What is Contemporary African Art?
Live artist talk
African art has always been contemporary to its producers; the term “contemporary African art” implies a cultural and racial difference that today resonates with the global art world. This panel will examine the various ways such labels function both as gateway into the international art world, and as a barrier to creative development – and how individual artistic practices have responded to these categories.
Lawrence Lemaoana critically engages with mass media in present-day South Africa. Seeing the relationship between media and the ‘people’ as inherently problematic, he identifies and repurposes existing control apparatuses using his trademark cynicism. Lemaoana’s embroidered works are emblazoned with appropriated political dictums woven in kanga fabric – a material with its own complex ancestry. Here, Lemaoana wages criticism on the agency of local media, and its ability to shape social consciousness: the result turns didactic and propagandistic tools on their head.
Lemaoana’s recent exhibitions include Tous des sang-mêlés, Musée d’art Contemporain du Val de Marne (MAC/VAL), Paris; Le Jour qui vient, Galerie des Galeries, Paris, Being There, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, The Art of Disruptions, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town…
His work features in prominent local and international collections, including Sindika Dokolo Fondation, Luanda, IZIKO South African National Gallery , Cape Town, Louis Vuitton Fondation, Paris, Lafayette Anticipation, Paris
born 1980 in Harare, Zimbabwe
Maxim is known for both working as artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. Maxim together co-founded Village Unhu in 2012, an artist collective space in Harare that has been providing studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops and residency programs for artists – young and professional. Maxim worked at Gallery Delta, her first experience during and after her studies at Chinhoyi University of Technology and is a qualified art teacher having taught at Prince Edward School for over 7 years. As an artist, Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. Maxim describes her work as ‘the memory of’ the owners of these clothes, evoking the past and all these stories.
Maxim was a nominee of the Henrike Grohs Award (Goethe Institute, Abidjan) 2018, She has exhibited extensively with works being collected regionally (Gallery Delta, National Gallery of Zimbabwe) and internationally (Mojo Gallery in Dubai, Sulger Buell Gallery in London, Goethe Institute in Salvador de Bahia).
Recently Maxim studied African Verbal and Visual Arts – Languages, Curation and Visual Arts (Masters) at the University of Bayreuth in Germany and she displayed a body of work in the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 58th Biennale Di Venezia 2019.