Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece
8 April – 17 September 2017
Fundação Sindika Dokolo is pleased to announce a partnership with documenta 14 in supporting the production of works by artists of African descent being exhibited in the fourteenth edition of the international art exhibition taking place in both Kassel, Germany its traditional home, and Athens, Greece from 8 April to 17 September 2017.
This key cultural collaboration supports 16 artists showing in documenta 14 to realise their artistic commissions underlining the foundation’s ongoing commitment to nurturing and promoting contemporary art from Africa.
Following the artists’ participation and the conclusion aftermath of documenta 14, Adam Szymczyk, the Artistic Director and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Curator at Large will initiate a new exhibition bringing together the artists; this will travel to Luanda, Angola, one of the most dynamic cities on the continent. The show will feature works presented in documenta 14 re-shaped within the local framework of the city, as well as, those of multiple new visual practitioners from Africa and the diaspora.
The objective of this partnership for both documenta 14 and Fundação Sindika Dokolo, is to create a unique multidisciplinary arts platform between Kassel, Athens and Luanda which will act as a creative cultural exchange within the international and local artistic communities. To facilitate this, documenta 14 and Fundação Sindika Dokolo will hold a conference over the duration of the exhibition organising a forum of ideas and discussion of politics, philosophy, identity and contemporary art in Africa to encourage greater understanding and collaboration with artists and scholars.
Artists include: Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria), Sammy Baloji (DR Congo), Bili Bidjocka (Cameroon), Manthia Diawara (Mali), Theo Eshetu (Ethiopia), Aboubakar Fofana (Mali), Pélagie Gbaguidi (Benin), iQhiya (South Africa), Bouchra Khalili (Morocco), Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana), Narimane Mari (Algeria), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria), Emeka Ogboh (Nigeria), Olu Oguibe (Nigeria), Tracey Rose (South Africa) and El Hadji Sy (Senegal).
documenta 14 and Fundação Sindika Dokolo will announce detailed plans of the exhibition and conference in the coming months.
Sindika Dokolo, Founder, Fundação Sindika Dokolo commented, “The last decade or so has seen the increased prominence of artists from Africa exhibiting across the contemporary artistic platform in the West. I am delighted to help in initiating this opportunity of showing the African artists being exhibited in documenta 14 for the first time on the continent. This unique exhibition comes at a timely moment in which we can showcase and celebrate a collection of immerse and diverse African talent. It is a critical concern of mine that the people of Angola — and of Africa — have access to contemporary cultural discourse, as well as being able to see and discover the artistic production of multiple voices from the continent and diaspora.”
Note to Editors
The Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art was created in 2004 in Luanda by Congolese-born businessman and art collector Sindika Dokolo and Angolese artist and curator Fernando Alvim. The collection now holds more than 5000 works from classical art to well-known and emerging contemporary artists from the continent such as Binelde Hyrcan (Angola), Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), William Kentridge (South Africa), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco) and Ghada Amer (Egypt) to African artists from the diaspora — Chris Ofili, Yinka Shonibare, Marlene Dumas, Kendell Geers, as well as global artists like Miquel Barceló, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The collection forged the formation of Fundação Sindika Dokolo created in 2006 to support the development of African culture while exposing contemporary art in Africa to Angolans and to the rest of the continent and beyond. Fundação Sindika Dokolo has initiated 590 events on the continent and supported 55,000 children in educational programmes, including the Trienal De Luanda in the heart of the continent.
In 2015, Fundação Sindika Dokolo established a pioneering project of recovering ‘looted’ classical works of African art in order to advance a local and a global dialogue on the epic story of reparations and repatriation of African civilizations. This unique project has enabled the successful return of five works to the Dundo Museum in Angola, their original home and where they were last exhibited.
