Visionary Africa – Art at Work is an itinerant urban exhibition of contemporary African artistic practices organized jointly by the European Commission and the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Centre for Fine Arts) in Brussels,including artist residencies, showcases of local artists, and workshops on art and development in modern urban centres in Africa.
As several African countries celebrate their 50th independence anniversary, the Exhibition’s intent is to focus on the importance of culture and creativity as a motor for development. The aim is to further provide, through the work of artists, a snapshot of transformations that have occurred on the African continent during the last half century, as well as put its future development into perspective.
Ghanaian architect David Adjaye has designed the exhibition pavilion installed in the gardens opposite the Kampala Railway Station, which will house several exhibits, free to the public:
• Pan-African photography, from the exhibit A Useful Dream, celebrating 50 years of African photography, curated by Simon Njami;
• The photo-documentary, Urban Africa, a decade long personal survey by David Adjaye on the architecture of African capitals;
• Traces and Routes, a showcase of Ugandan photographic archives and contemporary photographies co-curated by Katrin Peters-Klaphake, curator of the Makerere Art Gallery/IHCR, and Margaret Nagawa, independent curator.
All works exhibited are reproductions. The project also includes a regional conference on the role of art and architecture in urban development (18 September), led by David Adjaye and Joe Addo; and a workshop for Ugandan artists on education, structures and projects for art (20 September), led by Simon Njami. The project proposes an artist residency for an African artist from another region. Freddy Tsimba, sculptor from DRC, will spend three weeks in Kampala, working on a new project inspired by the city and its artists, to be donated to Uganda upon completion.
This exhibition is presented in several African cities. After a launch in Tripoli (Libya) in the form of preview at the 2010 EU-African Union Summit, it was presented in full in
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso, 2011) during one of the focal points of celebration of African culture, the pan-African cinema and television festival FESPACO. It was then held in
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) at the headquarters of the African Union on the occasion of the African Union Summit (January 2012), in the ‘green lung’ of Cairo (Egypt), Park AL
AZHAR (February 2012), in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare (Zimbabwe) during Africa Week (May 2012), and in Bujumbura (Burundi) at the Palace of Sports and
Culture (July 2012).