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Africa’s Art And Soul

2 minute read

Regardless of whether politicians and rock stars succeed in keeping Africa’s problems at the top of the world’s agenda, 2005 is sure to be — in London, at least — Africa’s year. Led by the Hayward Gallery’s exhibition “Africa Remix,” the city is hosting “Africa 05,” a yearlong series of events celebrating art and culture from across the continent. Running until April 16, “Africa Remix” is as colorful, diverse and dynamic as Africa itself. The largest show of contemporary African artists ever seen in Europe, it features paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, photography, film and video by some 70 artists from 23 countries stretching from Morocco to Mozambique.

The “remix” concept — blending old and new, sacred and mundane — is an apt metaphor for contemporary African art. Ghanaian artist El Anatsui makes a dazzling metal cloth, reminiscent of ceremonial fabrics, from thousands of aluminum bottle tops. Mozambican sculptor Gonçalo Mabunda domesticates assault rifles and other weapons by transforming them into furniture. In Le Monde Vomissant (The Vomiting World), Democratic Republic of Congo painter Chéri Samba depicts a starving globe throwing up the 404 Not Found

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Romuald Hazoumé from Benin stacks dozens of decorated plastic cans into a modern totem pole, while Cameroon-born Samuel Fosso’s self-portraits depict him as a tribal chief, an elegant woman and a pirate. Elsewhere as part of “Africa 05,” the British Museum and other venues will present the continent’s history, identity and culture through artifacts, dance, literature, drama, fashion, cinema and lots more. Africa’s year, indeed. tel: (44-20) 7960 5226; www.hayward.org.uk; www.africa05.co.uk

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