ADAM SZYMCZYK is the artistic director of documenta 14. He was a cofounder of the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw, where he worked as curator from 1997 to 2003, when he assumed the post as director of Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland. In Basel, he organized exhibitions including Prisoners of Shothik Itihash with Naeem Mohaiemen, 2014; Stories, Myths, Ironies, and Other Songs: Conceived, Directed, Edited, and Produced by M. Auder with Michel Auder, 2013; Paul Sietsema and S.S.O.R. with Adriana Lara, both 2012; Line Wall with Sung Hwan Kim, 2011; Speaker Receiver with Moyra Davey, 2010; Where the Lions Are with Danh Vo, 2009; Chizhevsky Lessons with Micol Assaël, 2007; In Memoriam with Gustav Metzger and WIN FIRST DONT LAST WIN LAST DONT CARE with Lee Lozano, both 2006; Tomma Abts, 2005; and Earth, Wind and Fire with Piotr Uklanski, 2004 as well as group shows including How to Work and How to Work (More for) Less, both in 2011; and Strange Comfort (Afforded by the Profession) with Salvatore Lacagnina, 2010. In 2008 he cocurated the 5th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, When Things Cast No Shadow with Elena Filipovic, and in 2012 he curated Olinka, or Where Movement Is Created at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. He is a member of the board of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. In 2011 he received the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement from the Menil Foundation in Houston.
BONAVENTURE SOH BEJENG NDIKUNG, PhD, is a curator-at-large for documenta 14. An independent art curator and biotechnologist, he is founder and artistic director of Savvy Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of Savvy Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. Recent curatorial projects include The Conundrum of Imagination, 2017; An Age of our Own Making, 2016–17; Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality, 2016; and The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse, 2016. Ndikung has lectured at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Berlin; Aalto University, Helsinki; Art Basel; Villa Arson, Nice; Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Kiel; MASS Alexandria; University of Fine Arts of Hamburg; and the Gwangju Biennale.
Artists include: Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria), Sammy Baloji (DR Congo), Bili Bidjocka (Cameroon), Manthia Diawara (Mali), Theo Eshetu (Ethiopia), Aboubakar Fofana (Mali), Pélagie Gbaguidi (Benin), iQhiya (South Africa), Bouchra Khalili (Morocco), Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana), Narimane Mari (Algeria), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria), Emeka Ogboh (Nigeria), Olu Oguibe (Nigeria), El Hadji Sy (Senegal) and Tracey Rose (South Africa).
Born in 1946 in Oxford, England, to Nigerian parents, he has been a photographer since the early seventies, focusing in particular on large urban centres, especially on the African continent. He has covered all aspects of megacities, from the banal everyday occurrences to the increasing profusion of high-rises. With his photographs of everyday life in African cities, he brings viewers closer to urban life in Africa and conveys an impression of the rapid changes they are undergoing.
His focuses are reportage, architectural and cultural photography. One crucial biographical moment was receiving the 1987 reportage scholarship from Stern magazine; the ensuing picture series of the West African cities of Dakar, Kano and Lagos brought him renown.
Born in 1978 in Katanga, a resource-rich region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sammy Baloji uses photography to explore the histories, present-day realities and contradictions inherent in the formation of his homeland.
He explores the cultural, architectural and industrial heritage of the region in Congo. In order to question of official versions of the Belgian colonial history, he has researched in various key archives – for example the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren in Belgium. His series of photomontages, of revisited albums confront his historical research with the human and economic actuality (such as the new invasions of these territories by companies from Asia for instance.)
Born in 1962 in Douala, Cameroon, the sculptures and installations of Bili explore materials, objects, and things in their entirety, starting from the basis on which they exist, or for which they were made to exist, and ranging to all the properties and relations associated with these objects.
By working with chess for his documenta 14 commission, Bidjocka addresses the game as object and concept looking at the philosophy and ideology the game ensues, Chess is refigured as the epitome of the repressive eras, strategies, regalia, and structures still yearned for, as we slip from one political and economic power system to another.
