African art to illuminate energy challenges faced by the continent
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These were the words of Dr Same Mdluli, curator and manager of the Standard Bank Gallery at the launch of the Pan-African travelling exhibition, Lumières d’Afriques, last week.
“What is unique about the exhibition is that it reminds us of the beautiful continent we live in,” she said.
In partnership with African Artists for Development (AAD) Lumières d’Afriques features work from 54 artists from each country on the continent.
“This exhibition comes together in this very unique theme around the notion of light and energy.
“It also inspired a positive aspect around why African artists are so important, and it is because they are highlighting important socio-political cultural issues that bring our attention to things that are concerning all of us.
“We all have a chance to interpret and come to our own conclusions in terms of what we are seeing.”
As the gallery celebrates 30 years, head of marketing and communications at the bank, Thulani Sibeko, said the development of art is a practical expression of the group’s purpose of driving the growth of Africa.
“In 2016, there was a tweet from Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) which read that social progress inspires great art and great art in turn inspires social progress.
“This statement resonates with the dilemma of causality, a source of great debate as to which came first but in reality it doesn’t matter because what we have is a powerful and symbiotic force that drives human progress. We too believe art inspires progress, as society develops it inspires greater art and culture products. The co-operative interplay between arts and other facets of humanity move society forward,” Sibeko said.
AAD initiated Lumières d’Afriques with a vision to illuminate the challenges faced by the African continent in particular around the use and access to energy.
The exhibition was first displayed in Paris in 2015. It then travelled to Abidjan (Ivory Coast), then to Dakar (Senegal), Geneva (Switzerland), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and then to Rabat (Morocco) before finally coming to Johannesburg.
The Lumières d’Afriques exhibition runs until April 9.@mane_mpi