Tag Archives: African

DAK’ART Biennale opens May 9th, 2014 in Dakar, Senegal

7 May

dak'art 2014 logo


The International Exhibition of African and African diaspora artists is the main event of the Biennale. The selection is entrusted to the curators of Dak’art 2014: Elise Atangana for selecting the diaspora, Abdelkader Damani for North Africa and Smooth Ugochukwu Nzewi for sub-Saharan Africa. The selection is the combined result of artists invited by the curators, eight for each curator, and artists selected on the basis of portfolios provided by the artists or their representatives.

At this international exhibition are added four other events: an exhibition of guest artists dedicated to cultural diversity, the exhibition of African sculpture, Tributes exhibitions and Dak’Art into the Campus.

“Producing the common”

” All over the world biennial exhibitions multiply with the aim of creating a global image. Some might see it as a clear manifestation of globalization, a most exasperated expression, and a repetition of contemporary art exhibitions in a never-ending quest for novelty. For others, including us, the multitude of art biennials is an attempt to find “globality” and a common desire to produce a feeling of a singular world (Tout-Monde) in each place, a term coined by Édouard Glissant. What Glissant calls the “Whole-World,” is “our universe that is ever changing yet remains the same, and the vision that we have of it.” 
“Producing the common” is our central theme for Dak’Art 2014. With this theme, we seek to link politics and aesthetics in a vigorous and engaged way. Is the encounter of works of art in a specific place, the art exhibition, not an attempt to instantly produce the public space which people seek through movement and protests?
Most contemporary artists see politics as the prism through which they receive and interpret existential reality. They engage reality in their works and consequently involve their work in reality. Aesthetics is shaped by a wealth of forms and approaches used by artists to make their work legible. Thus, if politics is a way of communicating in the public space, is art therefore the base?
Art, more than any other domain, creates a chain of relations between men and women, but also the interplay between humanity, nature and the Universe. Artists’ creations must possess the vital force in order to command the attention of audiences. Art should be able to take into account common aspirations, fears, hopes and daily struggles with the utmost sincerity. That is why we think of the exhibition as the “distribution of the sensible,” to draw from Jacques Rancière. It is why we share his point of view of linking politics to art and aesthetics.
Our framework, “to produce the common”, is a conscious act of engaging what is collectively shared, and to take into account what affects everyone, the “Whole-World”. For Dak’Art 2014, we are interested in new modes of address used by contemporary artists (from Africa and elsewhere) in thinking critically about art and the artistic process as a public vocation, and as part of the whole. 
A timetable for video screening and cinema, as well as interventions in public spaces, completes this program for Dak’Art 2014, anchored in both reality and the imaginary. We hope this ensemble will provide a space and time to think about art, politics, and affirm that being together is the only horizon for human creation. “

By the curators: Elise Atangana, Abdelkader Damani, Smooth Ugochukwu Nzewi.

Venue: Village of the Biennale, Route de Rufisque.

Don’t miss the work of Morton Fine Art’s VICTOR EKPUK on view at DAK’ART 2014.  For available work by this internationally celebrated artist, please visit http://www.mortonfineart.com.

Victor Ekpuk, Soliloquy Series 5, 15"x12", collage, ink & tempera on handmade paper

Victor Ekpuk, Soliloquy Series 5, 15″x12″, collage, ink & tempera on handmade paper

Nigerian artist VICTOR EKPUK’s solo “Reminiscences & Current Muses” opens at Morton Fine Art in DC

13 Sep
A solo exhibition of artwork by VICTOR EKPUK, featuring a rare collection of his artwork from 1996-2013
September 13th, 2013 – October 8th, 2013
Friday, September 13th, 6-8pm
The artist will be in attendance.
Saturday, September 28th, 4-6pm
Victor Ekpuk, Vigilante 2, 2012, ink and collage on paper, 48"x36"

