This article provides a brief overview of a few thematic exhibitions that the author has curated, highlighting the importance of contemporary African art within a wider international context. The author highlights African and African diaspora artists whose careers continue to thrive internationally. Some might argue that their success has been dependent on their representation in powerful galleries, and to some extent this is certainly true. Nevertheless, it is a small step in the right direction that relocating to major cities in Europe or the United States is no longer an absolute prerequisite for African artists who wish to gain international success and recognition. As the exhibitions and artists addressed in this article convey, cosmopolitanism as a metaphor for mobility, and the ideal of co-existence, diversity, and tolerance as its unifying and defining factors, translates beautifully into the language of contemporary art. Most important, if we strip cosmopolitanism completely bare and look beneath its seductive veneer, its real potential and beauty becomes visible, revealing a commitment to ethics and a genuine engagement with the plight of others. When contemporary artists use their success and privilege to address sharp social criticism that questions the global, social, and cultural inequities that exclude most from the cosmopolitan party, something magical happens that gives cosmopolitanism a necessary dimension of hope and possibility that is truly worth celebrating.
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Research Article| May 01 2020
Selene Wendt; Bringing Afropolitanism to the Arctic Circle. Nka 1 May 2020; 2020 (46): 136–150. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-8308258
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