Road to Justice

MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome, Italy
22 Jun 2018 - 14 Oct 2018

Moshekwa Langa
Senza Titolo, 1996
Mappa inchiostro vernice pastello nastro adesivo collage sacchetto di plastica nera
Cm 95 x 75
Donazione Lewis Manilow
Photo Roberto Galasso courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Moshekwa Langa Senza Titolo, 1996 Mappa inchiostro vernice pastello nastro adesivo collage sacchetto di plastica nera Cm 95 x 75 Donazione Lewis Manilow Photo Roberto Galasso courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

There is nothing like returning to a place that is unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. (Nelson Mandela)

Collective and individual memories, attempts at the reconstruction of personal identity, imaginary narrations filling voids in the official historiography, the works of nine African artists are the protagonists of road to justice, the exhibition curated by Anne Palopoli that from 22 June to 14 October 2018 will be recounting in a presentation that is by no means exhaustive the complexities of the African continent, its wounds, its violence and the possible future scenarios.

In the history of the African continent, the deportation of entire populations and colonization have progressively destroyed existing cultures and altered political, religious and social equilibriums; indigenous peoples have been catapulted into a cultural and political reality fabricated elsewhere that has caused progressive and violent marginalization. Creating dialogues between works from the MAXXI permanent collection with others chosen for the occasion, road to justice offers further reflection on the issues of postcolonialism, memory and identity.

The exhibition presents 11 works, including video, painting and photography by John Akomfrah, Marlene Dumas, Kendell Geers, Bouchra Khalili, Moshekwa Langa, Wangechi Mutu, Malik Nejmi, Michael Tsegaye and Sue Williamson arranged in three areas referring to the past, present and future of Africa.

In the section of the exhibition devoted to the past we find the works Peripeteia (2012) by John Akomfrah and Black Jesus Man (1994) by Marlene Dumas in which we find references to the representation of people “of colour” in western figurative art and which tackle the issues of slavery, capitalism and segregation. In the works Foreign Office (2015) by Bouchra Khalili, T.W Batons, (Circle) (1994) by Kendell Geers and in the maps reworked by Moshekwa Langa instead, a number of themes emerge that linked to the present like the apartheid, the movement of liberation, migration and the recovery from the traumas we are still witness to today. A selection of photographs by Michael Tsegaye and the video 4160 (2014) by Malik Nejmi instead offer intimate, introspective images that are nonetheless capable of denouncing states of social abandonment and cultural uprooting.

The projections regarding the future instead features artists opening to diverse reflections such as the apocalyptical vision of our planet presented in the video The End of Eating Everything (2013) by Wangechi Mutu or the hope manifested through the exaltation of forgiveness that Nelson Mandela felt should be the principal response to the crimes of apartheid in order to take up a direct path to justice.

For all these artists, the theme of memory is fundamental for both its destructive power and its extraordinary capacity for healing and reconciliation. Memory is used as an instrument that augments understanding, helps heal the wounds and restore dignity in an attempt to comprehend the past and direct the future within an intercultural context.

road to justice intends to promote the links between themes, ideas, people and events, proposing a reading of the complex African continent that is capable of collating diverse perspective, new interpretations and innovative connections, helping to expand our horizons.


MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A
00196 Rome



The exhibition is part of a broader project strongly supported by Giovanna Melandri, the President of the Fondazione MAXXI, dedicated to the vitality of the artistic scene on the African continent, constantly expanding amidst contradictions and open wounds, and is part of the museum’s strand of research that sees art and culture as instruments of dialogue and cultural diplomacy. The project also features the exhibition African Metropolis (22 June – Novmber 2018), curated by Simon Njami and Elena Motisi, which presents through the vision of 34 African artists the complexity of the contemporary metropolis and a rich programme of encounters with African artists, architects and writers, film and live dance and music.

Throughout the duration of African Metropolis and road to justice, a rich programme of events with explore the themes of the exhibitions: encounters with African artists, architects and writers, live dance and music, a film season on the occasion of the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth


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