Art in Africa mfa AKV/St. Joost
Wednesday, March 23, Africa expert Pauline Burmann and artist Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi gave presentations on contemporary art in Africa.`
Pauline Burmann is chair of the Thami Mnyele Foundation (Amsterdam based foundation that offers a an artist-in-residence programme for African artists), and has a hands-on experience of art in Africa since 1976. She studied Art History and African Art History, and now is connected as teacher art history at the University of Addis Abeba in Ethiopia.
The Dutch have no strong connections with Africa, except for historical bonds with South Africa. Other than the UK, France and Belgium there has been hardly any exchange with African culture. In those countries contemporary art in Africa is part of the art world, in the art world of the Netherlands however there is a blind spot. This results according to Pauline in quite naïve and simple knowledge and attitudes towards art in Africa.
Pauline stressed from her experience that the situation for artists in Africa doesn’t differ that much from the situation for artists in Europe. Of course there are many differences, also between all African countries. But she stressed the fact that in all African countries just like in Europe many artists are around, making work in all disciplines, earning their money by selling their work, teaching art courses at universities, making careers internationally, etc.
In many African countries workshops play an important role. Artists come together for 2 or 3 weeks, live together, make work together. Results always draw a big crowd of public, artists and collectors. This results in a lasting artistic and professional spin-off, resulting in strong bonds between individual artists all over the continent. Many workshops in Africa are organized by Triangle. Find more artist-in-residence programs on Trans Artists
Pauline was accompanied by the current resident artist at the Thami Mnyele foundation: Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi (born in Cape Town in 1977). Ngqinambi showed slides of his paintings, which show elements of Xhosa culture, where he comes from. This is an oral culture, which is on the verge of disappearing.
Lots of questions answered, lots of questions raised. Up to a next Art in Africa session!