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What is Contemporary African Art?

As part of our online presentation Africa Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, curator Tumelo Mosaka breaks down the notion of a monolithic African continent. The project features several works by modernist artists, live conversations online, and lectures aimed at engaging a broader public during this socially difficult time.

On September 29th at 1 pm, OLCDC will stream a lunch talk hosted by Tumelo, featuring Zimbabwean artist Georgina Maxim and South African artist Lawrence Lemaoana. The discussion will explore various understandings of what contemporary African art means beyond the identity of homeland. Since African art has always been contemporary to its producers the term "contemporary African art" implies cultural and racial difference that resonates with the global art world. The participants on this panel will examine the various ways such labels function both as exclusionary and inclusionary platforms.

Tumelo Mosaka, OLCDC’s curator-in-residence is a specialist in contemporary art. He is a renowned independent curator from South Africa with an international reputation. He has occupied curator positions at the Krannert Art Museum in Champaign, IL where he curated several exhibitions including: Blind Field (2013), OPENSTUDIO (2011), The Kangarok Epic (2011), and MAKEBA! (2011), among others. Prior to joining KAM, Mosaka was Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum. Mosaka has also worked for the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina where he co-curated the exhibition Listening Across Cultures (2001) and Evoking History (2002). He has also organized several international exhibitions including Otherwise Black (2014) for the 1st edition International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Martinique. His projects have examined themes such as migration, identity, and racial injustice. He is the organizer for the project Africa: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow from the Karg Art Collection.

Lawrence Lemaoana obtained his Bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Johannesburg. He is currently reading for a master’s degree at the University of South Africa’s Art and Music Department. Lawrence Lemaoana’s body of work has, as its departure point, a fascination with the role of the mass media in present-day South Africa. In the work, the relationship between the ‘People’ and the media is problematized as a relationship of representation and control – who gets to control modes of representation; and who gets to represent those in control. The power of the media to act as a didactic tool or propagandistic weapon, and the power of the media to reveal and shape the psyche, or group consciousness of the People, is taken up in Lemaoana’s work with the artist’s trademark cynical satire.

Georgina Maxim is an artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. She is the co-founder of Village Unhu in 2012, an artist collective space in Harare that has been providing studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops an,d residency programs for artists – young and professional. Maxim studied at Chinhoyi University of Technology and recently obtained her Masters at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Her work combines weaving, stitch work, and the utilization of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. Maxim describes her work as ‘the memory of’ the owners of these clothes, evoking the past and all their stories. She has exhibited extensively including the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 58th Biennale Di Venezia 2019.

Join us live on September 29th at 1pm for a conversation with artists from Africa, and explore the interactive online project on the following link:

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