Through a path exploring contemporary creation in all its forms, the exhibition examines relations between today’s art and old African arts.

“In 1984, at the MoMA in New York, the Primitivism exhibition displayed over 200 artworks from Africa, Oceania and the Americas beside works by Picasso, Matisse, Nolde and Giacometti. In doing so, it positioned non-Western arts as a foil to the Western avant-gardists, credited with giving them their status as works of art. That was the starting point for Philippe Dagen, curator of the exhibition Africa Reborn, which starts by reminding visitors that use of the term ‘primitive’ remains indissociable from colonisation of Africa and the West’s appropriation of what it long called ‘Negro art’ and reduced to beautiful use of forms without seeking to understand this art’s meaning and symbols.”(presentation of the exhibition)

This subject looms large in the work of Steve Bandoma, who is one of the 34 artists included in the exhibition. The symbolism of so-called “primitive” statues and other ritual objects from African cultures is a recurrent theme in his work. Masks and sculptures are in turns pilfered, vanquished and trampled in his works, which convey the clash of civilisations and cultures, Western domination and its materialism, the conflict between tradition and modernity, and the relationship with identity. The artist is heavily involved in the debates about returning artworks to Africa.

The exhibition runs until 11 July 2021.

AFRICA REBORN – African aesthetics in contemporary art
Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris – France