ARTS, STYLE & ENTERTAINMENT
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Black & African Imprint Center Stage At Venice Art Biennale
NANA OPOKU (AFROSCOPE), DREAMER SERIES, 2021. © NANA OPOKU
The 59th Venice Art Biennale will feature 79 national pavilions alongside the International Exhibition, which will present almost 1,500 works by 213 artists – the vast majority of whom are female and including many who are participating in the Biennale for the first time.
Interspersed with contemporary works will be five “time capsules” displaying unseen and historic works and objects, and three pavilions of special note to the readers of The African Times/USA. Nine the Pavilions represent Africa: Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana. Cote d’ Ivoire, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The Ghana Pavilion will present Black Star – The Museum as Freedom, referencing the black star in the center of the Ghanaian flag, which acts as a symbol of liberation from colonialism.
Designed by architect DK Osseo-Asare, the pavilion will feature large-scale immersive works by young artists Na Chainkua Reindorf, Afroscope and Diego Araúja, who, according to curator Nana Oforiatta Ayim, “use historical imperatives to create all new visions of the world, by drawing on mythology, infusing technology with spirit, and creating new creole languages not born of separation, trauma or pain”.
SONIA BOYCE. PHOTO: SARAH WEAL
Sonia Boyce’s exhibition will feature a multi-media installation involving video, sound, wallpaper and sculptural objects. It will draw on the highly collaborative practice Boyce is renowned for: she often invites participants to come together and speak, sing or move as forms of response to the past or present. By depicting these social encounters she explores the dynamics between people, often focusing on gestures. In doing so she shows the importance of intuitive risk-taking in leading to artistic innovation. Emma Dexter, director of visual arts at the British Council and commissioner of the pavilion, says: “Boyce’s work celebrates overcoming difference and division through creative collaboration and dialogue – now needed more than ever in these challenging times.”
US Pavilion Venice 2022
Featuring a new body of work by American sculptor Simone Leigh, this will be “the first time the US Pavilion is dedicated entirely to the experiences and contributions of Black women,” according to curator Eva Respini. The exhibition will draw on artistic traditions from within Africa and the African diaspora and merge disparate narratives, featuring monumental figurative sculptures in bronze, as well as work in Leigh’s signature materials – ceramic and raffia. In October, Leigh will convene scholars, performers, writers and artists from around the world for Loophole of Retreat: Venice, which will, Respini says, “mark the pinnacle of this historic project”.
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