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Artificial Afrika

Curated by Vernon Reid and C. Daniel Dawson
Curatorial Advisors Brooke Davis Anderson and Danny Simmons

January 27 - March 17, 2006
Participating Artitsts:

Accra Shepp
Alison Saar
Charles Stone, III
Dread Scott
Eneida Sanches
Jack Kirby
Kevin Sampson
Michael Harris
Patricia Payne
Renee Cox
Richard Admiral
Satch Hoyt
Sonya Clark
Stephanie Dinkins
Vernon Reid
Victor Gama
Willie Birch
Xaviera Simmons
Yinka Shonibare
Ze Frank
Media Links:

view exhibition postcard | opening night pictures | installation views

video segment featuring interviews with artists and curators, directed and produced by John Carluccio


Gigantic ArtSpace [GAS] proudly presents Artificial Afrika, an exhibition that considers contemporary artistic appropriations of African visual culture through mythology, religious traditions, musical forms, and other culturally-specific practices. The exhibition's scholarly and artistic contributions deconstruct myths and inventions to challenge the validity of images that continue to define the idea of Africa, an idea often rife with thoughts of disease, poverty, and corruption. It is through this lens that the exhibition will consider a variety of cultural and artistic forms that not only represent ideas of the past, but more importantly, contribute to the evolving social transformation of the present.

Two of the main techniques used by the artists in the exhibit are irony and humor. For me this irony is the technique of using the tools and materials of the "Western World" to tell the story of the "African World," two supposedly separate technologies, even universes, that have, in the telling of an accurate history, really cross-fertilized and enriched each other for centuries. The humor that is used is borne out of the international African experience. It is a humor that can be quietly reflective, subtly revealing and ravagingly accusatory. - C. Daniel Dawson

Participating artists include: Richard Admiral, Willie Birch, Guillermo Brown, Sonya Clark, Renee Cox, Stephanie Dinkins, Ze Frank, Victor Gama, Michael Harris, Satch Hoyt, Jack Kirby, William Parker, Patricia Payne, Vernon Reid, Alison Saar, Kevin Sampson, Eneida Sanches, Dread Scott, Accra Shepp, Yinka Shonibare, Xaviera Simmons, and Charles Stone.

A full-color, 32-page catalog with contributions by C. Daniel Dawson, Vernon Reid, Robert Farris Thompson, and Greg Tate will be available.

About the Organizers:

C. Daniel Dawson | Vernon Reid | Brooke Davis Anderson | Danny Simmons

Public Events:

Panel discussion:
Art Official Africa. Thursday, February 9, 7pm at the American Folk Art Museum. Moderated by C. Daniel Dawson, with panelists Brooke Davis Anderson, Sonya Clark and Dread Scott. $10, $5 museum members, seniors and students. Tickets are available through the American Folk Art Museum: (212) 265-1040, ext. 160.

Artificial Africa Video Screening, program TBA
Friday, February 24, 8pm, afterparty at 9pm
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, 15 Nassau (corner of Nassau and Pine Streets)

What does contemporary art practice have to say about the myths, history, and rituals of Africa? In conjunction with Artificial Afrika, an exhibition curated by C. Daniel Dawson and Vernon Reid at Gigantic ArtSpace, LMCC presents an evening of new films and video work that considers mass-media perceptions of the 'African experience.' With an afterparty featuring video installations and live music. Visit www.lmcc.net for more information.