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Arts

October 26, 2014
 

SCAD hosts first U.S. showing of “The Divine Comedy – Revisited”

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA —  The SCAD Museum of Art presents the first U.S. major exhibition “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists.” A traveling exhibition that is being shown at SCAD for the first time in the United States, it is organized by internationally acclaimed curator Simon Njami. The exhibition explores thematic sequences of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem through new works by more than 40 contemporary artists from 19 African countries and the African diaspora.

 Through a variety of media, the exhibition demonstrates how concepts visited in Dante’s poem transcend Western traditions and resonate with diverse contemporary cultures, belief systems and political issues. Overall, the exhibition provides a probing examination of life, death and the continuing power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.

 The exhibition will be on view at SCAD Museum of Art from Friday, Oct. 17, 2014, through Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, occupying the Museum’s entire 20,000-square-foot exhibition space. It will extend to the Museum’s 80,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard and to SCAD’s Pei Ling Chan Gallery, both located along Savannah’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard Corridor.

 Originally presented by the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/Main (MMK) in Frankfurt, Germany, [Museum for Modern Art Frankfurt, Germany], where it was on view from March through July 2014, the exhibition will also travel to the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where it will be on view from Apr. 8 to Aug. 2, 2015.

Divine_Comedy_Revisited-MMK-poster_Ethio_Beauty_Lrg

Featured Artists Featured Artists Featured Artists
Jane Alexander (South Africa) Ghada Amer (Egypt) Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali)
Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar) Ato Malinda (Kenya) Ndary Lo (Senegal)
Kader Attia (France) Bili Bidjocka (Cameroon) Wim Botha (South Africa)
Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Russia) Mohamed Bourouissa (Algeria) Edson Chagas (Angola)
Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe) Christine Beatrice Dixie (South Africa) Dimitri Fagbohoun (Benin)
Franck Abd-Bakar Fanny (Ivory Coast) Jellel Gasteli (Tunisia) Kendell Geers (South Africa)
Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon) Julie Mehretu (Ethiopia) Myriam Mihindou (Gabon)
Nandipha Mntambo (Swaziland) Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopia) Hassan Musa (Sudan
Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) Mwangi Hutter (Kenya, Germany) Youssef Nabil (Egypt
Lamia Naji (Marocco Moataz Nasr (Egypt) Cheikh Niass (Senegal)
Maurice Pefura (France) Frances Goodman (South Africa) Zineb Sedira (France)
Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa) Yinka Shonibare, MBE (England, Nigeria) Amal Kenawy (Egypt)
Guy Tillim (South Africa) Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola) Andrew Tshabangu (South Africa)
Jems Robert Koko Bi (Ivory Coast) Minnette Vári (South Africa)  

The SCAD Museum of Art presentation of the exhibition will include many works on view for the first time, which were not shown in Germany: neon work by Kendell Geers, books by Bili Bidjocka, a photo series by Youseff Nabil, large-scale works on paper by Christine Beatrice Dixie, a sound installation by Frances Goodman incorporating bridal fabrics cascading from the ceiling, an outdoor calligraphy garden by Moataz Nasr and a collage by Wangechi Mutu.

DivineComedyStongOct20144 On opening night, Thursday, Oct. 16, curator Simon Njami will moderate a panel discussion at the Museum featuring artists Joël Andrianomearisoa, Bili Bidjocka, Ingrid Mwangi and Moataz Nasr. The 5 p.m. panel will be followed by a 6 p.m. reception, both free and open to the public.

“The concern here is not with the Divine Comedy of Dante,” explains Njami, “but with something truly universal. Something that touches us all to the very core, regardless of our beliefs or convictions: our relationship to the afterlife. In other words, it’s about our relationship to life and—thus—also to death.”

“The exhibition creates a powerful and culturally layered dialogue between timeless questions and the voices of exceptional contemporary artists,” Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD executive director of exhibitions who organized the SCAD Museum of Art presentation of the exhibition, added.  

“Our hope is that the exhibition will inspire the SCAD community of artists and designers, the Savannah community and audiences from around the world to consider significant philosophical and ethical questions from entirely new and varied perspectives,” said Farrell, who previously worked as a curator at the New African Center (formerly the Museum of African Art) in New York City. 

 

Simon Njami-curator_800-533pxAbout Curator Simon Njami

Njami is an independent curator, lecturer, art critic and essayist. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the cultural magazine Revue Noire. Previously, Njami was the artistic director of the Bamako photography biennial from 2000 to 2010, co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and artistic director of the Luanda and Douala triennials and the Lubumbashi biennial. He has curated numerous exhibitions, including Africa Remix (an international touring exhibition 2004-2007), A Collective Diary (2010), A Useful Dream (2010) and the Johannesburg Art Fair (2008). Njami is author of two biographies (James Baldwin, 1991 and Léopld Sédar Senghor, 2007) and has contributed essays for the catalogues for the Sydney Biennale, Documenta and others. The Divine Comedy is Njami’s third collaboration with SCAD. He previously curated Le Miroir (The Mirror) in 2012, an exhibition of Mohamed Bourissa’s work, which was on view at the SCAD Museum of Art as well as SCAD galleries in Atlanta, Lacoste and Hong Kong. He also served as the keynote speaker at the university’s 2010 Art History Symposium: Africa on My Mind.

 

About the Savannah College of Art and Design

SCAD-logo bannerThe Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors. Visit SCADscad.edu



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