Arts + Culture

12 African Artists Explore "The Burden Of 'Africanness'" In NYC Exhibition

A new exhibition at Richard Taittinger Gallery in NYC explores the "burden of 'Africanness'" through the work of 12 African artists.

All images courtesy of Richard Taittinger Gallery


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? is a new group exhibition featuring the work of twelve contemporary artists from Africa. Currently on display at New York City's Richard Taittinger Gallery now through August 22nd, the show introduces the work of emerging artists whose creative output reflects the growing impact of African art on the global stage.

The exhibit's title--borrowed from Sidney Poitier's 1967 comedy-drama of the same name-- was selected by curator Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi to capture the essence of Nigerian artist and art historian Chika Okeke-Agulu's recent assertion that "folks can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that African artists have now taken and secured their seat at the dinner table, invited or not!"

Nzewi further explains the show's focus in an introduction essay on the exhibit. "Although it is arguable that notions such as fetish or primitivism no longer shape the understanding of African art, still much of the expectation is that contemporary artists of Africa should at least convey a sense of the continent," he writes. "Through the works on display, the exhibition problematizes the burden of 'Africanness,' understood as cultural aesthetics, which continues to inform the reception of contemporary art by African artists in the Western and international imaginary."

The monthlong exhibition includes new and recent work by Ivorian mixed-media painter Gopal Dagnogo, Ethiopian visual artists Ephrem Solomon Tegegn and Aida Muluneh, Malagasy mixed-media artist Amalia Ramanankirahina, Algerian installation artist Amina Menia, Kenyan painter Beatrice Wanjiku, Nigerian multimedia artists Onyeka Ibe, Chika Modum, Chike Obeagu and Uche Uzorka, Algerian visual artist Halida Boughriet, and Nairobi-based Italian artist/curator Sam Hopkins.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? is on view at Richard Taittinger Gallery in NYC through August 22nd.

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