African artists tackle pressing issues in Ici L’Afrique

by Elizabeth Stephens

Ici L’Afrique, or Here is Africa, is an exposition currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. The exhibit features 24 African artists from 17 different countries showcasing over 70 works that answer essential questions about Africa, and tackle contemporary challenges facing the continent. Some of these questions include: the history of slavery, immigration, climate change, water and food security, health, gender equality, education, and human rights.

In the last ten years, many African states have made significant efforts to tackle problems within their countries and drive continent-wide growth and development.  These countries have created policies to reduce poverty, address social inequality, build-up state infrastructure, spur economic growth by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, curb rates of infant mortality and more.  Ici L’Afrique serves to address these issues by visually capturing Africa today, as seen through the eyes of Africans and those from the Diaspora.  Artists invited to present their works at Ici L’Afrique were given the chance to express what Africa means to them via painting, drawing, sculpture, instillation, photography, audiovisual work and multimedia.  In doing so, this exhibit showcases the notable achievements made by Africans and African states while, in tandem, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by those from and living in this diverse, and fascinating continent.

Ici L’Afrique has invited the following artists to showcase their work in Geneva, Switzerland at the Chateau de Penthes: Omar Ba (Senegal), Faouzi Bensaïdi (Morocco), Filipe Branquinho (Mozambique), Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (Côte d’Ivoire), Edson Chagas (Angola), Romuald Hazoumè (Benin), Pieter Hugo (South Africa), Adelita Husni-Bey (Libya), Nadia Kaabi-Linke (Tunisia), Gonçalo Mabunda (Mozambique), Mustafa Maluka (South Africa), Abu Bakarr Mansaray (Sierra Leone), J.D.’Okhai Ojeikere (Nigeria), Joshua Okoromodeke (Nigeria), Richard Onyango (Kenya), Idrissa Ouédraogo (Burkina Faso), Chéri Samba (Congo), Sarkis & Guem & Perdrix* (France/Benin), Zineb Sedira (Algeria), Yinka Shonibare MBE (Nigeria), Malick Sidibé (Mali), Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania), Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroun), Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroun).

From the Maghreb to sub-Saharan Africa and hailing from a number of different generations, many of these artists have been able to trace the traditions and values of their homelands across the world, while others continue to live in the cultures of their ancestors.  The variations amongst the artists’ social and economic backgrounds has enabled some to travel widely across the world, soaking up other cultures, while others have remained rooted in their home territory since birth.  This divergence is a point that is explored throughout the Ici L’Afrique exhibit, as it showcases the way in which globalization has touched the lives of Africans, and the way in which Africans have touched the lives of others all across the globe.

Pompom boy

Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroun), “Pom Pom Boy”, 2007, Multimedia – 290 x 120 x 150cm, Courtesy of Art and Public Cabinet PH, Geneva, Switzerland

Microsoft Word - Version 1 CP ICI L'AFRIQUE au 20-02-2014.docx

Pieter Hugo (South Africa), “Sam Klein Karoo”, 2003, C-print – 112 x 112 cm, Courtesy of Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 1.03.52 PM

Bartholomy Toguo (Cameroun), “Judith Facing Holophern IX”, 2010, watercolor on paper – 36 x 36cm, Courtesy of Gallery Lelong and Bandjoun Station

For more information, and how to attend, visit: artactuel.com/…/exposition-collective-ici-l-afrique-here-africa-13167.html  


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