Christianity was also used to propagate colonialism and that’s vividly shown through Kudzanai Chiurai’s work showing a black woman crucified. In contrast, the work of Khadija Saye, who tragically died in the Grenfell fire, recognises African spiritualism with a photograph of a cow’s horn at the back of her neck – similar to the technique used by Gambian healers to draw impurities from the body.
Edson Chagas’ portraits show sitters in Western dress with traditional Bantu masks on their faces. He’s given each work a European-derived name, showing how the legacy of colonialism lives on through people’s names while also recognising how African masks were often fetishised and exoticised by Europeans.
There’s more of a joyous tone in Hassan Hajjaj’s photographs of the Kesh Angels – an all female Muslim biker gang – posed as if in a magazine photoshoot. Sabelo Miangeni’s black and white photos celebrate gay love in South Africa, a community that faces a lot of discrimination, and Cristina de Middel’s images exploring Zambia’s failed attempt at a space program almost feel too cinematic to be real.
We could easily go on as this exhibition is filled with excellent photographers and their pieces. Tate Modern was never going to be able to sum up all of contemporary African photography in one show, but what it has given us is a sample of photos that show us the superb quality and diversity of artworks across contemporary African photography.
Second image: © François-Xavier Gbré
Third image: © Mário Macilau, Courtesy Ed Cross Fine Art
|What||A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography, Tate Modern, review|
|Where||Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Southwark (underground)|
06 Jul 23 – 14 Jan 24, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|