Art & LifeSocietyArt beyond the gallery walls


Posted on Friday, 12 February 2016 16:51

Art beyond the gallery walls

By The Africa Report

Fabrice Monteiro’s The Prophecy was a highlight of Lagos Photo in biennale boom year 2015Okwui Enwezor was the name on everyone's lips in 2015 as he became the first African to curate the Venice Biennale.

Entitled 'All the World's Futures' and featuring a significant number of black and African artists, the biennale grabbed the attention of art enthusiasts on the continent and the world over.

The writer and curator Simon Njami, who directed the Rencontres de Bamako for 10 years, has just been announced as the new director of Dak'art. The festival returns in 2016 for a month filled with art, tours and discussions in the Senegalese capital, and the 'Off ' held in Saint-Louis.

The long-awaited Zeitz Museum in Cape Town is scheduled to open towards the end of 2016, and the year will close with the Addis FotoFest

Marrakech will also host its sixth biennale in 2016. The three-month-long programme will be curated by Reem Fadda of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, with the theme 'Not New Now.'

This year's instalment follows the trend of many other countries across the continent – notably Ghana with Chale Wote Street Art Festival – to take art beyond elitist gallery walls and give access to the wider public.

In Lagos, a growing number of independent artists and galleries are expanding the city's arts land- scape. Among those worth visiting are Omenka Gallery, Art Twenty One, and concept stores Alára and Temple Muse.

Photographer Yagazie Emezi has launched the online platform Bialere to showcase the works of young photographers. The long-awaited Zeitz Museum in Cape Town is scheduled to open towards the end of 2016, and the year will close with the Addis FotoFest. ●

Marie-Cécile Zinsou, Director, Fondation Zinsou 

"Fondation Zinsou has just had its 10th birthday and we are creating a new project. We have a very formal building for the foundation so we want to go back to our basics, more like our museum in Ouidah. We should be in the new space by April.

We also have our new app, Wakpon, which allows you to see our collection from your phone or tablet. I see the map of museums and galleries in Africa as a map of trust, and it is changing. There is so much communication now. 

Nigeria is very interesting. It is very wealthy yet has almost no [arts] infrastructure. I think it is going to be booming with private museums and more galleries soon. The fact that we aren't all trying to create antipodal museums shows how we have our own answers to our questions. 

The Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali is someone who is going to change the image of women artists in the region. Her Hââbré scarification project that impressed in 2014 at Lagos Photo was shown at Quai Branly in Paris, while in 2015 an ongoing series, 'Awoulaba/ Taille Fine', was shown at the [Lagos photo] festival."

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