Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Christabel Johanson

text: email

In the black fantastic, Hayward Gallery London


In the Black Fantastic will be the first exhibition to highlight this very significant and still under-acknowledged artistic territory that extends across the field of visual art to recent trends in literature, film, television, and music”.

Christabel Johanson quotes Ralph Rugoff, Director at the Hayward Gallery
Installation view Hayward Gallery (work of Rashaad Newsome)

Read more »

The Role of Sculpture in Caribbean Traditions


I would describe the Carnival Spirit as aiming for a ‘higher state’ while still on the ground. It may have irreverence and parody but it is a chance to be another kind of person. It is freedom and very spiritual – it illustrates as a chance to be ‘free’, to drink, dance on the street and to be with beautiful people.

Sokari Douglas Camp in conversation with Christabel Johanson

Read more »

Malachi James: Black Masculinity & Vulnerability


From my own personal experience, growing up, I did feel different and often out of place as a working class artistic mixed-race boy who wasn’t into football for example. Back then, I guess I wasn’t seen as traditionally masculine but I also didn’t want to ever show vulnerability in front of others either.

Malachi James in conversation with Christabel Johanson.
Charles Mingus, 2020


Read more »

Ethiopia & the Ethiopian Art Scene

Tariku Shiferaw, Kinfolk (Mereba), 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Addis Fine Art.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate oneself from one’s roots. Ethiopia is a part of me as much as my Black identity is in the United States. My work is heavily focused on my identity to where I’ve grown up and where I currently live. I have hopes that my African background will, perhaps one day, lead to conversations about global Blackness. Being Black in other parts of the world isn’t the same as it is in North America – the struggles and challenges differ from place to place.

Christabel Johanson in conversation with Tariku Shiferaw
Kinfolk (Mereba), 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Addis Fine Art.

Read more »

Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics & Contemporary Art


Clay as a material is malleable, thus it is able to be shaped in the artist’s vision. So, pottery can become a personal or political manifestation. As well as the aesthetic heritage, pottery is a record of the world around it, the zeitgeist and the society it was borne from. This is why recording and archiving these works are not only important for the art world but vital for history.

Christabel Johanson on Black Women Ceramics
Two Legged Vessels by Bisila Noha, Credit Thomas Broadhead for OmVed Gardens

Read more »