“Why and How Are We Here?” Analysing the Presence and Representation of Visual Arts from Sub-Saharan Africa at the Venice Art Biennale from 1990-2017.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Amarildo AJASSE, Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice, Italy
In recent decades, there has been an increased presence of African contemporary art in some of the world's most important events related to visual arts, either through the works of individual artists, or in the case of the Venice Art Biennale, through national pavilions.

At the 56th edition of the Venice biennale in 2015, three of the five countries that participated in the show for the first time were from the African continent. However, very little research has been done to try to understand this phenomenon and analyze the curatorial strategies that are adopted in such exhibitions.

In this context, the purpose of the present research is not only to try to understand how African art exhibitions are curated, but also to identify what motivates African countries and artists to attend international art exhibitions outside the African continent.

In order to capture the full picture of the phenomenon, the research was conducted by analising the exhibitions realized from 1990 to 2019, and within the aforementioned time frame the investigation will focus on three types of exhibitions or participations case studies: 1) especial or collective exhibitions; 2) national pavilions; and 3) and Artists participation in the main exhibition.

Through the comparison within and across the contexts of the three different types of art show venues represented by these case studies, we intend to identify the essential elements that characterize the exhibition of contemporary African art in the most important visual art event around the globe.