Recent Histories: New Photography from Africa

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York, United States
22 Sep 2016 - 17 Dec 2016

Recent Histories: New Photography from Africa

Délio Jasse, Terreno Ocupado, 2014

The Walther Collection presents the third exhibition in its multi-year series on contemporary photography and video art from Africa and the African Diaspora. Presented thematically and surveying a varied range of work, the series builds upon the collection’s longstanding focus on African photography, providing a platform for engaging current practices.

The series began in fall 2015 with The Lay of the Land, a group show examining the postcolonial African cityscape, and continued in spring 2016 with Close to Home, an exhibition highlighting new visions of portrait photography in Africa. The third installment, Recent Histories, opens on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at The Walther Collection Project Space in New York.

Recent Histories features work by Simon Gush, Délio Jasse, Lebohang Kganye, Dawit L. Petros, and Zina Saro-Wiwa, five emergent figures from a new generation of multidisciplinary, lens-based artists dedicated to exploring African narratives from a diversity of perspectives. Common to their disparate practices is the use and embellishment of documentary modes to portray the vicissitudes of modern life. Engaging an array of sociopolitical concerns—including migration, lineage, the legacies of colonialism and Calvinism, and local custom—the works in the exhibition are so finely attuned to the broader contexts in which they have been made that they might also serve as veritable, if fragmentary, records of our time.

In conjunction with Recent Histories, The Walther Collection has co-organized a symposium entitled Beyond the Frame: Contemporary Photography from Africa and the Diaspora, which will be held the afternoon of October 21, 2016 at Chermerhorn Hall 501, Columbia University. Bringing together a variety of artists, scholars, curators, critics, and cultural producers the symposium will provide a unique opportunity to discuss current developments in photographic and video practices in Africa and the African Diaspora, as well as the platforms and networks supporting these practices.

Featured presenters include John Fleetwood, former head of the Market Photo Workshop; Kerryn Greenberg, Curator (International Art) at Tate Modern, London; and Chika Okeke-Agulu, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Art, Princeton University. This event is co- sponsored by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery and the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, and is also being held in conjunction with The Expanded Subject: New Perspectives in Photographic Portraiture from Africa, a concurrent exhibition at the Wallach.


The Walther Collection is dedicated to researching, collecting, exhibiting, and publishing modern and contemporary photography and video art across historical periods and geographic regions. The collection comprises a four-gallery museum campus in Neu-Ulm, Germany, and a project space in New York City. Initially centered on the practices of early twentieth-century German photographers, the collection has expanded to become one of the most important private holdings of contemporary African and Asian photography and video art. The collection’s extensive publishing program includes African Photography from The Walther Collection, a three-volume set dedicated to portraiture, landscape, and the archive; The Order of Things, investigating serial and typological images across geographical regions and time periods; and the monographs Santu Mofokeng: The Black Photo Album, Martina Bacigalupo: Gulu Real Art Studio, Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases, Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse: Ponte City, and Guy Tillim: O Futuro Certo.




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