From watercolours of suffering bodies, sometimes strewn with nails, to monumental installations asking questions about our planet’s future, the angle of intimate and collective experiences is used by the Fondation Dapper to explore the works of Barthélémy Toguo in a monograph coordinated by the foundation’s director, Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau.
Photo Cameroon is the first exhibition to look extensively at the work of Cameroonian photographers Jacques Toussele, Joseph Chila, and Samuel Finlak. Along with their well-known counterparts across Mali and Senegal, these artists embody the “Golden Age” of studio portraiture in West Africa. Combining technical proficiency with an imaginative and at times playful eye, they fueled their clients’ desire to be represented and seen through this versatile medium.
Having come from the African continent, this sculptural artwork is imbued with different symbolic meanings and serves various purposes. Around 100 items on display showcase a whole array of forms, commitment to tradition and ideological potential of these ritual objects. Today, now that the masks have nearly become the epitome of modern times, many facets of this art of African sculpture can be interpreted anew. The exhibition is organised in partnership with the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) and features pieces from a private collection.
Since the 14th century the Baga have been living along the coast in Guinea Conakry on the western tip of Africa. They were subjected to repeated attacks by the peoples of the region, at the end of the 19th century by the French, and in 1958 power was transferred to a Muslim-Marxist leadership. The new government forbade religious ceremonies, and ritual art was systematically destroyed; Many Baga members converted to Islam but secretly kept their traditional animistic customs as well as works used in ceremonies. In 1984, rigid discipline loosened and residents, most of them Muslims, were allowed to observe their tradition, as part of "folklore," as opposed to "religion." Collector Michael Weiss has spent about a decade searching for and collecting traditional ritual objects. Works from his collection are displayed alongside sculptures and baguette masks from the museum's collection and the exhibition unfolds the story of the collection, the encounter and the collaboration with the locals.
This year, the Summer Exhibition will be coordinated by renowned artist Yinka Shonibare RA. The exhibition will explore the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’ and celebrate the joy of creating art. Yinka Shonibare will be working with a committee of Royal Academicians, chaired by the President of the Royal Academy, Rebecca Salter. The members of the 2021 Summer Exhibition committee will be: Tony Bevan, Vanessa Jackson, Mali Morris, Humphrey Ocean, Eva Rothschild, Bob and Roberta Smith, Emma Stibbon and David Adjaye.