“What is African”? Art Mag Contemporary AND focuses on the African perspectives

Zanele Muholi, South Africa

APiF: Please introduce your magazine.
Contemporary AND (C&): C& is a growing online platform combining a lively magazine with features, interviews, columns as well as constantly growing databases of important renowned as well as upcoming art spaces, museums, galleries, artists and publications around international art production from African perspectives.Another exiting area is our C& Art space, a virtual gallery where artists, curators, critics or art historians can collaborate and work on projects and exhibitions together!  

APiF: Can you explain the name of the magazine?
C&: So the name itself Contemporary And (C&) plays with the idea that an artist is foremost a “contemporary” working artist and maybe then “from Nairobi, studied in New York or has a gallery in Italy.” We want to open up and kind of overcome the blurry and as well stereotypical term of the “African” artists because the question is “What is African”?

by South African artist Mary Sibande

APiF: How do you decide what and who gets represented on C&?
C&: We work on different levels: through our own knowledge, research and network of writers, producers, artists. It entails some constant reflections and work in progress. Our vision is really to act as a medium that transgress certain limitations and fixed localities. One of our goals is also to give voices to critical and outstanding artists, writers and producers, so to go beyond what is obvious.

Detail from ‘Found not taken’ series, March, 2013, Luanda, Angola, E. Chagas.

APiF: What is the African Perspective?
C&: Well, first and foremost there is no such thing as one homogenized, not to say essentializing African perspective within contemporary art. There is indeed a well of producers and movers and shakers on the African continent and in the Diaspora showing different contexts and trajectories.

APiF: Can you name some artists to watch out for?
C&: Edson Chagas from Luanda, Angola. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale 2013 and the great thing is that we featured him as our “Artist of the month” one week before he and the Angolan Pavilion won the prestigious prize! Another name would be Fatoumata Diabaté, photographer from Bamako, Mali.

Vincent Michéa, Ivory Coast

APiF: How would you explain why anything “Africa”-related continues to be so “trendy”?
C&: For instance, Angola’s success at the Venice Biennale marks an important event through which more and more African-related artistic productions are put on the map. The question remains: Is this just a trend? To some extent, this seems to be so. However, we think that this shows the dynamism, interactions and resilience among the different contexts and networks of people in this field, despite the known struggles. And most importantly: when all Biennales and hypes are over we as C& will still be there to grow a sustainable platform and network around international art from African perspectives.

Find out more:
w: http://www.contemporaryand.com/
t: https://twitter.com/contemporaryand
f: https://www.facebook.com/contemporaryand

1 Comment