Art World’s ‘Season Africa 2020’ recalls beloved Nigerian curator

For New PIttsburgh Courier

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN)—One of the more ambitious exhibits of African art to showcase French-speaking, English-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Africa, including North Africa, is scheduled to open June 2020 and run for 6 months.

The occasion will also mark the passing this year of Bisi Silva, an adventurous curator who, with her own money, founded a nonprofit art gallery and education center in Lagos, Nigeria, that has nurtured the growth and recognition of contemporary African artists. Silva died on Feb. 12 in a hospital there. She was 56.

Ms. Silva started the Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos in 2007 and made it a hub for bold and experimental sculpture, painting, photography and video and performance art that could ignite local and global interest.

She also curated exhibitions of African art around the world. One, in Helsinki, Finland, in 2011, featured the Nigerian photographer J. D. Okhai Ojeikere’s images of African women’s exotic hairstyles. (She turned that show into a book.) Others showed the work of the Ghanaian-born sculptor El Anatsui in Amsterdam and Johannesburg.

“To say that I am devastated is an understatement,” said N’Gone Fall, curator, art critic and current General Commissioner of the Season Africa 2020. “I lost a comrade, a sister.”

“One day we will have to honor her invaluable contribution.”

On the website of the Institute Francais, Season Africa 2020 is announced as “an invitation to observe and understand the world from an African perspective from 54 states of the African continent—more than 1.2 billion people and a diaspora of more than 60 million.

This is not a “cross-season”: there will be no French programming in Africa. The program will not be a quick collection of branded projects.

Africa2020 will be the sounding board for the changemakers who are impacting contemporary societies.

Columbia University Professor Mamadou Diouf is also on the program as a “sectoral expert” heading up the literature and the debate of ideas.

(Featured Photo: N’Gone Fall)

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