Shifting Views: People & Politics in Contemporary African Art

  • BALTIMORE, Maryland
  • /
  • December 04, 2016

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David Goldblatt (South African, born 1930). Margaret Mcingana, who later became famous as the singer Margaret Singana, Zola, Soweto, October 1970. 1970, printed 2014. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Joanne Gold and Andrew Stern, BMA 2015.101. © David Goldblatt

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Shifting Views: People & Politics in Contemporary African Art, the first exhibition of contemporary African art drawn from the museum’s collection. It features a selection of powerful prints, drawings, and photographs by seven artists who offer pointedly political perspectives on the lives of Africans and their diasporic descendants. The exhibition is on view in the African Art Galleries December 18, 2016–June 18, 2017.

“Shifting Views provides visitors with an opportunity to experience a broader range of African art from the BMA’s outstanding collection,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “These works on paper demonstrate the common viewpoints of contemporary African artists examining the effects of global capitalism.”

Exhibition highlights include Senam Okudzeto’s All Facts Have Been Changed to Protect the Ignorant drawings, reminiscent of early capitalist drives that fueled the trade of Africans into slavery; Julie Mehretu’s Landscape Allegories (2003–04), which mark the journeys of migrants in and explore the environmental impact of late-stage capitalism; William Kentridge’s upending racial presumptions in Industry & Idleness (1986–87); and Gavin Jantjes’ critique of state-sponsored racial violence in his famed A South African Colouring Book (1974–75). David Goldblatt quietly confronts the intersections of capitalism and racism in a 1970 photograph taken on assignment for Anglo American, a giant gold mining conglomeration; Robin Rhode’s Pan's Opticon Studies (2009) addresses race-based surveillance measures; and Diane Victor’s Smoke Screen (Frailty and Failing) of 2010 re-presents the disappeared: people missing and incarcerated.

The exhibition is curated by Associate Curator for African Arts Shannen Hill, along with Kevin Tervala, Former Curatorial Fellow in the Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia & the Pacific Islands.

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