Born in 1953 in Bamako, Mali, Diawara, a distinguished professor of film and literature in New York City, has contributed significantly to the study of black film throughout his career.
For documenta 14, he will premiere his film, An Opera of the World (2017) based on the African opera ‘Bintou Were, a Sahel Opera’ which narrates an eternal migration drama. Filmed on location in Bamako, in 2007, it serves as a mirror for Diawara to build an aesthetic and reflexive story, through song and dance, about the current and yet timeless drama of migration between North and South, and refugee crises.
Of Ethiopian descent, Eshetu was born in London in 1958. He explores perception, culture, and notions of the sacred through video art and documentary filmmaking.
He draws from anthropology, art history, scientific research, and religion—Catholic, African, Muslim, Buddhist—to explore clashes and harmonies of human subjectivity between world cultures in the global context. Though essentially conceptual, Eshetu’s work is always grounded in compelling aesthetic components, often achieved through fractal repetition, such as through kaleidoscopic mirroring, multi-screen projections, or mosaic-like patterning of images. Several works concentrate on video’s formal components of time and light.
Born in Mali in 1967, Aboubakar Fofana left the African continent at an early age for Paris. A master craftsman and calligrapher, he creates stunning textiles and artworks using fermented indigo vat dyeing and mineral mud-dye techniques. His work is motivated by a love for the natural world and its cycles and rhythms, a deep concern for the environment, and a vision to share West African materials and techniques whilst helping to reinvigorate and sustain important traditions.
Born in Dakar, Senegal in 1965, of Benin origin. She engages in a multidisciplinary practice to manipulate the misuse of history, the deconstruction of stereotypes and myths to create open spaces and new landscapes of a global world. She is interested in the history of black people and her origin that includes a dark part of history, where racism and misanthropy prevails.
“As an artist, I have included matter as a dimension into the manner to perceive the real. I am at an intersection between the material and in the immaterial. It has to do with the order of breath and the unseen. Working in such a space helps me to see a different reality and to decipher my outlook, as if I was turning transparent and that, at that very moment I could merge with my surroundings … ”
iQhiya Collective is a collective of young black female artists based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. They specialise in a broad range of artistic disciplines including performance art, video, photography, sculpture and other mediums.
iQhiya is an Xhosa word for the cloth women use on their heads to carry water vessels. This is meant to represent “unshakable power” and an infinite love for the collective. The iQhiya collective is an art collective which wants to challenge the South African art monopoly that favours white, male owned galleries and black, male artists through collaborative work asserting their presence in important art venues in South Africa.
The collective was formed in June 2015 in Cape Town as a response to young black female artists voices being marginalized, thus forming a collective that can magnify their voices.
It aims to create a safe space where female artists can share their concepts and ideas, and forms a network of women that can continuously display works of art as a collective and support each other’s individual careers. They seek to contest and transform invisible institutional lines that consciously or unconsciously continue to marginalize black female voices in the art world.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1975, Khalili’s work explores the broad topics of migration and displacement through the mediums of film, video, installation, photography and prints. Largely inspired by the idea of journeys, both literally and conceptually, she lays bare the socially constructed nature of borders and challenges our fixed ideas of identity and nationhood.
Featuring in documenta 14 is Khalili’s The Tempest Society (2017) a video triptych exploring collective performative practices. The film is set in Athens, where Khalili collaborated with three non-actors to develop collectively a series of scenes addressing various situations epitomizing the crisis of democratic representation and a potential new collective to come into being.
Born in 1987 in Tamale, Ghana, Mahama’s choice of jute as an artist material, draped over buildings and concealing their features, continues a long history of its use as a fabric in West Africa — for window curtains, traditional costumes, and decoration. After collecting the sacks, a group of people the artist calls “collaborators”— mostly rural-urban migrants — stitch together the huge jute sculptures in a convivial atmosphere. The spaces in which this stitching is done — be it a disused railway station, a silo, or the courtyard of his parents’ house — inform the work: the sculpture takes the shape of its place of production as much as it embodies the spirit of that space. The effect is to create a new cartography of these cities, mapping and networking spaces based on the motives and purposes that Mahama concocts between them.
