Alpha Crucis is the brightest star in the constellation of the Southern Cross, located in the Milky Way. It is one of the most visible in the night sky and indicates the direction of the South. As such, it is often used by navigators, but the star is only visible from the southern hemisphere. For that reason, it was not mentioned in European antique astronomy.
This exhibition at Astrup Fearnley Museet gathers sixteen artists from six African countries – a constellation of artists from the South, brought into northern sight. Stars in the sky are not connected to each other; they are associated in constellations and given names by astronomers. Here, the curator acts like an astronomer, ordering the cosmos to give coherence that offers a certain reading of the world.
The sixteen artists gathered here originate from numerous countries, belong to different generations and have diverse practices. But what they all have in common is that, living in Africa, they are all able to see Alpha Crucis. Can this be seen as a symbol of hope for a pan-African utopia, in which, despite antagonisms, all African countries look in the same direction towards the same guiding light, and do not need to look north when making their art?
The title ‘Alpha Crucis’ makes a statement advocating a reorientation of the polarised art world towards the south, in order to fight the ignorance that has endured too long and to shed new light on contemporary African art.
Curator: André Magnin (b. 1952 in Vesoul, France) is an independent curator and researcher and started working on non-western Contemporary Art in 1989 with the historic exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Pompidou and at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, an exhibition for which he was co-curator. From 1989 until 2009, Magnin ran the Pigozzi Collection, Geneva, which focused on sub-Saharan African contemporary art. He later founded MAGNIN-A, which promotes contemporary African art within the international market.
Artists: Seni Awa Camara, 1945, Senegal, Omar Victor Diop, 1980, Senegal, John Goba, 1944-2019, Sierra Leone, Kay Hassan, 1956, South-Africa, Romuald Hazoumè, 1962, Benin, Nicholas Hlobo, 1975, South-Africa, Lebohang Kganye, 1990, South-Africa, Houston Maludi, 1978, DR Congo, Abu Bakarr Mansaray, 1970, Tongo, Sierra Leone, Senzeni Marasela, 1977, South-Africa, JP Mika, 1980, DR Congo, Fabrice Monteiro, 1972, Benin/Senegal, Rigobert Nimi, 1965, DR Congo, Chéri Samba, 1956, DR Congo, Amadou Sanogo, 1977, Mali, Billie Zangewa, 1973, South-Africa.
Illustration image: JP Mika, Souvenir de la chanson de l’indépendance, 2018