SCAD presents the U.S. premiere of “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists.” Curated by the internationally acclaimed Simon Njami, this monumental exhibition explores the thematic sequences of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem through works by more than 40 contemporary artists from 19 African countries as well as the African diaspora.
For centuries, Dante’s literary works and metaphorical language have been a source of inspiration for visual artists, inspiring European masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Eugène Delacroix, William Blake and Auguste Rodin, among many others. Through a variety of media, this 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 continued power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.
“The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists” is the largest exhibition in the museum’s history. In addition to engaging the museum’s entire exhibition space of nearly 20,000 square feet, installations will also extend to the outdoor courtyard and to nearby satellite locations along Savannah’s Martin Luther King Jr. corridor.
Originally shown at Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main earlier this year, the SCAD Museum of Art’s presentation will include several works not previously exhibited including neon work by Kendell Geers, a photo series by Youssef Nabil, large-scale works on paper by Christine Beatrice Dixie, a sound installation by Frances Goodman incorporating bridal fabrics cascading from the ceiling, a calligraphy garden by Moataz Nasr and a collage by Wangechi Mutu.
Jane Alexander (*1959 Johannesburg, South Africa), Fernando Alvim (*1963 Luanda, Angola), Ghada Amer (*1963 Kairo, Egypt), Joël Andrianomearisoa (*1977 Antananarivo, Madagascar), Kader Attia (*1970 Dugny/Seine-Saint-Denis, France), Sammy Baloji (*1978 Lubumbashi, Congo), Berry Bickle (*1959 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), Bili Bidjocka (*1962 Douala, Cameroon), Wim Botha (*1974 Pretoria, South Africa), Zoulikha Bouabdellah (*1977 Moskau, Russia), Mohamed Bourouissa (*1978 Blida, Algeria), Nabil Boutros (*1954 Kairo, Egypt), Edson Chagas (*1977 Luanda, Angola),Loulou Cherinet (*1970 Gothenburg, Schweden), Lawrence Chikwa (Lusaka, Zambia), Kudzanai Chiurai (*1981 Harare, Zimbabwe), Dimitri Fagbohoun (*1972 Cotonou, Benin), Franck Abd-Bakar Fanny (*1971 Elfenbeinküste), Jellel Gasteli (*1958 Tunis, Tunisia), Pélagie Gbaguidi (*1965 Dakar, Senegal), Kendell Geers (*1968 Johannesburg, South Africa), Frances Goodman (*1975 Johannesburg, South Africa), Nicholas Hlobo (*1975 Kapstadt, South Africa), Mouna Karray (*1970 Sfax, Tunisia), Amal Kenawy (*1974 Kairo, Egypt), Majida Khattari (*1966 Erfoud, Morocco), Kiluanji Kia Henda(*1979 Luanda, Angola), Jems Koko Bi (*1966 Sifra, Ivory Coast), Abdoulaye Konaté (*1953 Diré, Mali), Nicène Kossentini (*1976 Sfax, Tunisia), Ndary Lo (*1961 Tivaouane, Senegal), Ato Malinda (*1981 Nairobi, Kenya), Pascale Marthine Tayou (*1967 Yaoundé, Cameroon), Julie Mehretu (*1970 Addis Abeba, Ethiopia), Myriam Mihindou (*1964 Libreville, Gabon), Nandipha Mntambo (*1982 Swasiland), Aïda Muluneh (*1974 Addis Abeba, Ethiopia), Hassan Musa (*1951 El-Nuhud, Sudan), Wangechi Mutu (*1972 Nairobi, Kenya), Mwangi Hutter (*1975 Nairobi, Kenya and *1975 Ludwigshafen, Germany), Youssef Nabil (*1972 Kairo, Egypt), Lamia Naji (*1966 Casablanca, Marocco), Moataz Nasr (*1961 Kairo, Egypt), Cheikh Niass (*1966 Dakar, Senegal), Maurice Pefura (*1967 Paris, France), Zineb Sedira (*1963 Paris, France), Yinka Shonibare MBE (*1962 London, England), Guy Tillim (*1962 Johannesburg, South Africa), Andrew Tshabangu (*1966 Johannesburg, South Africa), Minnette Vári (*1968 Pretoria, South Africa), Dominique Zinkpè (*1969 Cotonou, Benin)
Daily admission to the exhibition is free for all SCAD students, faculty, staff and museum members. The exhibition is open to the public with the cost of museum admission.
Once the exhibition closes at SCAD Museum of Art, it will travel to the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
“The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists” at the SCAD Museum of Art is organized by Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD executive director of exhibitions.