Tate and Guaranty Trust Bank today announced an important new partnership which will broaden Tate’s international reach to Africa, provide a platform for African artists to be seen by audiences world-wide and heighten awareness of the impact of African art on modern and contemporary practice. The legacy and current influence of art produced in areas outside Europe and North America has been a focus for Tate in recent years and this presents an unprecedented opportunity to examine Africa’s role at the heart of global artistic developments. The partnership will involve the creation of a dedicated curatorial post at Tate Modern to focus on African art, an Acquisition Fund to enable the Gallery to enhance its holdings of work by African artists and an annual project.
The Curator International Art, supported by Guaranty Trust Bank, will develop links with artists based in Africa and exchange knowledge and expertise with Africa’s artistic community. With inspiration from art spaces, art organisations and art festivals in Nigeria and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, a programme to show African artists to as wide an audience as possible will be facilitated through new media, seminars and displays both at Tate and in Africa. As well as exploring contemporary practice in the region, the new Curator will help to deepen knowledge and understanding of the impact of art from the world’s second-largest continent.
Guaranty Trust Bank will also provide Tate with an Acquisition Fund to purchase works of art from the area for Tate Collection.
An annual project will also be established. The first of these will be an exhibition titled Contested Terrains, on display in Tate Modern’s Level 2 Gallery from 29 July to 16 October. Co-curated by Tate and Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Lagos curators, the exhibition will travel to CCA Lagos from 21 January to 3 March 2012. The display, comprising around twenty works, will bring together four emerging and recently established contemporary African artists: Adolphus Opara (born 1981 Nigeria), Michael MacGarry (born 1978 South Africa), Sammy Baloji (born 1978 Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kader Attia (born 1970 France). These artists each reclaim and subvert assumptions about Africa’s past and present, exploring current political and social concerns both at a domestic level and across the world. The artists will be in discussion with the curators in a public event at Tate Modern on Saturday, 30 July, debating the role of research in artistic practice and the role of art in mediating the past and present.
Global awareness of the richness and prolific nature of current artistic production in Africa is steadily growing. It is hoped new parameters in art from the region will be defined and explored, stimulating cultural debate.
Over 100 works of art by African artists are currently held in Tate Collection, mainly from North and South Africa. It is anticipated that these holdings will be substantially added to in the coming years, with works from Sub-Saharan countries in particular, providing an invaluable resource for future generations and firmly placing these artists from the whole continent at the heart of the contemporary art world.
Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern:
This important partnership between Tate and GTB marks the recognition of the significance of modern and contemporary art in Africa. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to work with colleagues in the region, with energy, curiosity and eagerness, to define new parameters in art. This is the beginning of being able to give African art the focus it deserves with audiences around the world.
Segun Agbaje, Acting Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank:
Today we announce an important partnership between TATE and Guaranty Trust Bank plc in memory and recognition of Tayo Aderinokun MFR, the Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, who passed away recently. Mr. Aderinokun’s passion for Nigerian and African art/artists is as vivid and inspiring for all of us today, as were his leadership values which enabled him to build Guaranty Trust Bank plc into an innovative and successful international financial institution. We are embracing his legacy, aware that investing in African art for Guaranty Trust Bank plc means supporting African human talent, safe guarding African heritage for future generations and also enhancing the perception of our continent and country by the rest of the world. Guaranty Trust Bank plc has committed along with its African and international stakeholders to strive together with Tate, African artists, curators and cultural institutions to contribute to this ambitious goal.