The New African Portraiture. The Shariat Collections

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The group exhibition The New African Portraiture. The Shariat Collections brings together leading figures from a generation of thrilling figurative artists of African origin.

The more than 20 exhibiting artists are based on the African continent and across the diaspora. They explore complex questions of identity, aesthetics and art history. Through compelling portraiture their work invites interrogation of how the Black figure has often been misrepresented or overlooked in the Western painting tradition.

The elegant figures depicted by Amoako Boafo, Kwesi Botchway and Otis Quaicoe show richly layered hybrid identities. Souleimane Barry and Christopher Myers conjure dreamlike scenes that merge the real and the imaginary. They make use of the endless narrative possibilities of African culture and myths. In the powerful work of Gastineau Massamba and Everlyn Nicodemus we see paintings that weigh personal trauma with the collective pain of Africa’s often fraught political history.

The exhibition is curated by a luminary of contemporary African art, the internationally renowned writer, journalist and art expert Ekow Eshun. He writes for numerous art magazines, is the former Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art London and Chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group. His publications Africa State of Mind and Black Gold of the Sun have been nominated for the Lucie Photo Book Prize and the Orwell Prize, respectively.

The works on display come from the collection of the brothers Amir and Shahrokh Shariat, who live in Vienna.

Curator: Ekow Eshun

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