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Who Knows Tomorrow

Author(s): Okeke-Agulu, Chika

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Abstract: Who Knows Tomorrow, an exhibition of independent projects by five African artists, opened at the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, in June 2010. Conceived in response to an invitation by the office of the then federal president Horst Köhler to propose an “African art” exhibition in Berlin to coincide with a conference of the president's Africa Forum initiative, the project explored the difficult and complex colonial and postcolonial relationship between Africa and Europe. The curators imagined an art exhibition that was not so much about Africa and African art, as a platform for African artists to contemplate the place of Berlin in the history of European colonization of the African continent, a process that officially began with the Berlin-Congo Conference (1884–85) convened by Germany's first imperial chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.1 While Bismarck's conference was meant to resolve the “Scramble for Africa” by rival European nations attracted by the continent's vast wealth of raw materials and mineral resources, it provided him a unique opportunity to secure a significant role for the newly unified German nation in European imperial politics. The context of the exhibition—the personal involvement of the German president, and its location in key German art museums, each with a history steeped in the politics of German national identity—provided a unique opportunity to reexamine the long-established and often ignored or underacknowledged relationships between art and state power, between aesthetics and nationalism, and between the artistic avant-garde and political ideology.
Publication Date: 1-Dec-2010
Citation: Okeke-Agulu, Chika. "Who Knows Tomorrow." Art Journal 69, no. 4 (2010): 49-65.
ISSN: 0004-3249
Pages: 49 - 65
Language: English
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Art Journal
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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