The Progress of Love” is a collaborative project between The Menil Collection, Houston, Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos), and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis.
Numerous scholars have addressed the ways media, technology, and capitalism have affected Western notions of love over the last few centuries. Little attention, however, has been paid to the impact of these forces on the conception of love in Africa, or even to the subject itself. The Progress of Love explores romantic love, self-love, friendship, familial affect, love of one’s country, and other bonds in and around the continent. Though the exhibition is weighted towards art produced specifically about love in Africa, works that might otherwise be considered more “Western” in orientation are included as well, calling attention to the global exchange through which such concepts develop, and to both the shared and distinct aspects of the experience of love. Bringing together the work of over twenty artists, and ranging in media from painting and photography to installation, video, and performance, The Progress of Love considers how technology, economic systems, and other forces have shaped–and continue to shape–ideas about love and their expression. In doing so, the exhibition seeks to ask what part of love is universal? What part is timeless and what is a cultural construct?
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