The African Art in Venice Forum was born from the necessity to compensate for the lack of representation of many African countries at the Venice Biennale. Only 7 out of 54 African countries are represented in national pavilions in the 57th Biennale Dell’Arte di Venezia.
Biannually, Venice becomes the world capital of contemporary art. Art enthusiasts, curators, artists, and journalists attend and discuss important social topics regarding the Biennale’s participants. Comparatively by geography, population, and the creative capability of the African continent, very little has been exhibited and discussed about many African countries until now. The lack of content becomes a lack of debate and research.
How can unrepresented countries can develop and improve their infrastructure for the promotion of the arts? What are the factors preventing their community of creatives from thriving both on a national and a global level?
By adding a new platform open to speakers from all countries of the African continent, and many others from international organizations, who will present and discuss salient global and diaspora-specific topics, we believe we can trigger the process that will lead to the participation of more African national pavilions at the Venice Biennale.
We are committed to keeping the Forum as an inclusive platform for networking to proactively facilitate the creation of new collaborations and opportunities, thus adopting a synergistic approach rather than a competitive one.
The project’s partners embrace its synergistic approach, knowing that collaborating and creating new opportunities can add value to the art scene in Africa. They believe that supporting creatives and intellectuals, mainly through connecting them from across the continent in a global event, can help them in researching, developing, and sharing contemporary African narratives. This effort can also encourage the social and economic discourse being explored in current African art practices.
The Forum is held in two auditoriums, one for institutional talks and one for artists talks, operating at the same time for two days. It will feature almost twenty talks with the participation of 60/70 international speakers, illustrating and discussing new experimental models of museums, art spaces, foundations, residencies, as well as the multiplicity of new narratives generated across the continent by established and young creatives.
All talks will be broadcast online thanks to the support of the Streaming Museum and will be stored and publicly available on the Forum’s website for research purpose. We will also start a “Survey Program” which will feature our partners and speakers, and follow their projects and developments to promote and connect them to potential sponsors and patrons.