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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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The buzzing Nigerian artists shares a catchy new banger.

Buzzing Nigerian artist Rema shares his first single and music video of the year "Beamer (Bad Boys)."

The track is the first single since the release of his 2019 EP Bad Commando. Produced by Rvssianm, the song features a sultry, drum-heavy beat and a catchy hook in which a chorus of female voices sing of their love for "bad boys."

The steely music video features several love interests and flashy cars as Rema moves through the city on an undisclosed mission. The video features crisp, scenic shots directed by Fxrbes.

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The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

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This Is What Fatoumata Diawara's NYC Concert Looked Like

In photos: the Malian singer performed a stunning show at The Town Hall.

Fatoumata Diawara played a mesmerizing show in New York City over the weekend.

The Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor had The Town Hall swaying to a selection of songs from her latest Grammy-nominated album, Fenfo, as well as other classic cuts.

Fatoumata was joined on the night by a four-piece backing band that followed her every word and guitar riff, as she showcased her special blend of traditional Malian music and striking Bambara vocal melodies with elements of modern rock, funk, R&B and afrobeat.

"I didn't want to sing in English or French because I wanted to respect my African heritage," Fatoumata has mentioned."But I wanted a modern sound because that's the world I live in. I'm a traditionalist, but I need to experiment, too. You can keep your roots and influences but communicate them in a different style."

Fatoumata's main message, one which she stated throughout the show, is one of hope for the future of Africa and of female empowerment. It's "about the world, peace, how Africa can be a better place, especially for women, because I am one, and I am a survivor," she says. "I want to encourage those who have lost hope."

Browse through pictures from her show at The Town Hall, which was opened by Guatemala's Gabby Moreno, below.

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