by Molly Glentzer
Wilfred Ukpong’s “BC1-ND-FC: By and by, I Will Carry this Burden of Hope, till the Laments of my Newborn is Heard #2” is among the works that will be featured during the 2020 FotoFest Biennial March 8-April 19.Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Blazing Century Studios, Nigeria / Courtesy of the artist and Blazing Century Studios, Nigeria
A lot of eyes will be on African contemporary art this spring.
One of the drivers is the FotoFest Biennial 2020, “African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other.” Expect a full slate of events to unfold at museums and galleries across the city and beyond.
One of the first associated shows opens this weekend at Moody Center for the Arts on the Rice University campus, which has recently established a Center for African and African American Studies within its Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Heads up for these big shows.
“Radical Revisionists: Contemporary African Artists Confronting Past and Present”
The 10 contemporary artists from Africa and the diaspora featured in the Moody’s exhibition address how the histories of marginalized people are often erased and how artists are reinterpreting familiar themes through contemporary, Afrocentric lenses. Questions of migration and displacement, representation and identity, and the exploitation of land, resources and people all come into play.
Participating artist Serge Attukwei Clottey performs at 6:30 p.m. Friday, during the opening reception. Sammy Baloji, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Omar Victor Diop, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Zanele Muholi, Robin Rhode, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Mary Sibande and Pascale Marthine Tayou also are featured in the show.
Opens 6-8 p.m. Jan. 24, through May 16; Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University (Entrance 8 off University); free; moody.rice.edu
African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and Other
Mark Sealy, who directs London’s renowned photographic art institution Autograph ABP, has curatedone of the world’s largest exhibitions of African photography to create FotoFest’s central show. In the spotlight will be 31 artists (including Houston’s own Jamal Cyrus) who examine the complex relationships between contemporary life in Africa, the African diaspora and global histories of colonialism, photography, and rights and representation.
“The artists presented in are not simply reflective commentators, travelers, flaneurs, or self-appointed interpreters,” Seaily says. “They represent a commitment to human well-being and the production and sharing of new and old knowledges.”
Through an African Lens: Sub-Saharan Photography from the Museum’s Collection
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston joins the FotoFest conversation with an exhibition, a film series and a day-long symposium.
March 5-July 5: The exhibition presents 70 photographs from the MFAH collection by artists from Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and South Africa. They represent a variety of artistic styles and expressive lenses from the 1950s to the present day.
April 3-5: A four-film series in the museum’s Brown Auditorium includes two important re-released restorations from the early 1990s, “Hyenas” (1992, Djibril Diop Mambéty) and “Daughters of the Dust (1991, Julie Dash), along with Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam’s “Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman” and “Chez Jolie Coiffure” (both from 2018).
March 21: The symposium in the Brown Auditorium is free and open to the public.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 Main; $12-$19, free on Thursdays and to children 12 and under; 713-639-7300, mfah.org