The African Art of Appearance

In a former warehouse in Amsterdam the colourful images of fourteen African artists are staged: exuberance, colour and irreverence are the watchwords to rewrite the creative identity of this continent. And redeem it.

From 25 January to 23 February 2020, New North in Amsterdam will host “Now Look Here - The African Art of Appearance”: the works of fourteen African artists revisit the idea of beauty by bringing a new aesthetic into play. The exhibition is curated by Renny Ramakers, director of the N’GOLÁ biennial held on the African islands of São Tomé and Principe in the summer of 2019, which brings a spin off to Dutch space in continuity with the theme “The African Art of Appearance”.

Fortia, 2017 © Lola Keyezua
Lola Keyezua, Fortia, 2017

The starting point is the value of fashion, style and beauty – commercial and industrial sectors from which Africa has been cut off for long time – capable of becoming the key to redemption in terms of dignity and self-realization of the continent. Necessary, however, is to rewrite the rules all over again. And so in the works on display, appearance, understood in terms of ‘exteriorit’, takes on the tones of excess, irreverence, of a colorful and lively image in which the stylistic features of African tradition are mixed with the pop interference of the globalized world.

“Now Look Here” is a loudly exclaimed appeal, a way to call attention to a culture ready to overthrow things: an appropriation in which white becomes black, the wound becomes beauty and the slave girl becomes a priestess. The new aesthetic of a people who, without forgetting a painful past, are ready to write a new history. Starting with appearances.

Exhibition title:
Now Look Here - The African Art of Appearance
Tabi Bonney, Justin Dingwall, Omar Victor Diop, Sunny Dolat & The Nest Collective, Samuel Fosso, Bobbin Case & Jan Hoek, Lola Keyezua, Osborne Macharia, Emo de Medeiros, Sethembile Msezane, Yves Sambu & Sapeurs, Mary Sibande
Curated by:
Renny Ramakers
New North
Opening dates:
25 January – 23 February 2020
Asterweg 17, Amsterdam

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