Exhibition title: Contemporary African art in the CAAM collection
Dates: 01.04.2016 to 22.05.2016
Place: CAAM – Los Balcones 11. Planta 0. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Since it was first established in 1989 one of CAAM’s fundamental avenues for development and research has been projects that feature contemporary creations from the African continent.
Although the 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the George Pompidou Centre is often considered in Europe and the western world as a reference and turning point in bringing non-western art ? Latin American, African and Asian ? to public attention, the truth is that other projects were underway in Europe prior to this that were very much involved in this early unveiling process. Amongst others, the Africa Centre in London, officially opened in 1964, presented exhibitions like Contemporary African Arts in1968 or The Pan-African Connection in 1982.
Needless to say, decades before these projects, a historic process was unfolding on the African continent in relation to what we have come to speak of as “contemporary creation” led by numerous artists and artist groups, art schools, spaces, exhibitions, magazines, critics and specialists.
In 1990, CAAM exhibited África Hoy (Africa Today) which was, in essence, the African section of the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre in Paris. It thus entered the international debate sparked by this project, both amongst western specialists and African specialists and artists, on the type of art exhibited there, which was considered to present an excessively exoticising and “primitivist” view. This debate was to continue with other exhibitions created in the West slowly leading to more exposure being given to works of a more “international” nature, created by contemporary African artists.
CAAM subsequently produced and exhibited other projects with different focuses and perspectives such as the exhibitions Otro País: Escalas Africanas (1994), El Tiempo de África (2000) and Travesías (2008).
Defining the art of one region, country or continent, is always a delicate task that generates controversy , indeed contemporary artists themselves claims universality in their work. Alongside this there is also the undeniable reality of the creators’ freedom to decide whether or not to incorporate elements into their work that make reference, more or less explicitly, to life, cultural and existential contexts.
CAAM wants to continue incorporating into our collection, work from artists of African origin that are either living on the continent or that form part of the diaspora, that we feel can help complete the weaving of a complex story, that is passionate and in on-going dialogue with the world.