Expressions d’Afrique includes works by artists that are part of the new presentation of the permanent collection of the MoMA: sculptures by Beninese artist Romuald Hazoumè (born 1962), who won recognition for his “canister masks,” which call daily life into question while proposing a radical interpretation of the madness of the world today; paintings by the prestigious Congolese painters Moké (1950–2001) and Chéri Samba (born 1956), founders of the “Zaire School of Popular Painting,” the vibrant and colorful artistic movement that emerged in Kinshasa in the wake of the country’s independence; and drawings from the series Musée du visage africain by the Ivorian encyclopedist and universalist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (1923–2014), one of the most fascinating artistic personalities in Africa, who endeavored to create a new visual language to explain the entire world.
A further highlight of the exhibition is the utopian Architecture by Bodys Isek Kingelez (Congolese, 1948–2015), who created models of imaginary cities for a more harmonious society. Kingelez’ works were the subject of the City Dreams exhibition in 2018.
The exhibition also presents works by two of the best-known woman artists from the continent – both of which have been pioneers in reinterpreting traditional arts – paintings by the legendary South African artist Esther Mahlangu (born 1935), and terracotta sculptures by the Senegalese sculptor Seni Awa Camara (born 1945).
Furthermore, it is an honor to present paintings and sculptures by Georges Lilanga (Tanzania, 1934–2005). The presentation of his work in a major exhibition of African artists in Washington DC in 1978 had an important influence on the young American grafiti artists, specifically Keith Haring, who acknowledged Lilanga’s influence in his art.