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Giving Africa a contemporary vibe

14 May 2014, 12:16Obike Okafor

Dakar - The British Museum has a section dedicated to African art, but in trying to showcase the richness and ingenuity of art from Africa, the museum has decided to put its best foot forward.

According to the Chris Spring, who has been the curator of the African arts section at the British Museum since its inception in 2001, the museum decided to put contemporary African artists in the limelight, to disperse colonial beliefs about the makeup of the creative aesthetics on the continent.

“Africa is not a country, its art is not the masks, carvings or the bronze, its more than the famine, war and AIDs carried by the media. These are colonial mentalities about the continent, so we at the museum put contemporary artists like El Anatsui and Magadalene Odondo as mediators to change the idea of how African art is seen” Spring said.

The museum which shows more than 200 works from Africa, with at least 30 art pieces shown at a time, gives the contemporary vibes experienced on the continent.

Spring believes that Africa is a global phenomenon, and use examples like Raimi Gbadamosi and Leo Asemota, who add to the contemporary feel through; photography, film, video, performance, sculpture and drawings.

With the Biennale as a case in point, Spring insists that the mediator between art and audience are the artists, as it falls squarely on their shoulders, with the help of the curator to build a bridge.

Speaking on the Dak’art, Spring who was at the 2006 Dakar Biennale, said that he was impressed by the 2014 edition, but showed disappointment at the IFAN museum leg of the biennale.

“When you look at the Biennale, you will notice that truly contemporary art has changed on the continent, and it changes the way Europe sees African art forever” Spring said.

- News24


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