Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Archive: articles

Soufiane Ababri: Bedworks


The Bedworks are drawings made with colored pencils in a bed, so in an extended position. It was a way for me to reposition my work, putting away the studio work with all that it evokes as an imaginary of the virile artist working in a technical space. In short it is a work that wants to be domestic; it takes place in this space dedicated to women in art history.

Karima Boudou in conversation with the Moroccan artist Soufiane Ababri
Bedwork, 2016-2018, colored pencils on paper

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Marcel Pinas: Tembe Afaka


During the last few years discussions have been going on in The Netherlands, addressing colonialism and its complex influence in the present. This discussion is most present in the field of arts, where exhibitions show artists who counter eurocentrism while reflecting upon their own identities, upon humanity and inhumanity. Pinas’ art works resonate with this discussion, as he is already rather entangled in the fabric of the art world, in Surinam as well as in The Netherlands.

Machtel Leij on the recent exhibition Tembe Afaka of the Surinamese artist Marcel Pinas.

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Alex Mawimbi


I should say something about the style of Mawimbi’s drawings. These are often described as minimal, but that is a confusing term especially in an art-critical context. These drawings are pregnant of signs and symbols. I would call them classical, in the sense of ancient Greek classicism, like red or black figure vase painting in which contour is also used as the restrained mode of expressive figuration. Such a style was of course familiar from (sculptural) images in pharaonic – that is African – antiquity. Mawimbi’s drawing has a strong affinity with the contemporary application of this style, namely playful comic.

Jelle Bouwhuis on the drawings of the Kenyan artist Alex Mawimbi
Untitled, 2016

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Nick Whittle: This Is Not My Land


The work of Nick Whittle is the journey of an artist who probably started candid and full of expectations, but who soon grew into a confrontation with himself. To arm himself or to come to terms with it, he had to immerse himself in the history of Barbados and England. This history not only provided him with the necessary insight, but also presented him with the symbolic visual language that gave him the opportunity to express his aversion to it, make it visible and apologize for it.

Rob Perrée on the work of Nick Whittle (Birmingham/Barbados).
Ancestors, 2017 (detail)

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African Culture Through The Lens

Photography therefore also has the potential to present a reality divorced from the artist’s bias so as to challenge the prejudices of history. The objects in front of the lens must be decoded and contextualised as part of a wider civilisation and context. This is especially true for tribal African cultures.

Christabel Johanson on the representation of Africa through photography.
Kara man painted and adorned for courtship, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

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