Contemporary African Artists: Changing Tradition (1990)
Paperback, 148 pages, Black & White, 8.75 x 11.25 inches
Featuring the work of El Anatsui, Youssouf Bath, Ablade Glover, Tapfuma Gutsa, Rosemary Karuga, Souleymane Keita, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Henry MunyaraziIncl El Anatsui, Youssour Bath, Ablade Glover, Tapfuma Gutsa, Rosemary Karuga, Souleymane Keita, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Henry Munyaradzi, Bruce Onbrakpeya.
Review from the NYT 1990:
''Contemporary African Artists: Changing Tradition,'' opening on Sunday at the Studio Museum in Harlem, is important. It comes at a time of increasing openness to art outside Europe and the United States, and in a careful, measured way, it lays groundwork and builds bridges others can use. Eye-opening exhibitions will follow.
Grace Stanislaus, a curator at the museum, selected nine artists from six countries where there is relatively easy foreign access to artists and some sense of artistic community. ''Our institutional focus on the African continent is chiefly sub-Saharan Africa and those countries with a history and current activity in the visual arts,'' writes Kinshasha Holman Conwill, the director of the museum, in the catalogue. Almost all the art was borrowed from the artists themselves.
Ms. Stanislaus writes that all the artists in the show have been ''acknowledged by their peers as innovators and experimentalists.'' Several of the artists studied in Europe and the United States. Some are Christian. All nine have exhibited internationally. All are eager for a dialogue with the international art world. Everything in this show, even the work that is formulaic or slight, has a freedom and grace.
One aim of the exhibition is to challenge stereotypes. Although rooted in African traditions, these artists do not have the anonymity of tribal artists. They are individuals who make highly personal work. Contemporary African art is ''elitist, individualistic and urban-centered,'' Dr. Dele Jegede of the University of Lagos emphasizes in the catalogue.