As It Is – Africa Applauded

The Mojo Gallery
33 Al Serkal Avenue
8th Street
Al Quoz

14 – 31 March 2011

As It Is! Africa Applauded is the final instalment of a four part multi-faceted exhibition series titled As It Is! Contemporary Art From Africa and The Diaspora. It is the first ever group exhibition presenting contemporary African art in the Middle East. Over four months As It Is! showcases over 21 leading and emerging artists who articulate a progressively evolutionary break from European stereotypes about ‘contemporary African art.’ The concept for the exhibitions is an artist-led ideology. It is about their narrative, their experience of being an artist and expressing their identity.

As It Is! Africa Applauded will feature some of the most dynamic artists working on the continent and the diaspora today. It is an exhibition for the artist, about the artist. It is an opportunity to express their own narrative and for the viewer to hear the artists’ true voices - and in so doing, experience the core of the artists represented.

All are internationally acclaimed artists working with diverse expressive mediums and inspirations, with common and not so common converging themes including post-colonial African realities; personal and cultural dynamics; issues of gender and race; globalisation, environmentalism and consumerism. These are critical issues that affect and reflect modern civilization - resulting in creativity spurned from conflicting as well as inspiring energies.

The exhibition provides an opportunity to look at the artist and their creative purpose as individuals rather than as an ‘African’ collective.
For the UAE audience, the exhibition provides a window into the artistic soul of Africa and her Diaspora and an unparalleled opportunity experience works of some of her greatest artists.

Curated by Annabelle Nwankwo - Mu’azu

Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London

12 April – 23 June 2007

Tapping into the Known – Is an exhibition of Poetry, Paintings and Installations by the late Poet Christopher Okigbo and his artist daughter, Obi Okigbo that emerged as a result of ‘conversations’ between Obi and her father. Okigbo, considered to be one of Africa’s pre-eminent and enigmatic poets, died in the battlefields of the Nigerian civil war, in September 1967, leaving his wife and two year-old daughter, Obiageli.

Her ‘conversations’ with her father have manifested into an exuberance of colour, form and poetic content, not only as a result of finding her fathers poetry but from her own aesthetic and personal experiences. The link between Ibo mythology and belief systems, symbols and themes are common to both her father’s poetry and her art. However, she inhabits his words and themes in a distinct and inspiring way resulting in her own breath-taking interpretations of those common themes. The twist in the tail is that through this exploration she has redefined her identity, finally finding her father and therefore herself. One would even venture to say that her father has found her - reunited with his daughter in the spiritual as well as the artistic realm – intimating an extremely celestial connection.

The rationale behind the exhibition is to bring to the fore the sheer brilliance and sensibilities of Christopher Okigbo’s poetry which continues to attract scholars all over the world yet these works, considered seminal in the development of modern African poetry and literature are today out of print. By juxtaposing his poems with the mesmerising and at times haunting paintings of his daughter, it is our aim to exhibit two invigorating and thought provoking artists working in different artistic mediums, and the spiritual link that encapsulates their independent visions.

This exhibition is an intrinsic part of the celebrations planned by the Christopher Okigbo Foundation to mark and honour his legacy in 2007 and we are honoured to be part of the year long celebrations which will include The Ojoto Memorial Service in August 2007, Harvard Symposium in September 2007 and re-publication of the Labyrinths with Chinua Achebe and several other publications by scholars in this field. tapping

Further information from the curators notes can be downloaded together with the catalogue as a PDF.

… We have a responsibility to the African peoples on the continent and Diaspora, to hold up beacons of light, in this period of darkness… When civilizations are long gone, only the Arts remain as testimony of our evolution… Christopher Okigbo Foundation

NIMBUS GALLERY 2003 nimbus