We constantly work with TATE to promote the value of African Artists and Art at local and international levels by bringing the work of young African artists to the attention of new audiences both in Africa and on an international level, through a project-lead initiative.
The partnership includes the creation of a dedicated curatorial post at Tate Modern to focus on African art, an Acquisition Fund to enable the Gallery to enhance its holdings of work by African artists and an annual project ‘Across the Board’.
Elvira Dyangani Ose, Curator, International Art, Supported by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. has a PhD from Cornell University of New York and is a highly respected authoritative voice among the African and International arts community. She has developed numerous interdisciplinary projects, focusing on the politics of representation and the role of artists in history-making. Elvira took up her post in early November 2011, curating the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc project for Tate as well as contributing towards building the collection and the Tate programmes.
GTBank - Tate partnership aims to provide a platform for African artists to be seen by audiences world-wide, to heighten awareness of the impact of African art on modern and contemporary practice and to firmly place these artists at the heart of the contemporary art world. Elvira helps to broaden Tate’s international reach in Africa
Since her appointment, Elvira has been working both nationally and internationally to build the public profile of African art, and raise its awareness through researching and planning events and activities in London and selected African countries.
Guaranty Trust Bank supports Tate with an Acquisition Fund to purchase works of art from Africa for the Tate collection. This fund provides GTBank and Tate with an unprecedented opportunity to build a new framework for collecting, displaying and interpreting African art within the international arena.
The legacy and current influence of art produced in areas outside Europe and North America have been a focus for Tate in recent years and this partnership will examine Africa's role at the heart of global artistic developments in a more inclusive narrative.
The first of the series of our annual project with Tate is the Contested Terrains, which took place from July – October, 2011 at Tate Modern, featuring four artists working in Africa who explore and subvert narratives about the past and present.
Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Michael MacGarry and Adolphus Opara engage with ideas of history and identity that in Africa have long been shaped by the claims and disputes of conflicting ideological and economic interests. Drawing connections across time and space, their works examine the impact of imperialism, notions of historical truth, and the representations and mechanics of power.
Their interest in the construction of cultural narratives is reflected in their engagement with the aesthetics of museum or gallery display. Whether interrogating collections or archives, or playing with the conventions of portraiture or the showcase, each underlines the fact that the museum itself is a space where ideas and ideologies are asserted and questioned.
The works in this exhibition are loosely grouped into three sections. Opara’s photographic portraits and MacGarry’s ossuary reveal traditional and contemporary value systems in dialogue and under pressure. Attia’s slide installation, positioned alongside MacGarry’s hybrid sculptures, explores different approaches to grafting and repair. Baloji’s photomontages consider the remnants and realities of industrialisation and global trade.
These artists reveal that history is more than a straightforward succession of events and that the present remains contested terrain.
Across the Board is an extended collaborative and experimental platform featuring emerging African artists and exploring recent practices in the continent. It will take place across four cities from 2012 to 2014, with each city inspiring the art event in which it is held. Across the Board constitutes a pioneering and challenging approach to cultural partnership whilst complimenting Tate’s collecting activities. Presenting various narratives on art making and knowledge production, contributors will address questions around several areas of interest that will serve as case studies to examine the status of contemporary African art as a field of cultural production.
In the course of the two years, the themes for the projects are: politics of representation, institution building, public space/public sphere and interdisciplinary practices. They are schedules to hold in London, Accra Ghana, Douala Cameroon and Lagos Nigeria respectively.
London, November 2012
Across The Board: Politics of Representation was launched at Tate Modern London on November 24, 2012 and featured a day of performances by artists Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria, 1974) and Nástio Mosquito (Angola, 1981).
Nkanga and Mosquito addressed aspects of cultural identity within the institutional framework provided by Tate Collection. Nkanga’s performance invited the visitors to engage in a conversation in a performance-based installation, about the status of memory through a specific strategy of collecting. Nástio Mosquito presented some of his most charismatic videos in an engaging spoken-like performance in which the artist questions our understanding of terms such as Africa, Europe, African art and the art market. A multifaceted artist Mosquito featured as well the hits of his recently release album Deixa-Me Entrar.
Accra Ghana, Feb 2012
Across The Board: Institutional Building is organised in partner with local institutions in Accra Ghana, to host a three-day event interrogating one of the most critical aspects of art as engine for social transformation: institutional building.
Over the past decade, a wide range of non-state institutions and cultural platforms has occupied local art scenes fervently, producing new strategies that connect art and society, sometimes even beyond local government’s remit.
Douala Cameroon in December 2013
This event will look at the recent manifestation of a new social imaginary of the urban space in Africa. Tate and Guaranty Trust Bank will participate in the third edition of Doualart’s Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD 2013. Entitled Douala Metamorphosis, this unique African triennial celebrates the presence of arts in public spaces and explores the ways by which African cities in general – and Douala in particular – have become creative and effective spaces as a result of the social relationships established in them. Speakers and artists at this event will address questions around the increased social engagement and participation of the citizens in the public space and the public sphere.
Lagos Nigeria, March 2014
The most recent artistic production in Africa explores multiple narratives, poetics and media. Assembling methodologies of various genres such as performance, conceptual art, photography, drawing or video, contemporary African artists – as some modernist creators did in the past – have established a radical interdisciplinary praxis, which allows them to narrate the daily experience in their societies while connecting them to other realities beyond any geographical boundary.
In Lagos, in partnership with platforms such as the CCA, Lagos, Terra Kulture, Chimurenga and others, the project will explore the legacy of one of the most important events to have taken place in the city, the FEST AC ’77, the Second World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture.