By Ogova Ondego
Published April 8, 2015
Artists from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola and Mozambique are set to exhibit their creativity in Germany for three months starting from May 2015.
The exhibition, titled Mashup, shall be held at Iwalewahaus Centre for African Contemporary Arts and Cultures of the University of Bayreuth between May 30 and September 27 in an effort to promote African arts and cultures around the world, according to Press Officer Arly Kosi from Congo-Kinshasa.
The visual artists whose work shall be showcased are Kevo Stero (Kevin Irungu) and Otieno Gomba from Maasai Mbili Art Centre of Nairobi, Kenya; Thenjiwe Nki Nkosi and Pamela Sunstrum from Johannesburg, South Africa; and Uche Uzorka from Lagos, Nigeria.
The remixed and reworked traditional dance music of the Iwalewahaus archives by two musicians—DJ Raph from Nairobi, Kenya and Batida from Luanda, Angola who were invited to respond to the music archive of Iwalewahaus as part of the art residencies—shall be played at the opening party of the exhibition on May 30.
Also presented during the Mashup show shall be two roundtables—‘Aura: The Object in Postcolonial Art collections’ and ‘Mashup as Defiance: Culture, Appropriation and Postcolonialism‘, ‘An archaeology of Loss‘ artist book by Sam Hopkins and Germany’s Simon Rittmeier which explores the idea of an empty archive, and what the organisers refer to as “newly developed, intuitive and accessible digital archive interface, developed in the context of the Mashup the Archive project by the Nairobi-based digital solution company, Circle Digital‘.”
Curated by Sam Hopkins from Kenya, the exhibition—that shall be held at Iwalewahaus, Wölfelstrasse 2, 95444 Bayreuth—shall be open Tuesday-Sunday, 1.00-5.00PM, according to a Media Release from the organisers.
But just what is ‘Mashup‘?
It “is an exhibition of artworks by contemporary artists from Africa generated during the research project, ‘Mash up the Archive’, which has taken place at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth over the last two years. The project has so far been accompanied by two “Mash up the archive-Festivals” in 2012 and 2013,” the Media Release says of the project whose financial support comes from Kulturstiftung des Bundes and Oberfrankenstiftung.
“At the core of the project,” the organisers say, “are a series of four artist residencies in which six visual artists were invited to explore the diverse archive of African Art housed at the Iwalewahaus, and develop new artworks in response to this cultural production. The artworks which have been developed present a series of distinct and considered approaches to the archival material.”
While Kenya’s Stero and Gomba anchored their research on the mask, “building an immersive environment of film, installation and painting that re-imagines traditional notions of the mask,” South Africans Nkosi and Sunstrum “took form as their starting point, writing and developing an Anti-Opera, ‘Disrupters, this is Disrupter X’, to re-narrate and inscribe a new story on a studied selection of archival film, objects, and artworks.”
Angolan Delio Jasse used “a specific form of analog photomontage to develop unique ‘documents’, composited of fragments of information he found by scouring the immense Ulli Beier archive.”
On his part, Nigerian Uzorka worked on the premise that the openness of Iwalewahaus archive “is deceptive and that it refuses more than it allows. The artist obsessively shredded archival documents during his residency and created artworks from the shredded material. Whereas his graphics formally take reference to artworks of the Nigerian ‘Nsukka School’ that are part of the collection at Iwalewahaus.”
As presented in this article, does this art exhibition sound interesting enough?