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A New Exhibition In London Is Tracing African Rhythms In Art

'All Of Us Have A Sense of Rhythm,' a new exhibition in London, explores African rhythms in contemporary art through the 21st century.

All images courtesy of David Roberts Art Foundation


All Of Us Have A Sense of Rhythm is a new group exhibition in London that explores the adoption of African rhythms in contemporary art forms throughout the twenty-first century. The show, which is based on the research of French-Cameroonian curator Christine Eyene, engages with Africa's rhythmic heritage through music, poetry, dance, sculpture, installation, photography, and film.

Using the Cameroonian Bikutsi dance--elements of which can be found in hip-hop dance-- as a starting point, Eyene's research highlights the integration of African beats in artistic practices across the diaspora. Drawing from cultural movements including Négritude and the Harlem Renaissance, the show expands on Négritude founding father Léopold Sedal Sénghor's 1939 essay Ce que l’homme noir apporte, and its idea of "rhythm being at the center of Africa's system of thought and experience, influencing the continent and diaspora's cultural production."

Mixed media artist Em'kal Eyongakpa's Cameroonian field recordings open the show. Among the video pieces in the exhibit are works by Moroccan visual and sound artist Younes Baba Ali, who explores non-musical rhythmic patterns using repetitive pen clicks, and British-Nigerian new media artist Evan Ifekoya, whose Nature/Nurture sketch pairs African dance moves with drum 'n' bass.

British-Ghanaian interdisciplinary artist Larry Achiampong's highlife-inspired vinyl installations and Irish-Trinidadian visual artist Zak Ové's totemic sculptures, which blend vintage hi-fi equipment and the aesthetic of Congolese Luba masks, are also on view. Rounding out the show are pieces by Julien Bayle, John Cage, Ayoka Chenzira, Jon Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Michel Paysant, Anna Raimondo, Robin Rhode, David Shrigley, and William Titley.

All Of Us Have A Sense of Rhythm runs through August 1st at the David Roberts Art Foundation in London.

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