Maghreb cinema, co-organised two conferences for Panorama de cinémas du Maghreb et du Moyen Orient and recently took part in a roundtable at Carthage Film Festival. ART AFRICA spoke to Patricia about the history of cinema in North Africa, the European lens, and the importance of festivals such as Carthage.

Hats off: an intimate view of Irma Stern and her inner circle

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Admirers of Irma Stern living in Cape Town will have a rare opportunity to view the important painting, Portrait of Freda Feldman in Basotho Hat, before it goes under the hammer at a Strauss & Co auction in Johannesburg on 23 May 2016. The painting will be on view at the artist’s former Cape Town home, The Firs, now the UCT Irma Stern Museum, on 4 and 5 May (Wednesday and Thursday) between 10am and 5pm. 

In conjunction with this preview, Strauss & Co Art Specialists are running an Art Valuation Day at the Museum, to raise funds for the museum. Members of the public are invited to bring their artworks to the museum to be valued.

African Artists Come Together To Donate Artworks to Amref Health Africa ArtBall, New York

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Nearly thirty artists from across the continent have already come on board by donating artworks for auction at the Amref Health Africa ArtBall to be held in New York on Wednesday the 8th of June 2016. The works have been donated to the #AmrefArtBall in order to help raise funds for Amref Health Africa's innovative grassroot programmes that span across thirty-five countries and touch millions of people throughout sub-Saharan Africa every year. 

'In Search of a Nation' at the Njelele Art Station

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Two concurrent, intersecting exhibitions are set to open this evening at the Njelele Art Station in Harare, Zimbabwe: 'Indlovukazi,' by Buhlebezwe Siwani, and Sikhumbuzo Makandula's 'In Search of a Nation,' in collaboration with Moffat Takadiwa. ART AFRICA spoke to Makandula about his performance, the origins of the exhibition, and the personal and post-colonial narratives that connect these artists and their respective practices.

Je Suis Le Peuple: Anna Roussillon

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Anna Roussillon is a filmmaker and academic. Born in Beirut and raised in Cairo, she currently teaches in Lyon, translates literary texts and participates in radio programmes while working on various film projects related to Egypt. Je Suis Le Peuple, her first feature documentary, follows the story of Farraj and his family, and was given the top award at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. It also received the Grand Prix Janine Bazin for Best Feature Film at Entrevues Belfort Film Festival and is part of the ACID (Association du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion) programme at Cannes.

'African Robots' by Danny Shorkend

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"Specialisation, while allowing for focus and the acquisition of knowledge, comes at a price. One loses a holistic sensibility. One loses the sense of the interconnectedness of disciplines and indeed, of knowledge itself. In this light, the innovative art, design, technical know-how and educational potential that ‘African Robots’ offers is pertinent, not simply conceptual," writes Danny Shorkend, following the exhibition 'African Robots' at the MUTI Gallery earlier this year.

Amref Health Africa ArtBall, New York: Calls for South African Artists

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The Inaugural Amref Health Africa ArtBall is a premier contemporary African art auction and philanthropic event being held on Wednesday, 8th June, 2016 from 7-10PM at 159 Bleecker Street in New York City. To date nearly thirty artists, including the likes of Solly Cissé (Senegal), Michael Soi (Kenya), Paa Joe (Ghana), Tahir Carl Karmali (Kenya), George Lilanga (Tanzania) Wiz Kudowor (Ghana) and Saidou Dicko (Burkina Faso) have generously donated their artwork to the #AmrefArtBall in an attempt to raise funds for Amref Health Africa's innovative grassroot programmes, which span across thirty-five countries and touch millions of people throughout sub-Saharan Africa every year. If you're a South African artist and would like to be a part of this breakthrough event, this is your opportunity.

'Hassan Hajjaj: My Rock Stars' by Cynthia Becker

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Cynthia Becker reviews Hassan Hajjaj's recent exhibition, 'My Rock Stars,' which ran until 6 March 2016 at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. 'The commercial feel of his work should not detract from the seriousness of his artistic mission,' writes Becker, 'His photographs can be characterised as a reflection on transnational diaspora communities, capturing the innovative cultural and aesthetic forms immigrants have created in their new homes.'

Malick Sidibé: A Tribute

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In 1960, Mali gained its independence, but photographer Malick Sidibé (1936-2016) maintained that music was the real revolution of the era. Across the capital of Bamako, young men and women went out of their way to energetically and radically redefine themselves by embracing world youth culture, especially rock 'n roll music, fashion and more liberal attitudes. In an interview with The Guardian in 2010, Sidibé explained, "We were entering a new era, and people wanted to dance. Music freed us." At this time, Sidibé emerged as the ‘eye of Bamako,’ capturing the youthful exuberance of his compatriots on his Kodak Brownie (crucially equipped with a flash) as they danced up close to each other, wore bell bottom trousers, rode motorbikes or posed with their Jimi Hendrix records. In so doing, Sidibé produced images of an Africa that hitherto did not ‘exist’ in the eyes of the west.

Buhlebezwe Siwani: Liminal spaces

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Buhlebezwe Siwani, Cape Town-based artist and member of the iQhiya collective spoke to ART AFRICA about her practice, the relationship between the individual and the collective, and the deeply liminal subtext that surrounds her work.


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