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"Zion 9, 2018" (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag)" by Mohau Modisakeng. Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

South African Artist Mohau Modisakeng Makes Solo NYC Debut With 'A Promised Land'

The artist will present the video installation 'ZION' and other works centering on the "global history of displacement of Black communities" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn.

Renowned South African visual artist Mohau Modisakeng presents A Promised Land, his latest solo exhibition, opening at Brooklyn's Jenkins Johnson Gallery this month. This marks the New York debut of Modisakeng's ZION video installation, based on the artists's 2017 performance art series by the same name. It originally debuted at the Performa Biennial.

"In ZION the artist deals with the relationship between body, place and the global history of displacement of Black communities," reads a press release. "There is an idea that all people are meant to belong somewhere, yet in reality there are millions of people who are unsettled, in search of refuge, migrating across borders and landscapes for various reasons."

In addition to the video, the show also features seven large-scale photographs that communicate themes of Black displacement. From 19th century Black settlements in New York City, which as the press release notes, were eradicated to clear space for the development of Central Park, to the scores of Africans who have faced conflict that has led them to life as refugees in foreign lands.

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Photo: Hugo Glendinning & Gavin Rodgers.

Listen to Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela's New Song 'Slow Bones'

Premiere: The Nigerian and South African legend come together in this new single from their upcoming album Rejoice, the first post-humous release from Masekela.

Nigerian afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen and South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela began recording together in 2010.

Though they'd known each other since the 1970s, through their friendship & work with Fela, it took forty years—and a coinciding tour schedule that saw them both in the UK at the same time—for Allen and Masekela to make it to a London studio together.

It was there that, along with producer Nick Gold, they recorded the "kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew" that will make up their upcoming album, Rejoice, as Allen describes it.

Those recording sessions remained largely untouched until after Masekela's passing in 2018, which drove Allen and Gold to revisit the tapes of those original compositions with the aim of finishing their now ten-year-old project.

Today we're premiering the latest single from the album, "Slow Bones," a head-nodding blend of Allen's afrobeat percussion and Masekela's trumpet melodies. "I don't know why this track is called 'Slow Bones.' Hugh came up with all the song titles while we were recording in 2010, and we've left them exactly as he wrote them down," Tony Allen tells OkayAfrica.

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