African painting has boomed in recent years. It reflects the self-awareness with which artists on the continent look at themselves and their position in the world. In this period, collectors Carla and Pieter Schulting have acquired a large collection of paintings - supplemented by some sculptures and photographs - from all parts of Africa, giving a good insight into what African painting stands for at this time. Many of the artists in the collection have themselves or their immediate surroundings as subjects with portraits, figure pieces and genre scenes.
On display are 145 artworks by 135 different artists from 33 African countries. Centers are formed by artists from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia) and North Africa. Although never complete, the collection provides a layered picture of how African artists reflect on their self-image and how their imagination radiates to the entire world.
Kunsthal KAdE is showing the collection of African art of Carla and Pieter Schulting. Over the past five years, they have assembled an extensive collection of 170 artworks by 154 artists from 33 African countries and the African Diaspora. The exhibition Africa Supernova presents a cross-section of the collection, showing how diverse, complex and promising the artistic development of contemporary African art is. Centers are artists from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia) and North Africa.With a focus on young artists - most are around 30 years old - the exhibition is an anthology from an emerging art scene. Together with Carla and Pieter Schulting, we are eyewitnesses to the blossoming of a group of artists who are storming the art world in the wake of some - now - big names. The focus is on painters, along with a number of sculptors and a growing focus on photography.
On view is the work of painters, sculptors and photographers with both intense figurative imagery of their own and a love of outright abstraction. They present Africa from an awareness of how the black body has been treated for centuries. "Contemporary African artists - from this awareness - fold past, present and future into each other," writes Azu Nwagbogu (co-curator Buro Stedelijk, Amsterdam) in his contribution to the catalog, "thus filling a gap (read: wound) that cannot simply be bridged with the self-quotation of figuration." 'It' is not just a political or artistic statement, 'it' is a matter of poise" so says Nwagbogu. Poise as an attitude in the visual language of contemporary African art to give subjects their own value, regardless of context. "The black body is defined by its presence and is overwritten with magnifying symbols. This is an element you not only see but also feel in many works in the Schulting Collection," Nwagbogu said.
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced," said African-American novelist James Baldwin. Looking at the rich visual vocabulary of the African artists in the Schulting Collection, one senses long histories, many experiences - including traumatic ones - and great stories ready to be told. Exposed from a personal perspective, often with the artists themselves or their friends as the focus, but with universal overtones. A history of many histories, portrayed from specific points of view and individual cultural experiences.
What is African art?
In an interview for the catalog, Carla and Pieter Schulting talk about their passion and their motivation behind collecting African art.
Pieter Schulting: "What is African art? There really is no such thing, because it is so diverse. An artist from Morocco can make a completely different work than an artist from South Africa. It is of course a huge continent and we also want to show that there are big differences. Personally, since we have been collecting African art, I have gained a different perspective on the continent. Discovering the artworks and meeting people from many different African countries is very educational and inspiring."
Carla Schulting: "The title Africa Supernova reflects how the art of the African continent has taken the art world by storm in recent years, as if in an explosion. We are only just beginning to discover what the African continent has in store for us. The title was coined by Nigerian curator Azu Nwagbogu, who will curate the Benin Pavilion for next year's Venice Biennale. This title sums up well that our collection is not easily pigeonholed, as varied and diverse as it is. We only collect works that we love, that touch our hearts. It is an explosion of creativity and that is exactly what we want to show."
The catalog consists of 232 fully illustrated pages featuring their entire collection of art from Africa and the Diaspora. In addition to the interview, it contains two essays, by Azu Nwagbogu and Raphael Dapaah, and about 150 biographies of the artists in the collection.
Africa Supernova. Contemporary African Painting Collection by Carla and Pieter Schulting is on display at Kunsthal KAdE from September 24 through January 7.
