Home Arts new curator Aindrea Emelife talks about her projects

new curator Aindrea Emelife talks about her projects

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London-based curator and writer Aindrea Emelife has been appointed Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the highly anticipated Edo Museum of West African Art based in Benin City, Nigeria. The museum, designed by British architect David Adjayewill house artefacts from the Kingdom of Benin invaded by British troops in 1897, known as the Benin Bronzes.

Looted Benin Bronzes – a catch-all description that encompasses ivory and brass as well as bronze objectsare now disseminated in at least 160 museums and institutions around the world. Emelife tells The arts journal that cooperation with Western museums is essential, particularly in the area of ​​restitution, and is “emblematic of how we engage and support modern and contemporary African art”.

She adds: “In pursuit of a truly global art ecosystem, one could envision a genuine and equitable circulation of cultures. If works of art, whether Italian or Nigerian, are great cultural ambassadors, these works, and the dialogue and stories embedded in them, should circulate globally, thus including African institutions like the Edo West African Art Museum in this circulation. No culture has an absolute vision of how the world looks, so the universal museum without reconfiguration becomes untenable and invalidates the idea of ​​imagining all the futures of the world.

Emelife told the FinancialTimes last month that the new museum is to open in stages from next year. “It will be a world-class arts, culture and heritage complex that will celebrate, research and preserve West African and Diaspora art from antiquity to the present day, as well as heritage and history. Its ambitions and scope go far beyond a repository of Beninese bronzes,” she added.

The Edo Museum is overseen by the Emowaa Trust, a Nigerian non-profit organization. The arts journal reported earlier this month that the prospect of hundreds of looted treasures returning to Nigeria has given impetus to a series of museum building projects.

Meanwhile, part of Emelife’s mission includes building a collection that reflects the development of Nigerian modernism, spanning the 20th century to the present day. “It is exciting to pay attention to this area at a time when the contemporary African art boom and revitalized enthusiasm for restitution present perhaps a disjointed timeline for artistic creation in Nigeria,” said Emelife. The arts journal.

“Artists such as Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence and Betye Saar in the United States worked through their plight at the same time as Nigerian modernists such as Uche Okeke and Demas Nwoko wrestled with dual optimism and criticism in a post- independence. Nigeria. I look forward to trying to enrich these dialogues and debates and bring them to the world. She adds that the museum has begun a second phase of fundraising related to infrastructure encompassing research, education, exhibition space and programming.

“Thinking locally first, it is important to highlight the success of Nigerian and West African private collectors, who have ensured that art remains on the continent despite a lack of local museum infrastructure. We are keen to establish long-term loan agreements with collectors as well as institutional loan agreements with the West,” says Emelife.

Later this year, Emelife will organize the exhibition black venus at Somerset House in London (July 20-September 24), which explores the representation of black women through 40 mainly photographic works. She must also appear at The art of tomorrow—the conference program on arts and culture organized by the Democracy and Culture Foundation, in Florence later this month (26-30 April).

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