Today, the African continent stands at a particular moment to define not just itself, but history, art and space all together. This is a moment beyond republics and invisible borders drafted by men who exist now as mere ghosts of the past – this is a continent beyond
In his 2016 essay “Africa in the New Century,” Cameroonian philosopher and political theorist Achille Mbembe eschewed the myths of racist Hegelian ideology about Africa while theorising an optimistic ‘reopening of the future’ for the continent; and indeed humanity in a broader sense. Writing about the idea of Africa as a body in motion, Mbembe observes that:
Africa being above all the body of a vast diaspora, it is by definition a body in motion, a de-territorialised body constituted in the crucible of various forms of migrancy. Its art objects too, are above all objects in motion, coming straight out of a fluctuating imaginary. Such, too, is African modernity – a migrant form of modernity, born out of overlapping genealogies, at the intersection of multiple encounters with multiple elsewhere.
Taking these sentiments of multiplicity and hybridity to heart, A Continent Beyond presents the work of a diverse and extensive selection of artists represented and associated with Gallery MOMO who epitomise this vision of de-territorialisation, diaspora and encounter.
The exhibition brings artists who have defined and immortalised fleeting moments in a violent and oppressive past, together with those who began their careers reflecting on the complexities and failings of post-1994 Rainbowism, and the artists who are envisioning and shaping striking new models for the future. Arresting, engaged and continental in scope, the exhibition offers nineteen different entry points into the expansive possibilities of what it means to be A Continent Beyond.