Halida Boughriet, Diner des anonymes (from the Pandora series), 2014. African Artists. Color photograph, 47.2 x 31.5 in (120 x 80 cm). Image courtesy of Richard Taittinger Galley, New York
NEW YORK, NY.- After a great showing at the just concluded Art Basel in Basel, contemporary African art is about to take center stage again in an exhibition that is bound to generate a lot of excitement. The show titled Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? will be held at Richard Taittinger Gallery in New York. It features works by thirteen African artists who, though, have exhibited around the world are not well-known to the New York art audience.
Borrowing its title from Sidney Poitier’s epic comedy-drama film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? highlights Africa’s gain in the global art space that cumulated with an outstanding performance at the 56th Venice Biennale.
Venice Biennale featured an impressive number of African artists of different generations whose works showed that Africa is already at the dinner table. As with Art Basel, many of the artists at the Venice Biennale established the fact that African artists have come a long way in the effort to subtly and forcefully insert themselves into global art discourse.
Despite the success recorded by African artists through the years in the global art arena, many in the West continue to disclaim their place at the dinner table. “Folks can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that African artists have now taken and secured their seat at the dinner table, invited or not!,” notes Chika Okeke-Agulu, artist, art historian, and curator specializing in African and African Diaspora art history.
The list of artists in this art exhibition includes Aida Muluneh, Amalia Ramanankirahina, Amina Menia, Beatrice Wanjiku Njoroge, Chika Modum, Chike Obeagu, Ephrem, Solomon Tegegn, Gopal Dagnogo, Halida Boughriet, Ibe Onyeka, Sam Hopkins, and Uche Uzorka.
Curated by Ugochukwu – Smooth C. Nzewi, artists, art historian and specialist in modern and contemporary African art and African Diaspora, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner contests the narrow notion of aesthetic homogeneity in contemporary art African art. Nzewi explains the context of the exhibition thus:
Of crucial importance to the exhibition is an earnest desire to question received or fixed assumptions of “Africaness” as either a cultural signifier or aesthetic primer in the work of contemporary African artists, particularly as it relates to their reception in the West. The work of these artists challenges such bias often seen through the lens of identity politics in the global art marketplace.
Artworks in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner reveal an amazing variety of ideas and concepts informed by individual artist motivation and practice aimed at the global art environment. While the artists acknowledge their African root and connection, their works are significantly different and their creative visions reflect global events and changing times.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? on view through August 23, 2015, at Richard Taittinger Gallery, 154 Ludlow St 154 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002, USA