All posts filed under: Contemporary Art

Poetics of Location: Beyond “Africa Focus” of the Paris Art Fair 2017

Version  fraiçaise traduite par Janine Gaelle In the train from Paris to Berlin, I reflected on the events of the previous days. It was the last weekend of March 2017 and the Parisian art world was busy. This year, Paris decided to jump on the bandwagon of one of the most fashionable rave: the renewed focus on the African continent and its artists. The events, grouped under two main headings  – the Art Paris Art Fair and 100% Afrique – were further broken down into satellite programs of exhibitions and talks in such places as La Villette, Galeries La Fayette, Galerie Des Galeries, La Colonie and many more. The Art Paris Art Fair, however, was the most literal in its claim of focusing on Africa by adopting “Africa Guest of Honour” as its subtitle. In this, the well-meaning intention was to give African artists a world stage and the corresponding red carpet to showcase and sell their artistic productions. The Art Fair took place at the Grand Palais, a large historic site and exhibition hall built in 1897 in preparation for the Universal …

On Permanently Temporary Lives: Reflections on Somolu/Bariga – Lagos

In the first quarter of 2016, I made an off-handed decision to find some semblance of coordination in the otherwise chaotic over-the-place kind of life I have led for a long time. This decision could easily have been inspired by the sheer weariness from answering questions like “where are you based?” that often serve as openers to conversations. Not that it mattered much what image people had of me, but at some point, I began asking the same question to myself – “where are you based?”. It was not in a bid to find a fixed answer. As a matter of fact, just as nature abhors a vacuum, I abhor anything that attempts to permanently occupy a vacuum. I can invariably say that all my life, I have been hopping from one box to another in order to escape the very notion of finality. I am not wired to think of life in any way order than a perpetual journey of which all who are born will die on the road. The question of where …

Africa: A new game of “Scrabble”

We are in Amsterdam. We have been invited in the context of the 5th edition of the Unseen Photo Fair/Festival which takes places every year. We are African artists, curators and cultural operators. I have been scheduled alongside these proactive African cultural CEOs and Artistic Directors to speak in a panel. The panel in question is called ‘Platforms in Africa’. A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by a writer from Volkskrant, a very popular newspaper in The Netherlands with a readership of about 270,000. The content of this interview revolved around the most sensational perception: the sudden attention and renewed fixation on ‘Africa’ So here we are to discuss our various initiatives. We are set to go. After rounds of gruellingly long introductions by the moderator which made the whole affair seem like a live performative reading of the “About” page of websites and artists bios, we run out of time. I was disappointed to say the least. I have been invited one time too many to this kind of panel discussions, that …