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Iwalewahaus To Showcase Outputs Of African Artists

Nigeria’s Uche Uzorka with art enthusiasts during Mash up the Archive session

Nigeria’s Uche Uzorka with art enthusiasts during Mash up the Archive session

MASHUP, an exhibition of artworks by contemporary artists from Africa generated during the research project ‘Mash up the Archive’ which has taken place at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth over the last two years comes up on May 30, 2015 in Germany.

The concept of the project has been developed by the Kenyan curator Sam Hopkins and being realised at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth. However, the project has so far been accompanied by two “Mash up the archive-Festivals” in 2012 and 2013 and is being financially supported by ‘Kulturstiftung des Bundes’ and ‘Oberfrankenstiftung’.

At the core of the project are a series of four artist residencies in which six visual artists were invited to explore the diverse archive of African Art housed at the Iwalewahaus, and develop new artworks in response to this cultural production. The artworks, which have been developed present a series of distinct and considered approaches to the archival material.

The four artist comprise Kevo Stero and Otieno Gomba from Kenya who anchored their research on a specific object, the mask, building an immersive environment of film, installation and painting that re-imagines traditional notions of the mask. There is Thenjiwe Nki Nkosi and Pamela Sunstrum from Johannesburg, South Africa who took a form as their starting point, writing and developing an Anti-Opera, ‘Disrupters, this is Disrupter X’, to re-narrate and inscribe a new story on a studied selection of archival film, objects, and artworks.

Then come the Angola-born artist Delio Jasse whose point of departure was a technique, using a specific form of analog photomontage to develop unique ‘documents’, composited of fragments of information he found by scouring the immense Ulli Beier archive.

Also, there is Nigeria’s Uche Uzorka from Lagos who started with a position; that the openness of archive is deceptive and that it refuses more than it allows. The artist obsessively shredded archival documents during his residency and created artworks from the shredded material. Whereas his graphics formally take reference to artworks of the Nigerian Nsukka-School, that are part of the collection at Iwalewahaus.

But alongside the visual artist residencies, two musicians were also invited to respond to the music archive of Iwalewahaus. DJ Raph from Kenya and the Angola-born Batida remixed and reworked the traditional dance music of the archives. Their remixes will be played at the opening party on May 30.

Further to the artworks generated during the artist residencies, ‘Mashup’ also presents the artist book, ‘An archaeology of Loss’ by Sam Hopkins and Simon Rittmeier (Germany), which explores the idea of an empty archive.

Also as part of the exhibition, Iwalewahaus would present the newly developed, intuitive and accessible digital archive interface, developed in the context of the Mashup the Archive project by the Nairobi-based digital solution company, ‘Circle Digital’. The exhibition will be accompanied by two roundtables, Aura: The Object in Postcolonial Art Collections and Mashup as Defiance: Culture, Appropriation and Postcolonialism.

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