|Garth Meyer, Untitled (Figure #12), 2010 [All images courtesy Tang Museum]|
|George Osodi, Blackened Explosion, 2004|
This February, responses to urban, natural, and economic environments by contemporary African artists will be on view in a thought-provoking exhibition at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. From appropriated waste materials turned into site-specific installations and sculptures to eerily compelling photographs of ravaged and degraded environments, Environment and Object-Recent African Art, will include works of art that scrutinize man-made environmental disasters, natural resource problems, deforestation, and other ecological issues.
|Sammy Baloji, Untitled 13, 2006|
Other artists in the show take a less directly political approach regarding their environments, using found objects and abandoned junk to create both visually compelling and intellectually challenging art works. Opening February 5, 2011, the exhibition will present the work of Africans, living and working around the globe, including internationally recognized artists Yinka Shonibare, El Anatsui, Viyé Diba, Barthélémy Toguo, and Zwelethu Mthethwa, as well as emerging artists gaining a reputation outside of Africa, such as Bright Ugochukwu Eke, Lara Baladi, and Nnenna Okore.
|Viyé Diba, Nous sommes nombreux et nos problemes avec [We Are Numerous and So Are Our Problems], 2008|
“Many of the artists on view incorporate found objects into their work, whether to address ecological and economic conditions or simply to reflect the nature of the world they live in” said co-curator Lisa Aronson, Associate Professor of Art History at Skidmore. “El Anatsui and Nnenna Okore employ materials taken from urban and rural environments to create expressive and provocative wall hangings and sculptures. Other artists in the exhibition work in traditional media like paint and photography to create meditations on natural resource management or industrial pollution. Yet, all decisively reject romanticized perceptions of Africa, while offering a broader view of contemporary Africa and conditions which concern it.”
|Georgia Papageorge, Genesis, Crucifixion, Aftermath (from Africa Rifting), 2003|
Bright Ugochukwu Eke, a Nigerian artist working frequently in the U.S., often explores humans’ negative impact on the environment. Eke will be an artist-in-residences at the Tang in January, where he will work with four Skidmore studio art majors to create a site-specific installation incorporating plastic water and soda bottles. Known for his elegant architectural works, Eke’s installations are often made through the accumulation of hundreds of identical, discarded objects, in order to focus attention on the “earth-human connection.” Viyé Diba of Senegal, who creates painting, sculpture, and mixed media installations incorporating objects and photographs, will also be an artist-in-residence at the Tang.
|Jerry Buhari, Images of Zaria City (Exploring Images of a City), 2005|
|Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Black Gold I, 2006|