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Senam Okudzeto. Untitled, 2000 2001. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Nathan L. and Suzanne F. Cohen Contemporary Art Endowment. BMA 2002.20
Senam Okudzeto. Untitled, 2000 2001. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Nathan L. and Suzanne F. Cohen Contemporary Art Endowment. BMA 2002.20

First exhibition from museum’s contemporary African art collection explores political themes

BALTIMORE, MD (December 2, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Shifting Views: People & Politics in Contemporary African Art, the first exhibition of contemporary African art drawn from the museum’s collection. It features a selection of powerful prints, drawings, and photographs by seven artists who offer pointedly political perspectives on the lives of Africans and their diasporic descendants. The exhibition is on view in the African Art Galleries December 18, 2016–June 18, 2017.

Shifting Views provides visitors with an opportunity to experience a broader range of African art from the BMA’s outstanding collection,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “These works on paper demonstrate the common viewpoints of contemporary African artists examining the effects of global capitalism.”

Exhibition highlights include Senam Okudzeto’s All Facts Have Been Changed to Protect the Ignorant
drawings, reminiscent of early capitalist drives that fueled the trade of Africans into slavery; Julie Mehretu’s Landscape Allegories (2003–04), which mark the journeys of migrants in and explore the environmental impact of late-stage capitalism; William Kentridge’s upending racial presumptions in Industry & Idleness (1986–87); and Gavin Jantjes’ critique of state-sponsored racial violence in his famed A South African Colouring Book (1974–75). David Goldblatt quietly confronts the intersections of capitalism and racism in a 1970 photograph taken on assignment for Anglo American, a giant gold mining conglomeration; Robin Rhode’s Pan’s Opticon Studies (2009) addresses race-based surveillance measures; and Diane Victor’s Smoke Screen (Frailty and Failing) of 2010 re-presents the disappeared: people missing and incarcerated.

The exhibition is curated by Associate Curator for African Arts Shannen Hill, along with Kevin Tervala, Former Curatorial Fellow in the Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia & the Pacific Islands.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 95,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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