Exhibition: Amsterdam, New Positions in Contemporary African Photography. Otobong Nkanga

Snap Judgments

New positions in Contemporary African Photography

27 Jun 2008
30 Sep 2008

This summer the Stedelijk Museum CS presents Snap Judgments, an exhibition of work by 35 contemporary African artists and photographers with unique perspectives on their own continent. The exhibition reveals how artists are using photography to respond artistically to the enormous changes currently taking place in African economic, social and cultural life. The artists also break away from lingering stereotypical images of their cultures, histories and countries. The exhibition was organised by Okwui Enwezor, adjunct curator at the ICP in New York.


Working men pool 01.jpg - Otobong Nkanga.

Over the last century, photography has proved to be a vital medium in African culture; however, appreciation of African photographers and their unique visual imagery is a recent phenomenon.

By examining the role of visual images in African culture, the exhibition offers a penetrating insight into the rapidly changing social dynamics of the continent. The show includes over 180 works by 35 artists. The majority of the works were produced since 2000, many were commissioned for the exhibition.

Snap Judgments presents photographs from all over the continent, from the Muslim North right down to its southernmost tip. It reveals the vast changes now occurring in African economic, social and cultural life. In addition to revealing individual artistic responses to Africa, Snap Judgments also examines the ways in which its recent photographic art has moved beyond both African traditions and Western influences to explore new aesthetic territories. The show passes over the commercial portrait photography that has dominated the African scene in recent decades and focuses instead on Africa’s increasingly important documentary and fashion photography, as well as conceptual art.