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"Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman," 2017, from the series "Fortia." Photo by Keyezua, courtesy of Nataal.

8 African Art Events You Need To See In NYC This May

OkayAfrica's guide to African art in New York City this month.

The month of May is another prime moment of the year with art fairs around the world, especially with Frieze New York launching this week. The Big Apple will be graced with substantial satellite fairs for African art, including this year's New York addition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

Take a look at eight African art events you can't miss this month below.


1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair || Pioneer Works

"Untitled," Sanlé Sory. Photo courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery.

1-54 NY is the leading international art fair dedicated to promoting contemporary art from diverse African perspectives. Just coming off a successful launch on the continent in Marrakech, Morocco, its fourth edition is set to display works from 21 galleries from artists including Phoebe Boswell, Derrick Adams, Malick Sidibe, Gideon Appah, Ralph Ziman and more.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair runs from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6 at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn.

Without Qualities || Addis Fine Art + Private View New York

Luam Melake, "Black," 2017. Photo courtesy of Addis Fine Art.

Addis Fine Art (AFA) and Private View New York, a new private loft showroom in Soho, holds its first exhibition of Without Qualities, featuring AFA artists Tariku Shiferaw and Luam Melake. This collaboration brings together two phenomenal Ethiopian-American artists who fuse the cultural influences of their backgrounds and their lives in New York. Although their origins are similar, their artistic approaches and processes are what differ. Both artists do create abstract compositions using carefully selected multi-layered materials that represent the interconnectivity of art and industry, as well as portray abstract narratives that evoke the viewer's emotions and memory.

Without Qualities is open through Sunday, May 6, and can be viewed by appointment from Tuesday, May 8 to Thursday, May 31 at Private View in Soho.

PAPER Plains || Sotheby's Institute of Art

Sotheby's Institute of Art presents PAPER Plains, a solo exhibition of Kenyan artist Tahir Carl Karmali, curated by Klaudia Draber. Karmali's photographs, sculptures and a sound installation will be on view, exploring his longstanding interest in migrant identities and the sense of belonging in two recent bodies of work. One of which is PAPER:work, where Karmali tackles the complexities of identity of African migrants as shaped by nationality, authenticity, documentation and borders.

PAPER Plains is on view until Tuesday, May 8 at Sotheby's Institute of Art in Manhattan.

The Other Art Fair || Brooklyn Expo Center

"Holiday Duties" from Dennis Osadebe's "A Stranger In My Home" series. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Other Art Fair, presented by Saatchi Art, is a fair for a new generation of art buyers, as well as a place to discover and buy art direct from the very best of emerging talent. One of which is Nigerian artist Dennis Osadebe, the only artist representing the continent at the fair. Osadebe will be presenting a new series, entitled A Stranger In My Home, where he takes the elements of a home setting and infuses aesthetics inspired by his Nigerian heritage with neon masks as his reoccurring focus. Through the 10 works in this series, Osadebe takes on the idea of globalization and how cultures intersect today, reinforcing the idea of urban living hybrids.

The Other Art Fair runs from Thursday, May 3, through Sunday, May 6 at the Brooklyn Expo Center.

Nataal: New African Photography III || Red Hook Labs

"Ruth, Amina and the three Aisha's play 'In and Out'," 2017, Tatsuniya. Photo by Rahima Gambo, courtesy of Nataal.

Nataal presents New African Photography III, the third edition of its co-curated group exhibition with an all-female, star studded lineup, at Red Hook Labs. The media brand also announced the publication of their first print magazine. Featuring work from Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Keyezua (Angola), Alice Mann (South Africa), Ronan Mckenzie (UK) and Ruth Ossai (Nigeria), the show will display a range of fresh perspectives from contemporary photography that address a diverse set of concers relating to representation, gender and identity. New African Photography III celebrates the launch of Nataal's debut print issue, where the large format, 336-page magazine showcases and collaborated with artists who are building diverse narratives in and about the spirit of Africa.

Nataal: New African Photography III runs from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 13 at Red Hook Labs.

Refraction: New Photography From Africa and Its Diaspora || Steven Kasher Gallery

"King Kane" by Stan Squirewell. Image courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery.

Refraction: New Photography of Africa and Its Diaspora is a photo exhibition presenting a generation of photographic artists of African descent born in the 1970s through the 1990s at Steven Kasher Gallery. These 12 artists, who reside from all over the world, portray black bodies in acts of cultural meditation, revive the traditional African rites of masking, costuming, quilting, body ornamentation and invocation of spirits, through their work. The works curated for Refraction are meant to bridge the gap between black stereotypes and black reality. The photos maneuver the complex relationship between innate identities and identities that have grown from social, political and cultural influences.

Refraction is on view until Saturday, June 2 at Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea.

E-Moves 2018 || Harlem Stage

Omar Mizrahi. Photo by Robert Bader.

Harlem Stage presents its signature dance series, E-Moves, featuring works from three contemporary African choreographers in four nights this year. Each night will also feature a pop-up performance by up-and-coming young choreographers. Choreographers Lacina Coulibaly (Burkina Faso), Ousmane Wiles (Senegal) and Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe) were commissioned by Harlem Stage to develop new works or reimagine existing pieces from their choreographic canons; wrestling with questions that push the boundaries of what it means to be African in America now.

E-Moves 2018 runs from Wednesday, May 2 through Saturday, May 5. For tickets, check out Harlem Stage's website.

A Ugandan Spring || Triangle Arts Association

Photo courtesy of The Salooni Project.

32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust presents A Ugandan Spring, its first fundraiser at the Triangle Arts Association. In an evening of cocktails, silent auctions and games to fundraise for 32° East's programs, the event is an opportunity for aspiring and seasoned collectors of contemporary African art to view unique perspectives from an underrepresented market.

A Ugandan Spring takes place on Friday, May 4. For tickets and more information, click here.

Bobi Wine Set to Return Home to Uganda

Uganda authorities have already warned against welcoming rallies for the musician.

Bobi Wine is making his way home to Uganda after spending just over two weeks in the United States seeking medical treatment for injuries he sustained after being tortured while in military custody, he says.

The opposition lawmaker, who is currently out on bail following an alleged attack on President Yoweri Museveni's motorcade, shared the news on Twitter with a photo of himself at the airport this morning. "Headed Home," he wrote as a caption.

READ: "I'm Proud to Be Persecuted For the Truth:" Bobi Wine on the Fight for Freedom in Uganda

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News Brief

The Trailer for Faraday Okoro's Tribeca Film 'Nigerian Prince' Is Here

The film is due to hit U.S. theaters October 19.

The trailer for Nigerian filmmaker Faraday Okoro's debut feature Nigerian Prince is here, Shadow and Act reports.

We're a month away from the film landing in U.S. theaters and On-Demand since the film got acquired by Vertical Entertainment.

Revisit the synopsis below.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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