“Curating Africa (In, From, and For)” is an ARCO professional meeting organised by curator and critic Miguel Amado that addresses the “African trend” among Western museums and other institutions. The purpose of this encounter is to debate the challenges raised by curating in, from, and for Africa. Participating curators are both Western or Western-based, and African or African-based.
The globalization process has suppressed the spatiotemporal limits of the West, increasing cultural exchange between that region and other areas of the globe. A consequence of this dynamic is the “geographical turn” that has been taking place in curatorial practice in the West over the past 25 years, which puts an emphasis on space rather than time in understanding artistic practices.
Western curators have been challenging traditional Eurocentric approaches to museum collections—in terms of both acquisitions and displays—and exhibition programmes by paying increasing attention to the artistic practices of regions beyond the West. This widening focus among Western curators started with South America and Eastern Europe; then followed Asia, particularly China and India. Recent considerations have been centered on the Middle East. Africa now appears poised to become the next territory of interest.
Africa is massively diverse. In some countries, the economy is growing significantly yet there have been many different patterns to modernization. Others, particularly in the north, are seeing regular struggles between ethnic and sociopolitical groups. But one common characteristic among the African countries is that almost all have a colonial history. Western curators cannot address artistic practices in Africa without taking this into account.
Key topics include the impact of postcolonial thought on Western museum policies; artistic practices in Africa and in the diaspora; the reception of African artistic practices in the West; the establishing of Western museum collections and exhibition programmes of African artists; the establishing of African museums, collections, and events.
Other featured topics of the meeting are the market and African artistic practices; African artistic practices with respect to craftsmanship; dialogue and exchange of information among curators; the writing of histories of African artistic practices; the reconsideration of modernism’s narratives; and the dissemination of knowledge on African artistic practices.
Elise Atangana, independent curator and Revue Noir, Paris; Caroline Hancock, independent curator, Paris; Christa Clarke, Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; Gabi Ngcobo, Center for Historical Reenactments, Johannesburg; Bomi Odufunade, Dash & Rallo Art Advisory, New York & London; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Tate Modern, London; Nadine Siegert, Iwalewa-Haus, Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth
Date, time, and venue:
Saturday, 22 February, 12:00 – 14:00
Auditorio de Encuentros Profesionales