Now Look Here – The African Art of Appearance

From the 25th of January – 23rd of February 2020 the pop-up exhibition NOW LOOK HERE – The African Art of Appearance, in Amsterdam North will present the work of eighteen African artists who use outward appearances to tell a deeply rooted story. They upend perceptions of Africa through the use of irony, beauty and style.

This group exhibition showcases the work of 18 African artists whose work at first glance stands out for its attention to outward appearance; everything is colourful, radiant, and smooth. On closer inspection, the seductive surface proves to be a lure that draws visitors into a deeper story, in which perspectives are reversed; white becomes black, stigma becomes beauty, a skivvy turns out to be a high priestess, and apparent footnotes to history are revealed as prominent figures.

The works address, directly or indirectly, the historical abuses and current troubles that dominate the media image of Africa. But the artists take charge of this image, and in doing so, set a completely different tone. What connects the photos, videos and performances in NOW LOOK HERE is a superior game of clichés and prejudices, in which humour, beauty and optimism challenge daily reality.

NOW LOOK HERE unites these artworks under the thematic heading ‘The African Art of Appearance’. The exhibition is an outtake of the N’GOLÁ biennial on the African islands of São Tomé & Príncipe held mid last year, curated by Renny Ramakers