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Tate announces new acquisitions of modern and contemporary African art and related programme
Meschac Gaba, Museum of Contemporary African Art 1997 - 2002. Centro Atlantiko de Arte Moderno © Meschac Gaba.

LONDON.- Tate announced its new acquisitions of modern and contemporary African art and related programme in Africa as part of its unique partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank plc (GTBank).

Tate will launch a two-year project entitled Across the Board at Tate Modern on 24 November 2012. This project will consist of a series of events featuring emerging African artists and exploring recent practices in the continent. The launch will include a day of performances by artists Otobong Nkanga (b.1974, Nigeria) and Nástio Mosquito (b.1981, Angola) in The Tanks, the new spaces dedicated to performance, live and film works at Tate Modern. The project will contribute to local expertise and networks when it takes place in three cities in Africa in 2013 and 2014: Accra in Ghana, Douala in Cameroon and Lagos in Nigeria.

In summer 2013 Tate Modern will dedicate a wing of its galleries to two of the most important African artists working today. A seminal work in the recent history of African art, Museum of Contemporary African Art1997–2002 by Meschac Gaba (b.1961, Benin) has been acquired by Tate and will be displayed in its entirety for the first time in the UK next year. Consisting of twelve sections, including a Games Room, Marriage Room, Music Room and Salon, this work challenges preconceived notions of African art while highlighting the fact that a museum of contemporary African art does not yet exist in Africa. This workhas been part gifted by the artist and part purchased by Tate through the Acquisitions Fund for African Art supported by Guaranty Trust Bank plc.

The UK’s first major exhibition of painter Ibrahim El-Salahi (b.1930, Sudan), Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist will bring together approximately 100 works from across more than five decades of El-Salahi’s international career, this retrospective will highlight one of the most significant figures in African and Arab Modernism and reveal his place in a broader art historical context.

Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern said: “Tate is committed to building a truly international collection, showing African artists as part of a global history of modern and contemporary art. The acquisition of Gaba’s extraordinary Museum of Contemporary African Art has transformed our holdings from the continent and our project working collaboratively with emerging artists in Africa will support our collecting process in coming years.”

Segun Agbaje, Managing Director/CEO, GTBank plc. said: “The partnership between Guaranty Trust Bank and Tate aims to bring the work of African artists to the attention of new audiences both in Africa and on an international level. We are committed to this and other art related initiatives because we know African artists have a lot to offer the world.”

In addition to the Gaba acquisition, Tate is also acquiring through the Acquisitions Fund for African Art Supported by Guaranty Trust Bank plc a series of photographs from J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s(b.1930, Nigeria)iconic Hairstyles series;A group of vintage photographs by Samuel Fosso (b.1962, Cameroon) from his acclaimed project Self-Portraits 1975-ongoing; and a painting Portrait of a Man 1955 by Aina Onabolu(1882-1963, Nigeria), considered the first modernist painter working in West Africa at the turn of the twentieth century.

Tate and the IsraelMuseum have also received a joint donation of a major video installation by William Kentridge (b.1955, South Africa). Entitled I am not me, the horse is not mine 2008, the work will be displayed in the Tanks from 11 November 2012 to 20 January 2013. Tate is also currently acquiring major works by El Anatsui (b. 1944,
Ghana), Ibrahim El-Salahi (b. 1930 Sudan), Samuel Fosso (b. 1962,
Cameroon) and David Goldblatt (b. 1930, South Africa) with the support
of the recently launched Africa Acquisitions Committee.

The Guaranty Trust Bank partnership with Tate supports a dedicated curatorial post focusing on African art held by Elvira Dyangani Ose, an acquisition fund to help Tate enhance its holdings of work by African artists and a project programme from 2012-2014.

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