Exhibition showcasing contemporary African photography opens at Tate Modern

Ruth Ossai’s work A World In Common at the Tate Modern Photo:Lucy Green

A remarkable new exhibition titled “A World in Common” has recently opened at the Tate Modern in London, showcasing the vibrant and diverse world of contemporary African photography. 

This exhibition, one of the largest of its kind ever staged, offers a fresh perspective on Africa’s past, present, and future through the lenses of 36 artists from Africa and its diaspora.

Curated by British-Ghanaian Osei Bonsu, the exhibition takes a thematic approach to explore the complex diversity of the African continent. It aims to challenge the historically Western-defined view of Africa and presents a collection of beautifully powerful photographs, videos, and installations that capture the essence of the realities of the fastest-growing continent in the world.

The featured artists include both legendary figures and emerging talents. Artists such as Malawi’s Samson Kambalu, Ghanaian James Barnor, and Mozambican Mário Macilau showcase their unique perspectives on African culture and identity. New talents like Aïda Muluneh from Ethiopia and Ruth Ossai, who grew up in Nigeria and Yorkshire, also contribute their powerful artworks.

The exhibition highlights the power of art to bridge the past and the present, the group and the individual. Zina Saro-Wiwa’s work explores the role of masks in Ogoni culture and serves as a personal and emotional journey of healing. Kiluanji Kia Henda’s photographs depict the cityscapes of Dubai and Luanda, reflecting on the idea of emptiness and the impact of greed and corruption on urban development. Dawit L Petros’s images shed light on the intricate realities of migration, contrasting Mauritania and Sicily.

“A World in Common” is a groundbreaking exhibition that celebrates the rich diversity and creativity of contemporary African photography. It challenges stereotypes and offers a fresh perspective on Africa’s past, present, and future. The exhibition is a testament to the power of art to inspire and provoke thought, and it is hoped that it will eventually travel to Africa and beyond.

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