The fifth edition of Unseen – Photo Fair & Festival will kick off this week with a programme of exhibitions and activities that will challenge, excite and inspire.
This year Unseen presents three interactive onsite projects! One highlight is
Face to Face: African Portraiture.
Studio portraits are a long-standing tradition within African photographic history. Ever since it was introduced on the continent, artists have found innovative ways to create pop-up studios in their homes to document their local people. The theme of portraiture in Africa is part of the cultural heritage with renowned artists such as Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta and J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere presenting the theme on the international stage. Now artists throughout the continent are exploring new approaches to portraiture; incorporating their heritage yet looking at novel ways to photograph their subjects.
Unseen hopes to emphasise this fascinating mix of modern and classic practices that are currently incorporated within African portraiture. During Face to Face leading artists from African countries are invited to create diverse pop-up studios to document visitors of Unseen. The photographs will be printed onsite for you to take directly home!
A digital pop-up exhibition will show the works of participating artists giving visitors insight into artists’ creative processes. Both the pop-up studio and the exhibition will be co-curated by Unseen and Anna Alix Koffi (founder OFF the Wall). With this event Unseen aims to introduce visitors to the rich history of African portraiture, whilst especially showcasing the exciting new approaches currently taking place.
On Saturday 24th of September at 11:30 the Unseen Living Room talks programme will focus on
Platforms in Africa
Over the past few decades, many artists of the African diaspora and voices from the African art sector have started to question the modes of presentation and representation within the arts. Simultaneously, the global art world is opening up to creative communities and initiatives from Africa as curators and artists alike steadily turn to the continent for new innovative ideas. This year Unseen invites key figures from a range of platforms in Africa for a roundtable discussion, moderated by Touria el Glaoui (Director of 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair). These guests strive to further develop Africa’s own voice and aesthetics to create sustainable art communities, educate young and emerging talents and to engage local audiences with contemporary art practices. Platforms in Africa will explore the birth of a number of independent contemporary art platforms across Africa that have emerged in recent years.
Red Hook Labs (New York) will present the work by young talents such as Namsa Leuba, Delphine Diallo and Atong Atem.
STEVENSON will present work by Viviane Sassen and Zanele Muholi.
Find a full list of the participating galleries here