Page 14

AfrikaUK

14  travelled and worked in Africa, because this approach reveals the inspiration, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that flows into and out of the continent. The exhibition is thus also about the new that is taking place in various parts of the continent, often in collaborations and exchanges between local and international forces. It can be added that several of the African contributors are based outside Africa; in Europe and the USA – notions of the authentic, the original and ‘the African’ thus continue to elude us in many ways. In its entirety the exhibition is a kaleidoscopic image of a world we still do not know. Not because its is incomprehensible, but because we have not taken the time to get to know it. Our ambition is to give people what, considering the size of the continent, could be called an appetizer. It is to be hoped that more people will take an interest in Africa and themselves seek new knowledge. IDENTITY: PERSONAL, REGIONAL, NATIONAL – AND A LITTLE AFRICAN? The exhibition consists of seven selected doorways to a huge body of material which in different ways relate to architecture, life and its preconditions among surroundings from huts to skyscrapers. Quiet fundamentally, the exhibition attempts, with the chosen themes and the projects and artworks included, to avoid the most common representations of sub-Saharan Africa. Lions, elephants, beautiful landscapes, Masai; these are all part of Africa, but not part of the nent as enormous as Africa that even approaches its diversity. Nor is it the aim of the exhibition to represent or pinpoint the specifically African: generalization remains a problem in itself in the standard portrayals. Africa, Africans and ‘the African’ are replaced in the various ‘cases’ in the exhibition by Senegal, the Kenyans and ‘the Nigerian’, just to single out three specific examples. Throughout the exhibition we take local samples, and talk about what is happening there in the local context, distilledout and close-up – while at the same time cross-regional tendencies in the continent that seem particularly marked and relevant are brought out. One example of this is the past shared history (different yet comparable) of most of the countries as colonies of European powers. The exhibition in other words does not tell us whatever we think Africa may be; it should rather be seen as a number of stories about a cultural here-and-now, not necessarily products of the ‘African’, but of the local and the global, now and in potential futures. Or as Nnamdi Elleh puts it in his text in this catalogue: “The physical and the social spaces shown in this exhibition are the arenas for fulfilling individual and collective aspirations in the modern and contemporary ‘lifeworld’ of African countries”.1 Exactly because the ‘life-world’ is regarded as a complex weave of local impacts and global tendencies, the exhibition’s contributors consist not only of people who were born in the continent, but also for example of people from Europe, the USA and Asia, who have lived, tic exhibition Africa – Big Change Big Chance in 2014, which described changes both in the cities and in the countryside, and not least the potential that can be seen for the continent in the future; and Re-Enchanting the World at the Cité de l’Architecture in Paris in 2014, where a number of architects from the African continent contributed to a narrative about architecture and sustainability that involved construction projects all over the world. In the field of art too we see an increased attentiveness towards Africa. This tendency was consolidated at the recently opened Biennale in Venice (May 2015), which with the world-famous Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor in charge of the whole affair has attracted a succession of young artists from the African continent on to the international scene. There have been similar developments in music, literature, fashion and design: everywhere Africa is contributing to globally interwoven cultural production. Louisiana would like to be a part of bringing attention to this fact. ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE Africa – architecture, culture and identity is the third and last exhibition in a series that began in 2012 with the exhibition NEW NORDIC, which examined the role of the tradition and the phenomenon of place-specificity in Nordic architectural culture. The exhibition was followed in 2014 by ARAB CONTEMPORARY, which spoke of new tendencies in the Arab world with a special focus on the relationship between private and public space. ARAB CONTEMPORARY included the Maghreb countries of North Africa, which is why the current, third exhibition focuses on the rest of the continent, which is referred to as sub-Saharan Africa – Africa south of the Sahara Desert; a huge area that consists of 49 different countries, each with its own special historical and cultural background and demographic complexity. In the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria, many hundred languages are spoken – so many that there is disagreement on how many there actually are – it varies from a couple of hundred to over five hundred. From that very simple statistical estimate alone it is evident that sub-Saharan Africa is far more culturally composite than the Nordic countries or the Arab world, and that the basis and project of the exhibition are correspondingly complex. Hence, it should be emphasized that one cannot of course offer an adequate portrait of a conti


AfrikaUK
To see the actual publication please follow the link above