By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The largest exhibition of contemporary African art arrives in Rio this month with the most promising contemporary artists from the African continent. The exhibit, named ‘Ex Africa’, opens on Saturday, January 20th, at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) in Rio and runs until March 26th.

Ex Africa at CCBB, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Kudzanai Chiurai, from Zimbabwe, blends roles of colonized and colonizer in the work Gênesis, photo Divulgação.

Bringing together dozens of names that attract international attention, but are little known in Brazil – as well as two Afro-Brazilian artists – the exhibit offers a look into the dilemmas and challenges of the continent today.

The major CCBB exhibition is composed of more than eighty works, including paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and performances, with a privileged space for photography.

“Photography may be, next to sculpture, the main highlight of African art today, especially in South Africa, whose photographers, I believe, are among the most original in the world,” said German curator Alfons Hug.

Hug has worked in Brazil for over fifteen years and in African countries for four years. In Nigeria, he was director of the Goethe Institute.

The works have references in the past of European colonization, dialogue with enslavement, but seek to discuss the reflections of history in the present, especially in the years that followed the independence of these countries, beginning in the 1950s.

The walk through the show leads the visitor into issues such as migration, postcolonial past, racism and gentrification, common themes also present in most large Brazilian cities.

“The exhibition happens at a time when the African heritage is back in evidence, especially in Rio,” says the curator.

There are many in Brazil calling for the creation of a museum to discuss the diaspora and the African heritage, as well as protection for the Cais do Valongo (Valongo Wharf), the largest port that received African slaves in Latin America. The site was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations last year.

From Rio de Janeiro, the Ex Africa exhibit moves to São Paulo, where it arrives in April, and then on to Brasilia in August. In Belo Horizonte the exhibit received 150,000 people in 2017.

What: Ex Africa Exhibit at CCBB Rio
When: Saturday, January 20th – Monday, March 26th, 9AM – 9PM
Where: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil – Rua Primeiro de Março, 66 – Centro – Tel: (21) 3808-2020
Entrance: Free

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