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‘Golden Theater or Gutted Whore-house?’ by ORLANDO READE

The latest issue of Savvy Journal (#3) includes an article, ‘Transcending “Africa”‘, by Emeka Okereke, photographer and founder of the ‘Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographic Initiative’ (whose work we’ve been excited about here). It is an interesting contribution to debates about the recent successes of African art in the contemporary art world, which has been getting increasingly lively. In its first issue, Savvy published an essay — ‘Where is Africa in the Global Contemporary Art?’ — by Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, a Nigerian academic based at the University of California. Ogbechie wrote a forceful and rigorous piece on the misrepresentation of Africa in the international art community, where the continent is substituted for its diaspora. Even more striking and bold has been an article by Rikki Wemega-Kwawu–an internationally-renowned painter working out of Takoradi, Western Ghana–who asks similar questions to Ogbechie, but in harsher language: ‘How could the “gutted whore-house” of yesterday overnight become the golden theater for the playing out of contemporary African art?’