EMST / ATHENS
UBUNTU6 works by 34 artists from the Harry David Art Collection, are presented in five rooms within the EMST Temporary Exhibitions Space (Ground Floor). Works by representative artists of the contemporary African art, selected from the Harry David Art Collection, are presented in the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST), in five specially designed rooms, created by the Kallos Turin architectural practice (architects Stephania Kallos and Abby Turin).
Five curators, Osei Bonsu (Curator at Tate Modern), Rashid Johnson (Visual Artist), Elvira Dyangani Ose (Director of The Showroom art space), Emily Tsingou (Art Advisor to the Harry David Art Collection), Burkhard Varnholt (Collector, Founder of KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art) each take on a ‘room’, creating different discourses and approaches.
The South African term UBUNTU can be translated as ‘humanness’, ‘humanity towards others’, as a sense of human nature and a spirit of shared humanity. As a starting point for this exhibition, the phrase highlights the notion of a community and a spirit of sharing. At a time when the issue of race and racial discrimination remains as topical as ever – and the art of the developing countries of Africa and its diaspora is increasingly finding international recognition in the multi-cultural context of contemporary art – the exhibition aims to present the public with an overview of contemporary African art and the art of the African diaspora.
The political, historical and cultural polyphony that characterizes post-colonial Africa and expresses the constantly shifting conditions of the African continent lies at the core of the works in the exhibition, and is explored through a variety of themes, concepts and ideas, touching upon slavery and its history, racism and exploitation, segregation and apartheid, war, civil war, famine, cultural imperialism, race and gender, the ecological exploitation of Africa, African rites and rituals, African crafts traditions, representations of the black body, the notion of diaspora and displacement, the socio-political construction of skin colour, the experience of the immigrant, African history and memory, personal narratives and portraiture.