In early December, Yinka Shonibare Foundation had the pleasure of co-hosting the six participants of the Art Exchange: Moving Image programme in London for an immersive one-week residency. This dynamic initiative, tailored for early to mid-career visual arts curators from Sub-Saharan Africa specialising in moving image projects, provided a unique space for cultural exchange and peer-led professional development. The selected programme participants are Abbey IT-A (Ghana), Ese Emmanuel (Nigeria), Jesse Gerard Mpango (Tanzania), Kefiloe Siwisa (South Africa), E.N Mirembe (Uganda,) and Rosie Olang' Odhiambo (Kenya). Their week-long residency experience opened doors for engagement with various moving image collections, interactions with artists in the field, and meetings with curators across institutional, independent, and gallery backgrounds.
The programme curators during a visit to LUX with LUX Director Benjamin Cook, British Council Relationship Manager Leah McGurk, and workshop facilitator Lisa Kennedy.
The residency commenced with a visit to LUX, an arts organisation that supports and promotes visual artists working with moving image and represents the UK’s only significant collection of moving image works produced by visual artists dating from the 1920s to the present day. This was followed by a visit to the British Council which has been collecting works across the visual art, craft and design spectrum to promote the achievements of the UK's best artists, craft practitioners and designers since 1938. It provided a rare opportunity to meet with the Head of Collection, Moira Lindsay and view parts of the collection outside of an exhibition setting.
The programme curators during a visit to the Tate Modern to meet with Curator of International Art/Moving, Valentine Umansky.
Tuesday unfolded with an evaluation workshop at Somerset House, followed by a visit to the Tate Modern to experience the "A World in Common" exhibition curated by Osei Bonsu. The day concluded with a meeting with Valentine Umansky, Curator of International Art/Moving Image at the Tate.
A discussion with Larry Achiampong during a visit to Copperfield Gallery.
The residency week continued with a trip to the Barbican and a meeting with the Head of Visual Arts, Shanay Jhaveri before viewing exhibitions "RE/SISTERS" along with Julianknxx’s "Chorus in Rememory of Flight" at The Curve. This was followed by a visit to Copperfield Gallery to meet with Larry Achiampong whose work "Relic 1' forms part of the British Council collection.
A walking tour of Margate guided by local artist and curator Guy Oliver.
Thursday marked an excursion beyond London, as the cohort headed to the coastal town of Margate. Guided by artist and curator Guy Oliver, the tour included stops at renowned art spaces such as Carl Freedman Gallery, Quench Gallery, and TKE Studios, culminating in a visit to Turner Contemporary. Here, the participants met with Senior Curator, Melissa Blanchflower and artist Mark Leckey, whose dynamic collaborative exhibition, "In the Offing," occupied the first-floor gallery space.
A visit to Tracey Emin's TKE Studios in Margate.
On the final day of the residency program, the cohort embarked on a visit to the BFI, where they met with William Fowler, the Curator of Artists' Moving Image. This insightful session included a viewing of select works from the BFI collection, providing a deep dive into the realm of artists' films. In the afternoon they travelled west across the city to Iniva. Here, they engaged with Artistic Director Sepake Angiama, the Iniva team, Rabz Lansiquot from Languid Hands, and ICF Curator Orsod Malik. The exhibition on display, "Anti-Colonial Ways of Seeing," added a layer of depth to their discussions and served as a powerful backdrop to their dialogue.
Discussions at the BFI with Curator of Artists Films, Will Fowler and LUX Director Benjamin Cook.
The day culminated in a networking evening at the Africa Centre. This gathering brought together curators, cultural stakeholders, G.A.S. and Guest Projects alumni, as well as artists actively contributing to the moving image realm. It was a perfect finale, fostering connections, exchanging ideas, and celebrating the vibrant intersection of creativity and cultural dialogue.
The programme cohort during a visit to Iniva.
The Art Exchange: Moving Image programme is supported by the British Council and organised by LUX, the UK agency for the support and promotion of artists working with moving image, Yinka Shonibare Foundation and Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation, Nigeria. During 2023-2024 LUX and Guest Artists Space Foundation will work with curators in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop a series of exhibition projects responding to moving image works in the British Council Collection. The selected programme participants are Abbey IT-A (Ghana), Ese Emmanuel (Nigeria), Jesse Gerard Mpango (Tanzania), Kefiloe Siwisa (South Africa), E.N Mirembe (Uganda,) and Rosie Olang' Odhiambo (Kenya).
The closing networking event at the Africa Centre in London.
The Art Exchange: Moving Image curatorial cohort with artist Larry Achiampong and programme partners. From L-R: Chloe Austin (Relationship Manager, British Council), Leah McGurk (Relationship Manager, British Council), Ese Emmanuel (programme curator), Abbey IT-A (programme curator), Kefiloe Siwisa (programme curator), Mirembe E.N (programme curator), Benjamin Cook (Director, LUX), Larry Achiampong (Artist), Rosie Olang' Odhiambo (programme curator), Jesse Mpango (programme curator) and Magda Kaggwa (Communications and Projects Manager, Yinka Shonibare Foundation).