This group exhibition gathers the works of eight contemporary African artists. Georges Senga, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Sinzo Aanza, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Jean Katambayi, Nelson Makengo, Pélagie Gbaguidi, and Emeka Ogboh, invite us to look at the transversal artistic legacies and the global resonances of sounds, images, energies and ideas at work in their practices.
Their paintings, videos, installations, sound pieces and photographic works weave physical and imaginary geographies, that participate to the ‘Afropolitan’ age.
Thanks to the partnership between WIELS and Africalia, Nelson Makengo and Simnikiwe Buhlungu took part in the residency programme of WIELS. During their residency they developed the works shown in this exhibition.
This exhibition can be seen at WIELS from May 25th to August 18th, 2019.
The exhibition Multiple Transmissions : Art in the Afropolitan Age, takes as its starting point the group of African artists who completed residences at WIELS between 2015 and 2019. Today an integral component of the art world landscape, residencies put artists in motion around the globe, while simultaneously immersing them in one place for a definite period of time. Artists, and African artists in particular, have become successive locals of multiple places and cities : they have become “Afropolitan” artists. Mainly developed by the thinker Achille Mbembe, the concept refers to the transnational cultures and aesthetic of 21st century African-identified urbanites. Both on and off the continent, these artists’ mental and physical itinerancies have made their mental geographies radically plural. Created between Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Johannesburg and Brussels, the residents’ productions are presented alongside a range of other art practices enmeshed in these global flows.
The merit of Afropolitanism is to force us to reckon with the multiplicity of transversal and global influences and legacies that inform African artists today. At a time when political regimes in the world demonstrate an alarming rise of xenophobia, when borders are everywhere closing and migrants left to die on the shores of Europe, Afropolitanism offers a formidable example of transcendence of geographies, nationalities, languages and time zones.
Artists : Nelson Makengo, Jean Katambayi, Georges Senga, Sinzo Aanza, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Emeka Ogboh, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Pélagie Gbaguidi
Curator : Sandrine Colard
(Text by WIELS : www.wiels.org)