Recent Histories is the third exhibition in The Walther Collection’s multi-year series on contemporary photography and video art from Africa and the African Diaspora. Present- ed thematically and surveying a varied range of work, the series builds upon the collec- tion’s longstanding focus on African photography, providing a platform for engaging current practices. The series began in fall 2015 with The Lay of the Land, a group show examining the postcolonial African cityscape, and continued in spring 2016 with Close to Home, an exhibition highlighting new visions of portrait photography in Africa. This third installment coincides with a symposium, Beyond the Frame: Contemporary Pho- tography from Africa and the Diaspora, taking place at Columbia University on October 21, co-sponsored by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery and the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University. The series will culminate with a major exhibition curated by Joshua Chuang at The Walther Collection’s museum in Neu-Ulm, Germany, accompanied by a catalogue co-published by Steidl.
Recent Histories features work by Simon Gush, Délio Jasse, Lebohang Kganye, Dawit L. Petros, and Zina Saro-Wiwa, five emergent figures from a new generation of multidis- ciplinary, lens-based artists dedicated to exploring African narratives from a diversity of perspectives. Common to their disparate practices is the use and embellishment of documentary modes to portray the vicissitudes of modern life. Engaging an array of sociopolitical concerns—including migration, lineage, the legacies of colonialism and Calvinism, and local custom—the works in the exhibition are so finely attuned to the broader contexts in which they have been made that they might also serve as veritable, if fragmentary, records of our time.
Simon Gush (b. 1981, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; lives and works in Johannesburg) completed his postgraduate studies at the Hoger Institut van Schone Kunsten in Ghent, Belgium, in 2008, and completed a fellowship at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2011. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Stevenson Gallery (2016) and Goethe-Institute Gallery (2014) - both Johannesburg, South Africa; and Stedelijk Museum fir Aktueel Kunsten (SMAK), Ghent, Belgium (2010). Group exhibitions include I Love You Sugar Kane at the Institute of Con- temporary Art Indian Ocean in Port Louis, Mauritius (2016); While You were Out at the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, United States (2015); and Artists Engaged? Maybe., at Fundaçau Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, Portugal (2014). Gush was awarded the Jury prize at the 2015 Bamako Encounters Photography Biennale in Mali, and his work has been included in contemporary art biennales in Dakar, Senegal (2015); Montevido, Uru- guay (2014); and Luleå, Sweden (2009).
Délio Jasse (b. 1980, Luanda, Angola; lives and works in Lisbon and Milan) settled in Lisbon at the age of eighteen, and in 2007, graduated from training at the serigraphy studio “Black Point.” He has participated in residencies in Bayreuth, Germany (2015); Budapest, Hungary (2013); and Luanda, Angola (2011). In 2014, Jasse was nominated for the BES Photo award, and in 2009, received the Anteciparte Award for emergent artists. Jasse’s solo exhibitions include The Place to Be at Expo Milão – Angola Pavilion in Milan, Italy (2015); Occupied Land at Baginski Gallery/Projects in Lisbon, Portugal (2014); Open Monument at Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien in Berlin, Germany (2013); and Pontus at
Galeria da UNAP – União Nacional dos Artistas Plásticos in Luanda, Angola (2013). His work has been featured in the group exhibitions Present Tense at the Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, Portugal (2013); Pour un Monde Durable at Bamako Encounters Photography Biennale in Bamako, Mali (2011); and África at Museu Nacional de História Natural in Luanda, Angola (2010) amongst others.
Lebohang Kganye (b. 1990, Katlehong, South Africa; lives and works in Johannesburg) studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, and completed the Advanced Photography Program in 2011. Currently studying Fine Arts at the Uni- versity of Johannesburg, Kganye has taken part in numerous international photography master-classes. She was winner of the “Coup de Coeur” prize at the Bamako Encounters Photography Biennale in Bamako, Mali (2015). Kganye’s work has been included in the group exhibitions The View from Here at Tiwani Contemporary in London, United King- dom (2015); Sasol New Signatures at the Pretoria Art Museum in Pretoria, South Africa (2014); Short Change, My Joburg at La Maison Rouge in Paris, France (2013); and Re- memory at William Goodenough House in London, United Kingdom (2012). She was the 2012 recipient of the Tierney Fellowship Award, which led to her solo exhibition Ke lefa laka at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Dawit L. Petros (b. 1972, Asmara, Eritrea; lives and works in New York City) studied Fine Art as a Fulbright Fellow at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. He also holds degrees from Concordia University, Montreal and the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Petros’s work has been shown in exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, United States (2014); the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, United States (2014); the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, United States (2013); and Durban Art Gallery in Durban, South Africa (2011). In 2012, Petros was awarded an Independent Study Fellowship at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and since then, he has participated in artist resi- dences at The Studio Museum in Harlem, the McColl Center for Visual Art, and The Salina Art Center.
Zina Saro-Wiwa (b. 1976, Port Harcourt, Nigeria; lives and works in New York City and the Niger Delta, Nigeria) is an artist and filmmaker that works across the mediums of video installation, documentary film, photography, and experimental film. Her solo ex- hibition Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance? debuted at the Bla er Museum in Houston, Texas (2015) and opens at the Krannert Art Museum in Champaign, Illinois in November 2016. Saro-Wiwa’s work has been exhibited at the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri; Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden; Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa; Tate Britain in London, United Kingdom; Fowler Museum in Califor- nia, United States; and the Brooklyn Museum in New York, United States. She is also ac- tive as a curator, mounting two to three exhibitions per year in her Port Harcourt-based gallery Boys’ Quarters Project Space, and most recently, with The Pineapple Show (Sum- mer 2016) at Tiwani Contemporary in London, United Kingdom.
This exhibition is organized by Joshua Chuang, with curatorial coordination and support from Evelyn Owen and Oluremi C. Onabanjo.