Houston, Texas

African Cosmologies: Redux

Sep 24 - Nov 6 2022

Past Offsite Curation
Curated by Mark Sealy, organised by FotoFest

Autograph's Director Mark Sealy is curating African Cosmologies: Redux at Houston's FotoFest International Biennial

about the exhibition

African Cosmologies: Redux is an adaptation of the postponed FotoFest Biennial 2020 exhibition, African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other, featuring artists included in the original iteration of that exhibition and complemented by a series of programs. African Cosmologies: Redux is a large-scale group exhibition that examines the complex relationships between contemporary life in Africa, the African diaspora, and global histories of colonialism, photography, and rights and representation. The exhibition considers the history of photography as one closely tied to a colonial project and Western image production, highlighting artists who confront and challenge this shortsighted, albeit canonised lineage.

The artists featured in African Cosmologies: Redux turn an eye to social, cultural, and political conditions that inform and influence concepts of representation as they pertain to image production and circulation within Africa and beyond. These artists question the ways in which subjectivity is constructed and deconstructed by the camera, and in the process, reveal legacies of resistance by those who defy traditional ideas of sexual, racial, gender-based, and other marginalised identities.

With decades of work against a colonised view of photography in Africa, Sealy explains, “Photographic images can only be understood within the contexts of the cultures to which they relate. Only once we understand the cultures within which an image is made, and read, can we begin to lock down any real meaning ... The establishment of a canonical reading of photography is in no way universal or democratic. Photography for those locked out of the means of image production becomes an impossible barrier to the right to full and equal human recognition,” says Sealy. “Especially if existence alone is an act of survival.”

Taking its cues from John Coltrane’s avant-garde jazz oeuvre, wherein formal modernisms of the past are made complex by radical imagination and black- futurity, this presentation of diverse ideas, artistic approaches, and material histories proposes a “cosmological exploration” of Africa and the African diaspora— one that defies easy categorisation and spatial and temporal boundaries. Succinctly, it explores the very notions of Africa and Africanness beyond traditional geographic and historical lines.

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African Cosmologies: Redux is presented in venues city-wide across Houston



Spring Street Studios at Sawyer Yards, The Alta Arts, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, and the Menil Collections

past exhibition

This exhibition is now closed. View our current exhibitions here

curated through autograph

Autograph has more than 30 years of curatorial expertise in photography and film addressing issues of representation, identity, social justice and human rights.

Working on exhibitions off-site from Autograph's gallery in London, our curators bring Autograph's knowledge and ethos to projects in the UK and abroad.


Rahima Gambo Rukkaya and Hadiza, from the series Education is Forbidden

Aïda Muluneh, Access, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the series Water Life

Hélène A. Amouzou, Self-Portraits

Wilfred Ukpongfrom the series Blazing Century 1, Niger-Delta/Future-Cosmos

Banner image: Rotimi Fani Kayode, Every Moment Counts II (Ecstatic Antibodies) [detail], 1989. Courtesy of Autograph, London.

Exhibition preview: 1) Rahima Gambo Rukkaya and Hadiza, Maiduguri, Nigeria, 2016. Juxtaposed with a connect-the-dots style illustration from a school book. From the series Education is Forbidden, 2015–16. Courtesy of Rahima Gambo and Open Society Foundation. 2) Aïda Muluneh, Access, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From the series Water Life, 2018. Commissioned by Water Aid, 2018. Courtesy of Aïda Muluneh and Water Aid. 3) Hélène A. Amouzou, Self-Portraits, 2008. Courtesy Hélène A. Amouzou. 4) Wilfred Ukpong, BC1-ND-FC: By and by, I Will Carry this Burden of Hope, till the Laments of my Newborn is Heard #2, 2017. From the series Blazing Century 1, Niger-Delta/Future-Cosmos, 2011–17. Courtesy of Wilfred Ukpong and Blazing Century Studios, Nigeria.

Discover more: 1) Rotimi Fani Kayode, Tulip Boy [detail], 1989. Courtesy of Autograph, London. 2) Carrie Mae Weems, Magenta Colored Girl, 1989 - 2019. Courtesy of Carrie Mae Weems and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY. 3) Bruno Boudjelal, Blida Hospital where Frantz Fanon Worked, Algeria from the series Fanon, 2011. Courtesy of Bruno Boudjelal and Autograph ABP, London. 4) Mark Sealy in Sharif Persaud's exhibition at Autograph, 2020.