Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Archive: articles

Kyle Meyer: Interwoven


Meyer’s tapestries are disturbingly provocative, layered and convoluted at the same time than explosively colorful and abstruse. They conceit and reveal, putting into play numerous symbolisms, but with a clear mission: bringing to light the realities that gay men in Swaziland face on a daily basis.

The American artist Kyle Meyer in conversation with Raquel Villar Pérez from London
Unidentified 100, Courtesy of the artist

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Matt Kayem: Cool Afrika


What makes the show spectacular is the originality and the experimentation with a mixture of materials. In particular, for the paintings, the artist used pieces of second-hand denim as the canvas. Employing impressionist style, with lucid and short brush strokes, the artist constantly shifts among popular faces, but his self-portrait, garnished with grandeur, is the center of most paintings.

Enos Nyamor (Nairobi) on the solo exhibition of Matt Kayem (Kampala)

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Paul Mpgagi Sepuya


His starting point or basic material for many photographs is a mirror. On that he glues fragments of previously made photos (or drawings). Often they are fragments of naked body parts. From the collage created by performance-like actions – the handwork is visible in the fingerprints on the mirror – he again makes a photograph while parts of a body appear behind or next to the mirror.

Rob Perrée on the photoworks of the American artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Mirror Study OX5A6571, 2018

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What Does Land Mean for South African’s Culture? Part 1


A little reminiscent of the early 1990s Steve Hilton-Barber controversy following the white photographer’s unseemly pictures of naked Sotho initiates (largely an inaccessible site) aroused unflinching backlash from black theatre audiences. Hilton-Barber’s pictures not only instantiated a debased pornotropic and ethnographic palate prevalent in colonial photographic practice but, rather less memorable than the representativity of the disrobed native body, was the fact that Hilton-Barber’s access to the “sacred” site and exposed body of initiates was precisely due to the fact that his family owned those rolling mountains where black rituals were actualized.

Athi Mongezeleli on land politics in South Africa
The Landless People’s Movement outside the Constitutional Court, 14 May 2009 (photographer unknown)


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Quentley Barbara: Portraits in Cardboard


My aim is to bring more young people on Curacao in contact with art. I have had so many friends in high school who ended up in crime. I want to show them that there are other ways. Just as people in the Netherlands should be more aware of the past and how that past shaped the present, people on Curacao should be more aware of the fact that the future is in their own hands. Instead of fighting each other, we should be fighting together for a better world.

Manon Braat in conversation with Quentley Barbara from Curacao

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