Born in 1969 in Algiers, Algeria, Filmmaker Narimane Mari has developed a unique cinematic language to engage with the complexities and the legacy of colonialism, specifically the histories of early colonial “scientific expeditions” and “taming campaigns” led by the French.
In her latest film, Le fort des fous (2017) she portrays a young community of nomads and wanderers forming an imagined utopian society in response to imperialist rule. She shows us that formative experiences speak closely to emotional realities and, in the process, reveal how social, historical, and political forces form subjectivities.
Born in Kano, Nigeria, in 1974, Otobong Nkanga uses all kinds of media: drawing, installation, video and performance within her practice. She seeks to pervade the complex layers of the traces left by nature, left by humans. She examines ideas of land, home, and displacement. She researches how these notions are connected with memory. She digs into the fabrics of time. She delves into broad historic contexts and present realities. She engages with a wide spectrum of disciplines. She submerges herself in archives, examines raw material, and consults experts.
Objects and landscapes are inhabited by memory and emotion. Plants, stones, dust, glimmer, archival material are recurring elements in her complex installations. They are evidence of what our environments are actually made of. In her performances, she narrates their impact on the past, the present, and a possible future. In many works she also lets a multitude of others narrate their stories about the land: Was it home? Was it a strange place? Did it make them who they are?
Born in 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, sound is Emeka Ogboh’s primary medium of expression, from which he departs to engage other mediums in his efforts to explore the complexities of being in our world.
He is interested in what Richard Leppert, in his essay “Reading the Sonoric Landscape,” calls the “ubiquity of sonority.” In the context of Lagos, for example, sound is not only heard and seen but also felt, determining the pace and texture of the city. Ogboh explores how private, public, and collective memories and historiographies are translated, transformed, transcribed, and engraved in sound and sonority.
Over a multidimensional art career, he intersects the personal with the collective in his writings and paintings; he creates poignant narratives of which the human condition is the central leitmotif. He acts as a seer, a troubled recluse, or a confident bohemian at home in a perilous world.
Oguibe’s Biafra Time Capsule (2017) exhibited at documenta 14 reflects present-day narratives of displacement through books, photographs and magazines representing the human tragedy experienced by Biafra during the 1960s Nigerian civil war.
Born in 1974 in Durban, South Africa, Tracey Rose is best known for her unique and complex visual language and her performance-based practice represented through her photographs and video work.
Through her art, Rose has questioned different stereotypes, such as cultural stereotypes imposed on Africans, women, and African women. She belongs to a generation of artists charged with reinventing the artistic gesture in post-Apartheid South Africa. Within this fold, she has defined a provocative visual world whose complexities only reflect those of the task at hand. Refusing to simplify reality for the sake of clarity, the artist creates rich characters that inhabit worlds as interrelated as the many facets of one’s personality. Her reference to theatre and the carnival tradition also places her work in the realm of satire.
El Hadji Sy
Born in 1954 in Dakar, Senegal, El Hadji Sy’s interdisciplinary practice represents a conceptual and aesthetic nerve within post-Independence art in Africa.
Though he has exhibited internationally as a painter since the late 1970s, he founded the multidisciplinary project space Tenq, a Wolof term that signifies “articulation” in 1980. Taking charge of an army barracks on the seafront of Dakar, this became the first rendition of the Village des Arts, a creative hub for 70 artists, actors, musicians, filmmakers and writers; he continued to remodel his curatorial dialogue in other locations during the 1980s and 1990s.
The international workshops that he organised under Village des Arts in Saint-Louis du Sénégal (1994) and Dakar (1996) enabled new networks to be forged between artists working in continental Africa and in Europe at a time when the internet and social media did not exist.
28 June 2017