Kelani Abass (Nigeria), Adel Abdessemed (Algeria), Stacey Gillian Abe (Uganda), Aboudia (Ivory Coast), Tyna Adebowale (Nigeria), Tunji Adeniyi-Jones (UK), Annan Affotey (Ghana), Amina Agueznay (Morocco), Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar), Boris Anje a.k.a. Anjel (Cameroon), Cornelius Annor (Ghana), Ajarb Bernard Ategwa (Cameroon), Richard Atugonza (Uganda), Carlos Blaaker (Suriname), Kwesi Botchway (Ghana), Armand Boua (Ivory Coast), Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (Ivory Coast), Richard Butler Bowdon (South Africa), CATPC (Congo-Kinshasa), Edson Chagas (Angola), Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe), Joana Choumali (Ivory Coast), Feni Chulumanco (South Africa), Soly Cissé (Senegal), Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghana), Alioune Diagne (Senegal), Omar Victor Diop (Senegal), Wabi Dossou (Benin), Marlene Dumas (South Africa), Matthew Eguavoen (Nigeria), Victor Ekpuk (Nigeria), Sesse Elangwe (Cameroon), Esiri Erheriene-Essi (Great Britain), Johnson Eziefula (Nigeria), Leila Rose Fanner (South Africa), Osvaldo Ferreira (Angola), Sanaa Gateja (Uganda), Prince Gyasi (Ghana), Hassan Hajjaj (Egypt), Dan Halter (Zimbabwe), Fathi Hassan (Egypt), Lubaina Himid (Zanzibar | UK), Isshaq Ismail (Ghana), Jack Kabangu (Zambia), Samson Kambalu (Malawi), Kiripi Katembo (Congo-Kinshasa), Bonolo Kavula (South Africa), Matt Kayem (Uganda), Dada Khanyisa (South Africa), Lindokuhle Khumalo (South Africa), Ayogu Kingsley (Nigeria), Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), Tegene Kunbi (Ethiopia), Laetitia Ky (Ivory Coast), Joy Labinjo (Great Britain | Nigeria), Wole Lagunju (Nigeria), Moshekwa Langa (South Africa), Sthenjwa Luthuli (South Africa), Zemba Luzamba (Congo-Kinshasa), Gonçalo Mabunda (Mozambique), John Madu (Nigeria), Turiya Magadlela (South Africa), Dr. Esther Mahlangu (South Africa), Alice Mann (South Africa), Kojo Marfo (Ghana), Manyaku Mashilo (South Africa), Neo Matloga (South Africa), Wonder Buhle Mbambo (South Africa), Dankyi Mensah (Ghana), Cristina de Middel (Spain), Sungi Mlengeya (Tanzania), Miska Mohmmed (Sudan), Lerato Motaung (South Africa), Baudouin Mouanda (Congo-Brazzaville), Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Richard Mudariki (Zimbabwe), Cinthia Sifa Mulanga (Congo-Kinshasa), Thandiwe Muriu (Kenya), Wangechi Mutu (Kenya), Cassi Namoda (Mozambique), Godwin Champs Namuyimba (Uganda), Simphiwe Ndzube (South Africa), Mashudu Nevhutalu (South Africa), Serge Alain Nitegeka (Rwanda), Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (USA | South Africa), Jean David Nkot (Cameroon), Lunga Ntila (South Africa), Kelechi Nwaneri (Nigeria), Kaloki Nyamai (Kenya), Johnson Ocheja (Nigeria), Emma Odumade (Nigeria), Olamide Ogunade (Nigeria), Lord Ohene (Ghana), Oliver Okolo (Nigeria), Niyi Olagunju (Nigeria), Ayanfe Olarinde (Nigeria), Babajide Olatunji (Nigeria), Eniwaye Oluwaseyi (Nigeria), Oluwole Omofemi (Nigeria), Araba Opoku (Ghana), David Otaru (Nigeria), Adjaratou Ouedraogo (Togo), Dawit L. Petros (Eritrea), Thebe Phetogo (Botswana), Aviwe Plaatjie (South Africa), Zizipho Poswa (South Africa), Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe (Ghana), Talia Ramkilawan (South Africa), Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa), Chéri Samba (Congo-Kinshasa), César Schofield Cardoso (Cape Verde), Deborah Segun (Nigeria), Collin Sekajugo (Uganda), Tschabalala Self (USA), Mary Sibande (South Africa), Ngadi Smart (Sierra Leone), Ephrem Solomon (Ethiopia), Sanlé Sory (Burkina Faso), Moffat Takadiwa (Zimbabwe), Nirit Takele (Ethiopia), Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon), Zandile Tshabalala (South Africa), Chukwudubem Ukaigwe (Nigeria), Lina Iris Viktor (Liberia | United Kingdom), Didier Viodé (Ivory Coast/Benin), Lulama Wolf (South Africa), Saint Etienne Yeanzi (Ivory Coast), Luyanda Zindela (South Africa).