The New African Portraiture. Shariat Collections

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The group exhibition The New African Portraiture. 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 and Otis Quaicoe show richly layered hybrid identities. Souleimane BarryBouvy Enkobo 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.

Artists of the exhibition:
Millicent Akweley (b. 2000 in Ghana), Cornelius Annor (b. 1990 in Ghana), Crystal Yayra Anthony (b. 1997 in Ghana), Atsoupé (b. 1986 in Togo), Souleimane Barry (b. 1980 in Burkina Faso), Amoako Boafo (b. 1984 in Ghana), Aplerh-Doku Borlabi (b. 1987 in Ghana), Alexandre Diop (geb. 1995 in France), Kimathi Donkor (b. 1965 in Great Britain), Matthew Eguavoen (b. 1988 in Nigeria), Bouvy Enkobo (b. 1981 in the Republic of the Congo), Basil Kincaid (b. 1986 in the USA), Turiya Magadlela (b. 1978 in South Africa), Gastineau Massamba (b. 1973 in the Republic of the Congo), James Mishio (b. 1997 in Ghana), Christopher Myers (b. 1974 in New York), Everlyn Nicodemus (b. 1954 in Tanzania), Jean David Nkot (b. 1989 in Cameroon), Boluwatife Oyediran (b. 1997 in Nigeria), Afia Prempeh (b. 1986 in Ghana), Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe (b. 1988 in Ghana), Josie Love Roebuck (b. 1995 in the USA), Eric Adjei Tawiah (b. 1987 in Ghana), Tesfaye Urgessa (b. 1983 in Ethiopia)

Curator: Ekow Eshun

The exhibition will be on view until Easter Monday April 10, 2023, and not until March 12, 2023, as originally announced.

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