Autograph's Director Mark Sealy is curating African Cosmologies – Photography, Time and the Other, the central programme of Houston's FotoFest Biennial 2020. It is the first time in the Biennial's 37-year history that the central exhibition will focus on artists of African origin.
African Cosmologies will feature over 30 artists from across the continent and its diaspora, making it one of the world’s largest exhibitions of African photography.
With decades of work against a colonized 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.”
FotoFest International, a platform for art and ideas, presents the first and longest-running international Biennial of photography and new media art in the United States.
A cultural non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, FotoFest organizes year-round exhibitions and a classroom-based learning program, Literacy Through Photography that uses photography as a tool to strengthen student writing and learning skills. FotoFest’s acclaimed Biennial and related programs are distinguished by their commitment to social issues and the presentation of important new contemporary artwork that is often not yet widely shown.
Read more about the FotoFest Biennial 2020
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Banner image: Rotimi Fani Kayode, Untitled, 1987-88. Page images, from top left: 1) Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Every Moment Counts, from the series Ecstatic Antibodies, 1989. 2) Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Adebiyi, 1989. 3) 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. 4) Mark Sealy in Sharif Persaud's exhibition at Autograph, 2020.