Transformations: Recent Contemporary African Acquisitions

February 22, 2009 – June 14, 2009

Transformations features two spectacular, large-scale metal “tapestries” by celebrated artist El Anatsui, as well as important paintings, prints and sculptures by Viyé Diba, Yelimane Fall, Norman Kaplan, Wosene Kosrof, Azaria Mbatha, Moussa Tine and Durant Sihlali, all recently acquired as part of the Fowler’s ongoing commitment to exploring the vast range of African artistic expression.

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Exhibition In Depth

Transformations presents works by eight artists of African heritage who explore the potential of their mediums to engender new forms, histories, and intentions. They have pushed the limits of the materials with which they work to elicit different textures, colors, layers, shapes, and dimensions.

Included are two recently acquired works by acclaimed artist El Anatsui: Fading Scroll, 2007, co-purchased this year by the Fowler and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with major support from The Broad Art Foundation, and Versatility, 2006. El Anatsui’s work garnered copious praise and attention last year at the 2007 Venice Biennale and in the traveling exhibition, El Anatsui: Gawu, which appeared at the Fowler Museum in 2007.

Transformations also features paintings, linocut prints, and sculptures by seven other artists—Viyé Diba, Yelimane Fall, Norman Kaplan, Wosene Kosrof, Azaria Mbatha, Moussa Tine and Durant Sihlali—typifying the daring, resourceful artistic production occurring in African cities today. Their work and careers are both global and local, in that they participate in international art biennials, residencies, and other exhibitions, while at the same time creating art grounded in the realities of everyday life in Africa: concerns about consumerism and poverty, religion in problem solving, histories and realities of segregationist politics, and people’s roles in the economic cycles.

Exhibition Credits

Funding for the accompanying programs was provided by the Yvonne Lenart Public Programs Fund, and Manus, the support group for the Fowler Museum at UCLA.