Victor Ekpuk, Vigilante 2, 2012, ink and collage on paper, 48″x36″

Morton Fine Art (MFA)
1781 Florida Ave NW (at 18th & U Sts)
Washington, DC 20009
Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Select excerpts from the essay of Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, PhD, 
Curator of African Art, The Hood Museum of Art on Victor Ekpuk’s Reminiscences & Current Musings: 
 “Victor Ekpuk’s creative process involves moments of quietude in which he digs studiously into his memory bank for visual clarity. The quiet search for acuity, very revealing of the artist’s interest in human experiences, frames Reminiscences and Recent Musings. In a way, this solo effort is a retrospective because it draws from several bodies of work produced by the artist between 1996 and 2013. These 20 works represent the artist’s meditations on his social experiences, drawing from Nigeria and the United States, his country of birth and residency respectively, and as with most contemporary artists, other worlds that he has experienced in the course of several international artists residencies in the last few years.
…Using invented scripts and imageries that evolved from the cryptic nsibidi writing system that is autochthonous to eastern Nigeria, Ekpuk translates the human experience both transparently and symbolically. It is no secret that the nsibidi ideographic forms now function as a conceptual backdrop for him. Earlier on, he drew extensively from the writing system, as is evident in the paintings: The Three Wise Men (triptych, acrylic on panel, 1996), Heaven’s Gate (acrylic on prayer board, 2000), and Idaresit (acrylic on canvas, 2004). At that point, Ekpuk was more interested in aesthetic memory, the idea that one can subject a common cultural wellspring to formal analysis in order to create new aesthetic possibilities. Except one that has some familiarity with the nsibidi form, the three works are open to multiple interpretations. They present what the art historian Chike Aniakor calls the “veiling of message [as being] the fortress of the artistic impulse.”[i] The works may have specific messages, but they are not directly accessible and require the artist’s intervention in order to unlock them.
Ekpuk has however become adept at inventing his own scripts, which may appear weighty in appearance, but are unburdened with fixed meaning. Unlike the nsibidi ideograms, Ekpuk’s inventions bear no deep secrets. Instead, they are outlets through which he articulates his perception of the world around him. In the artist’s oeuvre, his scripts recur in the form of dots, scrawls, contrived signs that are sometimes borrowed from pop culture, and few nsibidi signs which he employs more for their aesthetic value than for their significance. In 2006, Ekpuk had shifted his interest to drawing as his main channel of expression at the expense of painting in order to explore more rigorously the aesthetics of graphic signs as abstract forms. Altogether his invented scripts provide insights into a world of the artist’s making, a world that straddles the experienced and the imagined.
…In all, the works are several bodies of interconnected ideas that fit perfectly into an overarching artistic vision, from nearly two decades. They represent Ekpuk’s attempt to translate his experiences and the larger human experience, bearing the burden of contemplation, history, and contemporaneity.”
Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, PhD
Curator of African Art,
The Hood Museum of Art,
Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

[i] Chika Aniakor, “AKA: The Conquests of An Artistic Vision,” AKA 89 [4thannual exhibition catalogue] (Enugu: AKA, 1989), 8.
Victor Ekpuk, Idaresit (Joyful Heart), 2004, acrylic on canvas, 48"x24"

Victor Ekpuk, Idaresit (Joyful Heart), 2004, acrylic on canvas, 48″x24″

VICTOR EKPUK’s art began as an exploration of
nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, and has since evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.  His artwork is in the permanent collection of Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, Newark Museum, The World Bank, and University of Maryland University College Art.
The central theme of Ekpuk’s work is the exploration of relationships, challenges, and responses to changes that characterize the contemporary human condition.  Of particular interest to his oevre is nsibidi, an indigenous African system of writing that employs graphic signs and codes to convey concepts. Inspired by these ancient writings, the forms in his works are reduced to a basic essence resulting in new symbols or codes in script-like drawings.

Morton Fine Art at Art Hamptons 2013, Booth 411

5 Jul

Inline image 3

Inline image 1

Thursday, July 11 2013 | 6:30-9:30pm | VIP Opening Preview Party

Regular Fair Hours:
Friday, July 12         | 11am – 8pm
Saturday, July 13    | 11am – 8pm
Sunday, July 14      | 11am – 6pm


The Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark

60 Milestone Road (off roundabout on Scuttle Hole Road)

Bridgehampton, NY

Morton Fine Art will be located in Booth 411.

Artists Represented

Maya Freelon Asante

Nathaniel Donnett

Victor Ekpuk

Julia Fernandez Pol

Stephon Senegal

About Morton Fine Art (MFA)

Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC, Morton Fine Art (MFA) represents a diverse roster of emerging to mid career national and international contemporary artists.  MFA’s primary focus, although not exclusive, is abstract and figurative work. Featured mediums include a rich variety of artworks on paper and canvas as well as sculpture. Dedicated to the belief that anyone can become an art collector, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is an accessible and education-oriented fine art gallery devoted to inspiring fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art.


Morton Fine Art featured in Adams Morgan Promo Video

19 Feb

A special thanks to the wonderful DC team at Morton Fine Art for holding down the fort (and video footage) while we were working at Aqua Art Miami! The video features MFA’s logo at the beginning as well as MFA artist KESHA BRUCE and staff in the closing segment, “Come for the Art!”.


Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe – Contemporary Response – Featured Image 2

30 Oct

Union of Pope Clement VII and Simonetta da Collevecchio, 72"x42", rhinestones, acyrlic & glass on panel, Image courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Union of Pope Clement VII and Simonetta da Collevecchio, 72″x42″, rhinestones, acyrlic & glass on panel, Image courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

VICTOR EKPUK’s “Union of Pope Clement VII and Simonetta da Collevecchio”

Union of Pope Clement VII and Simonetta da Collevecchio” investigates the relationship between Pope Clement VII from the Medici family and a black slave woman, Simonetta da Collevecchio. Both were progenitors of Alessandro de Medici, called ill Moro (“the Moor”), Duke of Florence and Penne (1530-1537).

“Portrait of Duke Alessandro de Medici”, Courtesy of The Uffizi, Florence, Italy

“Portrait of Duke Alessandro de Medici”, Courtesy of The Uffizi, Florence, Italy