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Brooklyn Museum Expands Its Focus On African Art With 'Double Take: African Innovations'

The Brooklyn Museum expands its focus on African art with a new long-term installation, 'Double Take: African Innovations.'

All images courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum


Double Take: African Innovations is the Brooklyn Museum's new long-term installation focusing on the interconnected narratives that weave through African art from the past to the present. The experimental exhibit, which made its debut on October 29th, invites visitors to trace links between works from differing time periods by drawing out recurring artistic techniques, solutions, and motifs in African creativity within different historical and cultural contexts. The main gallery of the show features close to forty works grouped into fifteen categories based on shared themes such as performance, portraiture, the body, power, design, satire, and virtue, among others. A nearby open-display storage annex features over 150 selections from the Museum's extensive archive of African art.

Though Double Take represents only a small fraction of Africa's varied forms of visual expression (primarily sub-Saharan), the installation definitely serves as a primer on the continent's diverse art history. The majority of the objects in the show are from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century while others date as far back as 643-623 B.C.E. Works on view from contemporary artists include Vessel (1990), a handmade burnished ceramic pot by Kenyan studio potter Magdalene Odundo; Nigerian conceptual artist Yinka Shonibare's Dutch wax-clad Skipping Girl (2009); the Adinkra symbol-laden Looking Back Into The Future (2008) by Ghanaian painter Owusu Ankomah; and on view at the Brooklyn Museum for the first time, a trademark plastic jerry can mask by Beninois mixed-media artist Romuald Hazoumé, titled Fiegnon (2011).

Alongside the exponential growth of major African art exhibitions such as the prestigious Dak'Art Biennale, and newer events like 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair and Lagos Photo Festival, which provide increased visibility and a necessary platform for contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora to showcase their work, Double Take's novel approach to mapping strains of influence within diverse works of African art through the ages highlights the long and nuanced history of the continent's artistic mastery. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum's Associate Curator of Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands, Kevin Dumouchelle, Double Take is an offshoot of the 2011 installation African Innovations, which focused on the aesthetic, social, political, and cosmological problems and solutions explored by African artists through their work. Dumouchelle and his team plan to expand this second phase using audience questions and feedback to inform a third and even more extensive presentation of the museum's African collection in the near future. Click through our gallery above for a preview of the installation. Visit the Brooklyn Museum website for more information.

Double Take: African Innovations is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) and continues through July 2016.

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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