France Returns Anti-Colonial Fighter’s Sword to Senegal and More News

Friday, 22 November 2019


FRANCE RETURNS SWORD OF ANTI-COLONIAL FIGHTER TO SENEGAL. In one of its first steps toward restitution of African artefacts, France has returned, for a period of five years, a sabre that belonged to Omar Saidou Tall, a 19th century Islamic scholar and ruler, who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French. Tall disappeared mysteriously in 1864. Colonialists later seized his sword from his son, and looted his library. The next stage will be for French MPs to vote on whether to permanently return this and other artefacts. [BBC]

MUSEUM LEADERS DISCUSS RESTITUTION AND THE PROBLEMS FACING AFRICA’S MUSEUMS. A panel at the Global Consortium for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage symposium considers the significance of new museums opening across Africa; the need for state funding; the importance of not sticking solely to traditional, Western models of museums and exploring new ways to get objects back into the communities they come from. [Smithsonian]

PALAIS DE LOMÉ ARTS CENTRE AND CULTURAL PARK OPENS ON TUESDAY. The Palais, which served as residence for an assortment of Togolese rulers since its construction in the 1890s, has been renovated as part of a programme of rehabilitation of historical heritage by the government. Conceived as an artistic and cultural centre for design, visual and performing arts, one of its opening exhibitions is dedicated to the great Togolese designer Kossi Aguessy, who was the first African designer to be honoured with a special section at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. [Palais de Lomé]

KOYO KOUOH AND WILLIAM KENTRIDGE ON ARTREVIEW’S 2019 POWER 100 LIST. Last week, the international contemporary art magazine published the 18th edition of its annual list of the world’s most influential artists, curators, gallerists and other powerful people in contemporary art. While Kouoh and Kentridge are not new to the list, academics Felwine Sarr and Bénédict Savoy entered the list at number six for their report on restitution of looted African artifacts, which has ignited a global debate on decolonization of Western museum collections. [C&]

THE VISIONARY ART SCHOOLS OF SOUTH AFRICA. The Market Theatre Laboratory and the Market Photo Workshop are shining examples of how a mode of learning that is between formal and informal can make a positive difference in the world. The chief executive of Market Theatre Foundation talks about developing critically inclined artists in South Africa. [C&]


Temitayo Ogunbiyi, You Will Find Playgrounds Among Palm Trees (2019). Exhibition view: How to Build a Lagoon With Just A Bottle of Wine? Courtesy Lagos Biennial
Temitayo Ogunbiyi, You Will Find Playgrounds Among Palm Trees (2019). Exhibition view: How to Build a Lagoon With Just A Bottle of Wine? Courtesy Lagos Biennial

BEN ENWONWU FOUNDATION HOLDS POINT OF VIEW 3: MUSEUMS, TOURISM AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT. In this edition of the foundation’s monthly series of talks, leading architects, museum specialists and government officials address key issues, trends and challenges in Nigeria’s cultural tourism sector. [Omenka]

LAGOS BIENNIAL 2019: STORIES FROM AFRICA’S MOST POPULOUS CITY. This is the final weekend to visit the 2nd edition of the Lagos Biennial at the Independence House, Lagos Island. “Art, architecture, environmentalism, and urbanism intersect in newly commissioned and existing artworks,” writes Jareh Das in this engaging review. [Ocula]

RELE PRESENTS ITS LAST EXHIBITION OF THE YEAR. ‘It’s a wRAP,’ tagged Rele Art Party, is an end of year celebration and display of artwork from artists in the Rele Gallery family: Marcellina Akpojotor, Sejiro Avoseh, Tonia Nneji, Osaze Amadasun and Dandelion Eghosa. The exhibition opens on 1 December 2019. [RELE]

OTOBONG NKANGA PRESENTS ‘ACTS AT THE CROSSROADS’ AT ZEITZ MOCAA. In this exhibition, the Nigerian-born artist, through drawings, paintings, photography and video works, gives voice to a need to reconnect and rethink our relationship to the earth. ‘Acts at The Crossroads’ opened yesterday and runs through 23 February 2020. A conversation between Nkanga and Zeitz Chief Curator Koyo Kouoh holds at the museum on 23 November 2019 at 10am. [Zeitz MOCAA]

WENDIMAGEGN BELETE PRESENTS ‘MOMENT’ AT KRISTIN HJELLEGJERDE GALLERY, LONDON. Stitching together fragments from historic and contemporary Ethiopian culture, Belete, whose practise is preoccupied with cultural heritage and identity, presents a dynamic new body of work entitled አንዳፍታ (an Amharic word translated into English as ‘moment’). The exhibition holds from 22 November till 20 December 2019. [Press Release]



For the Art Scene, a Breath of Fresh Air. “So much about Impart Artists’ Fair deserves plaudits. First, there is its innovative and unobtrusive inveigling of technology into the local visual arts aficionado’s consciousness.”

Meet Ethiopia’s Elias Sime and the five other artists competing for the coveted 2020 Hugo Boss Prize. The winner will receive a $100,000 honorarium and will present a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in spring 2021.

ART X Lagos 2019: More than an Art Fair? Adeoluwa Oluwajoba reviews Art X Lagos, 2019, and compares it with past editions.

Love, Lagos. Ayodeji Rotinwa reviews at Art X Lagos for ArtForum.

The Venice Biennale Shuts Down as the City is Hit by its Worst Floods in Half a Century.



Featured image: Street art in Senegal’s capital Dakar commemorates the anti-colonial fighter. Courtesy of Alex Gorzen/Erica Kowal

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