Past Event

Biennale Cultures in Africa

March 4, 2016
2:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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612 Schermerhorn Hall: 1198 Amsterdam Ave

Artwork by Kendell Geers.

Biennales are part of a global network that produces and disseminates contemporary art, as well as a platform for grappling with such issues as politics, race, identity, globalization, and postcolonialism. Since 1985, various African constituencies have organized biennales as a means to participate in the world dialogue on contemporary art and to nourish local imaginaries. The present symposium takes the 4th Biennale in Lubumbashi (Congo-Kinshasa) as a point of departure to explore “biennale cultures” from the original perspective of a group of artists who have developed an alternative platform to engage and re-author their post-colonial history. Why have biennales found so much more traction in the French-speaking countries? And what is their impact on global artistic practice? As Terry Smith asks, “Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art?”

Speakers include:
Toma Muteba Luntumbue (artistic director, 4th edition of the Biennale Lubumbashi);

Kendell Geers (Artist / Advisory Committee Johannesburg Biennials);

Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Curator, 11th edition of Dak’Art);

Maureen Murphy (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne);

Z. S. Strother (Columbia University).

And Chika Okeke-Agulu (Princeton University) will lead a broader discussion on the nature and significance of “biennale cultures” in Africa.

This event is co-sponsored by Labex CAP, Alliance Program, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, FACE-Partner University Fund, Department of Art History, Barnard College.