The Museum of Anthropology at UBC has just announced that it will host the exhibition Sankofa: African Routes, Canadian Roots from November 4, 2021 to March 27, 2022.
Jointly curated by Nya Lewis (founder and director of BlackArt Gastown), Nuno Porto (MOA curator, Africa and South America), and Titilope Salami (a PhD candidate at UBC’s Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory)--with one installation also curated by Oluwasayo Olowo-Oke (MA candidate at UBC’s Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory)--the exhibition explores the relationships between traditional and contemporary African art and Black Canadian contemporary art.
“Sankofa addresses the uncertain moment that many Black Canadians face when they enter a museum and encounter a historicized version of Africa," says Lewis in a press release, "how can one relate to these objects that have been removed from contemporary Black culture?
"Sankofa provides a space for viewers to investigate the African collections at MOA," adds Lewis, "and reflect on how the stories, creativity, and traditions that live in these items might be re-examined to find the truth and history of who Black Canadians are now. Sankofa aims to build bridges of recollection and forge new relationships between the many diasporic identities found across the city and beyond.”
The exhibition features work by Lagos artists Jelili Atiku, Victor Ehikhamenor, Peju Layiwola, Onome Olotu, Onosanya Onolaja, and Stephen Tayo, and Vancouver artists Berlynn Beam, Michèle Bygodt, Chantal Gibson, Odera Igbokwe, Chase Keetley, and Nya Lewis, in addition to more than 100 other works from MOA’s collections.
“Rather than curate an exhibition that perpetuates the illusion of a monolithic African culture," says Salami in the press release, "Sankofa offers a glimpse at the endless possibilities of creativity through multiple Black lenses. We are visualizing fragments of many diverse perspectives, presenting a kaleidoscopic image so that visitors can construct their own relationships with the artists and the works on display.”