Environment and Object
Recent African Art

Environment and Object: Recent African Art examines recent African art according to two fluid and often intertwined aesthetic and conceptual frameworks: the impact of the environment on contemporary African life, and the use of found objects and appropriated materials as a recurring presence in current African art. Charting a wide range of ways that contemporary artists from Africa are responding to environmental conditions and their own situations to make art, Environment and Object includes sculpture, photography, painting, and video by well-known artists from Africa and contemporary African artists living abroad. Artists include El Anatsui, Zwelethu Mthethwa, and Yinka Shonibare, MBE, as well as emerging artists such as Bright Ugochukwu Eke, George Osodi, and Nnenna Okore, among others. 

The artists featured in Environment and Object: Recent African Art engage the environment in varied ways and display distinctly different approaches to the use of objects and media in their art making. Some artists in the exhibition focus on the interplay between natural resources, capitalism and colonialism, and their impact on life in Africa today. Decisively rejecting romanticized perceptions of Africa, they interrogate contemporary African conditions and their urban and natural landscapes as contested spaces of economic and political power, creating conceptually resonant images with an overt social critique.

Other artists in the show employ strategies of accumulation and “recuperation,” drawing on objects present in their surroundings to create dense, poetically lyrical works that combine a love of abstraction with a commitment to the use of quotidian materials. The interdisciplinary implications of the art on view will underscore the range of ways environmental issues impact Africa, adding the frequently biting and provocative voices of these artists to scientific and political discourses on African nations, environments, and realities.

Anchor name: Webfeature
Exhibition Name
Environment and Object
Recent African Art
Exhibition Type
Faculty Curated
Group Exhibitions
Malloy Wing
Feb 5, 2011 - Jul 31, 2011
Environment and Object: Recent African Art is curated by Lisa Aronson, Associate Professor of Art History, Skidmore College, and John Weber, Dayton Director of the Tang.
El Anatsui, Lara Baladi, Sammy Baloji, Jerry Buhari, Sokari Douglas Camp, CBE, Viyé Diba, Bright Ugochukwu Eke, Romuald Hazoumé, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Garth Meyer, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Nnenna Okore, George Osodi, Georgia Papageorge, Chéri Samba, Barthélémy Toguo
Anchor name: Video
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