We Face Forward
02.06.2012 - 16.09.2012
We Face Forward: Art from West Africa Today is a city-wide exhibition of contemporary art from the region, and the first major collaboration between Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery and The Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall. It will feature painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, video and sound work from a wide range of internationally acclaimed artists, including Georges Adéagbo, Meschac Gaba, Romuald Hazoumè and George Osodi. The exhibition will also be the first major display in the UK of work by emerging artists such as Lucy Azubuike, Emeka Ogboh, Charles Okereke, Nyani Quarmyne and Victoria Udondian.
New, large-scale installations have been commissioned from Barthélémy Toguo at Manchester Art Gallery and from Pascale Marthine Tayou at Whitworth Art Gallery.
The Gallery of Costume will show work by three esteemed Malian photographers – Malick Sidibé, Abderramane Sakaly and Soungalo Malé – whose archives are being preserved by the National Museum of Mali. Their extraordinary studio and social portraits will be shown alongside West African dress from the gallery collection as well as with some contemporary fashion pieces from West African designers.
A complementary music programme, curated by Band on the Wall, will animate Manchester’s music venues, museums and galleries throughout the summer. It will feature world-renowned acts such as AfroCubism (Toumani Diabaté), Africa Express and Femi Kuti.
Exhibitions and events with a West African theme will be held at The Manchester Museum and The National Football Museum. The National Football Museum will present African artists for whom football provides a way to explore protest, politics and social engagement; while The Manchester Museum will retell the Anansi spider stories through its natural history and anthropology collections.
A summer-long creative programme will engage with a range of people across Greater Manchester. Modelled on the highly decorated taxi-buses that ferry people across Dakar, Accra and Bamako, an art bus will take creative activities out beyond the participating galleries and parks to other locations across the city.
The exhibitions, concerts, events and community activities recognise both the historic and contemporary links between Manchester and the various countries that make up West Africa. They will explore ideas of economic and cultural exchange, environment and sustainability, and the place of tradition in contemporary culture.