The Ministry of Culture and Banco do Brasil, with the support of BBDTVM, present Ex Africa, the largest and most important exhibition of contemporary African art held in Brazil.

"There is always something new coming out of Africa," (ex Africa semper aliquid novi) wrote the author Gaius Plinius Secundus Maior as long as 2,000 years ago after a journey through the North African provinces of the Roman Empire. 
After having shown in 2003 the record breaking exhibition “Art from Africa” from the Ethnological museum in Berlin the CCBB now presents contemporary art from Africa, so far the biggest and most important show of its kind in Brazil. 

The exhibition is taking place at a moment where the African heritage is being discussed as never before, especially in Rio de Janeiro when we think about the recent excavations of the former slave market at Cais do Valongo or the discovery of the Pretos Novos cemetery or of Pedra do Sal, all of which are located in the historic centre of Rio de Janeiro and very close to CCBB.

Africa, more than any other continent, is today experiencing a period of compressed time. A widely post-colonial Africa is just 50 years old, thus only slightly older than the average age of its current population. At the same time, as a continent, it has still not fully opened up to widespread industrialization or technological modernization.

However, in the last few years a marked upturn in art production has been observed in the urban centers. Africa is now the last continent to become part of the global art scene, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this involves.  

At the same time, several biennials have been launched in Africa itself, e.g. in Dakar, Johannesburg, Marrakech, Bamako, Cairo, Kampala, Luanda, São Tomé and Lubumbashi in Congo. In addition, there are art spaces and art fairs in nearly all the region's important countries.

As a result, African contemporary art has shirked off two persistent prejudices: the stigma of it being little more than handicraft work and 'airport art' on the one hand, and ethnological attributions on the other. 

As everywhere in the world, contemporary African art is also in a permanent process of creative renewal.

Although the consequences of colonialism cannot be denied, the importance of artistic exchange during the transition from the colonial to the post-colonial period should not be underestimated – and in this context the reaction of the artists to the period before independence.

It will come as no surprise that a continent the size of Africa has produced a wealth of aesthetic archives which have their roots in at least three legacies: the indigenous culture, Christianity and Islam, which, as in the case of Nigeria, coexist in close proximity.

The countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea are home not only to at least 1,000 different ethnic groups, but also to Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, even Hispanic and Arab elements.

Between Senegal and South Africa, Sudan and Angola, modern African identity is marked by many cultural encounters and interactions, by exchange processes and acculturations. Although these phenomena initially affected Europe and America, they have recently, in the course of globalization, also incorporated elements from other parts of the world. African Art thus moves in worlds spanning different archives: traditional and modern, colonial and post-colonial, local and global, provincial, cosmopolitan and those influenced by the diaspora.

Unlike Western art, which is embedded in, indeed squeezed into, a strict sequence of styles, African contemporary art has the advantage of not having to satisfy any canon and being able to take its orientation strictly from the here and now.

In this context, it uses any material that might be to hand across all artistic media.

Ex Africa presents 18 artists of the younger and middle generation who have attracted a lot of international attention but are still largely unknown in Brazil. They are joined by two Afro-Brazilian artists, Arjan Martins and Dalton Paula, who recently did some research and exhibited in the Brazilian quarter of Lagos (Nigeria), a district built by former slaves who returned from Brazil to Africa.
A special venue also presents Lagos's club scene. 
The exhibition is divided into four themes which are not abruptly separated from each other, but merge seamlessly: - The Echo of History - Bodies and Portraits - The Urban Drama - Musical Explosions. Curators of the exhibition are Alfons Hug, until recently director of the GoetheInstitut in Lagos and Ade Bantu who is in charge of the Lagos Club which features a selection of popular music from Africa’s largest city. 
Credits: Story

List of artists:
Jelili Atiku, Nigeria Ndidi Dike, Nigeria
Abdulrazaq Awofeso, Nigeria
Karo Akpokiere, Nigeria
Omar Victor Diop, Senegal
Ibrahim Mahama, Ghana
Youssef Limoud, Egypt
Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, Benin
Nástio Mosquito, Angola
Mikhael Subotzky, South Africa
Andrew Tshabangu, South Africa
Guy Tillim, South Africa
Okhai Ojeikere, Nigeria
Kiluanji Kia Henda, Angola
Kudzanai Chiuari, Zimbabwe
Binelde Hyrcan, Angola
Mohau Modisakeng, South Africa
Club Lagos
Dalton Paula, Brazil
Arjan Martins, Brazil

Curator: Alfons Hug

Credits: All media
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