In an effort to consider the variegated impacts of COVID-19—a virus with a global reach—we interviewed curators and directors from institutions around the world about how the pandemic has affected their institutions.
James Barnor (b.1929) is a pioneering figure in Ghanaian photography. He documented the decolonizing processes and realities of the postcolonial context in Ghana, as well as the diasporic, metropolitan life in London.
Responding with imagination to the brutality and violence of Sierra Leone’s civil war (1991-2002), Abu Bakarr Mansaray’s monumental drawing Sinister Project depicts a fictitious war machine with careful detail that reveals the artist’s background in science and engineering.
Chéri Samba likes to throw people off. The cartoon-like texts with direct messaging that frequently figure in Samba’s complex visual universes function to maintain authorial control. As the artist notes, they are “a way of not allowing freedom of interpretation to the person who looks at my painting.”
By the 1850s, commercial photography studios could be found all across the globe, with people in disparate locations holding similar standing poses in front of standardized backdrops. The essay addresses different manifestations of early photography in eastern Africa, including how to critically approach the subjects pictured in colonial photographs created for international consumption.
Since the 1990s, Jean Depara has become famous for his portraits of brash city dwellers, and for his hedonistic depictions of their unbridled nightlife. This essay explores how Depara’s transgressive photographs emerged in the interstices of the otherwise very controlled Belgian colonial “image world.”
The sculptures of Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948-2015) offer a vision of a future modernity that is beautiful, harmonious, and functional.
The names, cultures, and nationalities of African artists who influenced Picasso have historically been omitted from scholarship. Yet Picasso’s interest in African masks is well-known. In this essay, MoMA staff member Kunbi Oni charts the implications— and possibilities—that closer attention to the makers of such masks could shed on modern art.
In 1939, the South African artist Ernest Mancoba turned toward abstraction for the first time. Although this artistic development has been associated with Mancoba’s relationship to the CoBrA movement, Joshua Cohen argues that his embrace of abstraction also can be read as a turn away from the burdens of representation imposed by patrons upon a black South African artist.