Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

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TELL ME YOUR STORY. 100 years of storytelling in African American art

In the context of The Netherlands, where African American art has never had a dedicated solo show, I appreciate that the way the show was thought and how it is laid out responds to a rather didactic curatorial approach: the works are displayed in a loose chronological order, the wall-texts, although in Dutch, provide with a light contextual socio-political explanation of the time, they are accompanied by cultural artefacts that informed the visual arts and reinforced the mood of the time such as music, printed materials, and videos.

Raquel Villar-Pérez on TELL ME YOUR STORY, 100 years of storytelling African American art
Charles White, The Bridge Party, 1938

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Sonia Boyce


“In the Castle of My Skin starts with the metaphor of skin as a covering, a surface, a barrier, a marker of identity and a connector between internal and external worlds. This builds on the intersection of diverse histories as a recurring theme in Boyce’s work…Boyce is fascinated by moments of serendipity that occur when people are brought together without a script.”

Christabel Johanson on Sonia Boyce.

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David Thuku, Still-in-Motion

DavidThukuObserver III

Since my college days, I’ve been experimenting a lot with different materials. To me, each idea normally chooses its own material. In the last 5 years, I’ve been experimenting with paper. For this body of work, paper was the perfect material. I wanted to work with layers. The idea isn’t about the completeness of works but the process. This includes the physical creation process. And the process of these characters was more based on layers.

Thadde Tewa in conversation with David Thuku from Kenya.
Observer III, 2016, Courtesy of One Off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi

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Moshekwa Langa

LangaSwimming lesson after the rains 2018

Moshekwa Langa’s work can be characterised as ‘psycho geographical mapping’, an idea that incorporated the symbolic function of the short and small brushstrokes that comprises the pieces. It also emphasises the function of the atmospheric effect of the works

Themba Tsotsi on the work of the South African artist Moshekwa Langa
Swimming Lessons after the Rains, 2018

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Radcliffe Bailey


For me as an artist, I want to be known as an artist, at the end of the day I want to be known as a human, I just want to be respected. But sometimes I choose for African American artist, in many ways we need to be acknowledged for our contributions to the world. And I think we have given a lot of contributions and a lot of them haven’t been acknowledged.

Rob Perrée interviews Radcliffe Bailey
Nest, 2012 (detail)

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