Fashioning black identity: Africa and the African diaspora
23 November 2019 to 9 February 2020
Fashioning black identity: Africa and the African diaspora explores ways in which contemporary black African artists are using fashion, photography and portraiture to redefine personal and cultural identity. The exhibition brings together works by seven prominent artists from Africa and the African diaspora who use photography and different spatial, corporal and temporal reference points as devices to explore and unpack perceptions of race and being.
Photography as a commercial business began in Africa with British and European colonisation in the late 19th century. Studios were set up to capture images of ‘exotic’ Africa to sell to the outside world. However, with the move to independence between the 1950s and 1970s, many of the photographic studios were taken over by African apprentices who began to explore the possibilities of photography as an art form.
Over the past forty years, a distinctive style of art photography has emerged in Africa, with artists incorporating fashion as a complex device in their works to convey individual and collective identity, speak of resistance and remembering, underscore creative expression and raise issues of race consciousness. Shifting between time past, present and future, portraits by these artists capture people, experiences and situations in order to redefine images of self and race in contemporary Africa and the African diaspora.
Artists: Jojo Abot, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Atong Atem, Delphine Diallo, Omar Victor Diop, Seydou Keïta and Namsa Leuba.
A Cairns Art Gallery touring exhibition