Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
May 20, 2023

Celebration of Our Forthcoming Publication Where is Africa in Venice

Publication Cover

May 20th, 5-6:30 PM at the Giardini della Marinaressa - Ponente in Venice

Join us for an aperitivo and a toast celebrating our forthcoming publication Where is Africa! Join the waitlist here.

Edited with text by Emanuel Admassu and Anita N. Bateman and designed by NMutiti Studio, Where is Africa is a multidisciplinary illustrated reader.

In 2017, curator and art historian Anita N. Bateman and architect and professor Emanuel Admassu initiated research on the traditional positioning and mispositioning of the arts across the African continent.

Where Is Africa has been an extended set of exchanges with contemporary artists, curators, designers and academics who are actively engaged in representing the continent—both within and outside its geographic boundaries. By examining artist collectives, new currents in art history and the rise of contemporary art festivals in and about Africa from the past 10 years, the project unpacks the imperialist foundations of cultural institutions and their anthropological fascination with African objects, people and places.

The interviews in Where Is Africa examine African and African-diasporic identities and spaces through questions of positionality in relation to specific disciplinary, cultural and political contexts. The texts address Afro-diasporic aesthetic practices and the curatorial, museological and artistic matrices that confront epistemologies of dominance and exclusion. The commissioned essays and images offer concise methodologies that expand or complicate issues addressed by the interviewees.

Where Is Africa is a conceptual project that accompanies a conceptual place, driven by the desire to dislodge Africa from categorical fixity and the representational logics of nation-states. Africa can never be fully enclosed by the residue of colonial violence or the totalitarian gaze of neoliberalism; instead, it creates infinite malleability, where place and concept are untethered from each other.

Where is Africa contributors include: Mikael Awake, Salome Asega, Tau Tavengwa, Anthony Bogues, Jay Simple, Eric Gottesman, Rebecca Corey, Aida Mulkozi, Rakeb Sile, Mesai Haileleul, Mpho Matsipa, Niama Safia Sandy, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Rehema Chachage, Robel Temesgen, Valerie Amani, Meskerem Assegued, Elias Sime, Olalekan Jeyifous, Amanda Williams, Germane Barnes, Mabel O. Wilson, and Mario Gooden.

Pre-order here.

This publication is supported in part by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Image: Detail from Last Adbar-Lasting Adbar, 2023 Robel Temsegen. Courtesy of the artist. Designed by NMutiti Studio.

This event will take place in Venice in conjunction with the 2023 Biennale Architecttura, curated by Lesley Lokko.

Of the Biennale Lokko wrote: “It is often said that culture is the sum total of the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves. Whilst it is true, what is missing in the statement is any acknowledgement of who the ‘we’ in question is. In architecture particularly, the dominant voice has historically been a singular, exclusive voice, whose reach and power ignores huge swathes of humanity… For the first time ever, the spotlight has fallen on Africa and the African Diaspora, that fluid and enmeshed culture of people of African descent that now straddles the globe. What do we wish to say?”

About the Gardens: The Giardini della Marinaressa - Ponente is located along the Riva dei Sette Martiri, the monumental waterfront of the city of Venice. The gardens are situated in the Castello district, alongside the part of the San Marco basin between the Arsenale and the Biennale Gardens. This celebration is hosted by CARA in partnership with the European Cultural Centre. Find more information here.