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Okayafrica: Art Shows We're Looking Forward to in 2023

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Onyeka Igwe: A Repertoire of Protest (No Dance, No Palaver)

On view at MoMA PS1, from March 16th to August 21st, 2023.

This will be the first solo museum exhibition of the London-born multidisciplinary artist, Onyeka Igwe, who uses cinema and installation to observe less-known historic events, incorporating government records, etc. into gesture, voice and song. The film focuses on the Aba Women's Protest in 1929 in Nigeria. This act of resistance, led primarily by Igbo women, is considered one of the first anti-colonial uprisings in Nigeria, and marks a violent episode. The museum says that the exhibition highlights the artist’s "ongoing interest in the relation between dance and protest movements, especially those enacted by women."

Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined

On view at New Museum from March 2nd to June 4th, 2023.

Following being selected as the first artist to animate the museum's exterior, Mutu's The NewOnes, will free Us, the Nairobi-born artist will work her magic on a museum façade this year, as part of the New Museum's massive exhibition of Mutu's work, including painting, collage, drawing, sculpture, and film as the museum aims to present the full breadth of Mutu's practice from the mid-1990s to today.

Standing On the Corner: Seven Prepared Pianos for the Seven African Powers

On view at MoMA PS1 from June 1st to October 9th, 2023.

The avant-garde musical ensemble, Standing on the Corner, creates installations that encompass sound, performance, and moving image. The project, connecting New York City, Puerto Rico, and African diasporic communities, seeks to imagine how spiritual forces "enchant and ‘possess’ through various forms of entertainment". A new piece titled Seven Prepared Pianos for the Seven African Powers, intends to bridge Standing on the Corner’s interest in local cultural and ancient spiritual practices of Africa and the Caribbean.

John Akomfrah: Five Murmurations

On view at the Smithsonian: National Museum of African Art from February 11th, 2023.

In Five Murmurations -- dubbed "a visual essay of our times" –, Sir John Akomfrah addresses an 18-month period that covers the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the worldwide protests in support of Black Lives Matter. Akomfrah's insights into post-colonialism, diasporic experience, and memory are illustrated through his use of images that mix iconic works of art with scenes that he has shot.

Africa Fashion

On view at the Brooklyn Museum from June 23rd to October 22nd, 2023.

Following on from London's V&A Museum's landmark show titled Africa Fashion in July last year, New Yorkers will get to see a touring version of it. The exhibition, which "celebrates the creativity, ingenuity, and global impact of African fashions," showcases fashion design, photography, textiles and visual art from the 1960s to today. In addition to works from their collections, there is commentary from designers whose work has been inspired by those objects.

This article was selected by Richard Lewsey


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