Urban Cadence tells the multifaceted stories of two urban environments—Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa—experienced through the artistic expressions of photography and video. African cities are the fastest growing in the world, and these two cities have experienced this growth in diverse yet fascinating ways: the first as a mega-city, the latter as a center of industrial development. The street scenes in this exhibition represent the complex narratives of these urban areas: tales of migration, labor, desperation, success, hope, and imagination among others. Here, these stories are woven together with the theme of cadence, which speaks to the rhythms of life. Cadence is the gait of the artist or inhabitants of the city as they move through urban spaces. Cadence is a visual rhythm an artist creates when telling the city’s myriad stories. At the same time, it is a musical metaphor that artists draw on to speak about their images or their photographic practice. Whether sobering, humorous, or unexpected, the visuals of Urban Cadence challenge us to explore what it means to be urban in Africa in the early 21st century. Guest curated by Carol Magee, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, UNC-Chapel Hill.
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Artists include: Akinbode Akinbiyi, Akintunde Akinleye, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Jude Anogwih, Jodi Bieber, Donna Kukama, Sabelo Mlangeni, Uche Okpa-Iroha, and Jo Ractliffe.
Urban Cadence was initiated by TECAA (Touring Exhibitions of Contemporary Artists of Africa) and made possible through the advocacy, generosity and leadership of TECAA’s principals Diane Frankel and Cynthia Plevin. The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College is shepherding the project’s completion. Gund Gallery exhibitions and programs are sponsored, in part, by the Gund Gallery Board of Directors, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Image: Uche Okpa-Iroha, American Dream, 2008. Digital print on aluminum. 80 x 60 centimeters. Courtesy of the artist.