African Modern and Contemporary Art. Curated by Azu Nwagbogu.
Over the past decades, the popularity of African contemporary art has significantly grown. Many African and diaspora artists are globally represented in exhibitions, fairs, and biennials, where their art takes center stage.
The Wereldmuseum Berg en Dal in the Netherlands has been a pioneer for contemporary art from the African continent and the African diaspora. By consistently following artists and systematically collecting their work, rather than sporadically, the collection flourished. This is the first time that the unique works from this collection come together in a single exhibition.
All the artists in this exhibition relate to their cultural history in their own unique way, creating new perspectives on the future and the past. Through their distinctive visual language and various themes, they assert visibility for Africa and its diaspora. This exhibition responds to that by placing contemporary art from Africa in brilliant light.
Various approaches to spirituality, from local indigenous traditions to world religions, play a significant role in the showcased artworks. Spirituality connects the artists with their community but is also utilized as a means to address topics such as violence, power, gender norms, and colonialism.
Azu Nwagbogu is an internationally acclaimed curator. In 2007, he founded the African Artists' Foundation (AAF), a non-profit organization based in Nigeria, dedicated to promoting African art and artists. He led the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town, is the founder and director of the LagosPhoto Festival, and initiated Art Base Africa, a virtual space to explore contemporary African art. He also oversees Buro Stedelijk, a place for emerging artists and designers. The collaboration between the guest curator and the Wereldmuseum Berg en Dal is very clear. Azu Nwagbogu states, "The Wereldmuseum Berg en Dal has been building a unique collection for the Netherlands for years. By consistently following artists and systematically collecting their work, the museum provides a platform for many artists from Africa and its diaspora."