Out of Africa, Into Houston

September 1, 2006 by  
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Contemporary African art exhibition visit UH campus

The phrase “authentic African art” evokes mental images of bright colors or elaborate carvings. But an exhibition coming to the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery may shatter these images as artists explore the very nature of authenticity.

The traveling exhibition, “A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad,” will be at the gallery from Sept. 9-Nov. 18. The show presents new work in painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance by prominent African artists who work in Europe and the United States.

Paintings by Odili Donald Odita and Owusa-Ankomah, videos and performance art by Kendell Geers and Ingrid Mwangi, and photographs by Zineb Sedira are just a few of the creative works that will be on display. These artists represent the generation born between 1956 and 1975, just before or during the African postcolonial era. Their work challenges prevailing notions about Africa and the demand in western countries for authentic African art. Because these artists live away from their native continent, their work tells a story of migration, relationships between cultures and Africa’s place in the contemporary global culture.

The Blaffer Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building on the main campus of the University of Houston, near the intersection of Cullen and Elgin. A stated objective of this free gallery, in addition to serving as a museum and a scholarly resource, is to foster future artists, arts professionals and arts audiences. Since its establishment in 1973, the gallery has hosted more than 250 exhibitions; and once its facilities were expanded in 1999, the museum has been able to present between six and eight exhibitions every year. These include shows that have a particular relevance to Houston, retrospectives of national and international artists, exhibitions of regional artists, special projects by local artists and major traveling exhibitions, such as “A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad.”

University of Houston
120 Fine Arts Building
(713) 743-9530

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