About the Exhibition
Humans across the globe use art to articulate their life experiences––their triumphs, their struggles, and everything in between. In this way, art as activism motivates discourse, pushing the bounds of acceptability and bringing awareness to injustices. Motivating Discourse: Art and Social Awareness in Africa and the Diaspora explores the role of art in expanding social dialogue on four key topics in African societies since the 1980s–– LGBTQ+ rights, women’s equality and rights, health, and the environment––and the overlaps between them. The exhibition includes artwork from across the continent, from the Mediterranean to South Africa, and a variety of artists, from photojournalists and the museum-commissioned to those concerned primarily with self-healing and community building.
The exhibition has two goals: First, to encapsulate how everyday experiences of being African, both in Africa and throughout the diaspora, such as in North America, are artistically communicated. Secondly, to understand art’s potency in shifting political and social landscapes in Africa in a fundamentally new way. Through a variety of media––photography, clothing prints, recycled waste, and more––this unique exhibition shows the powerful work undertaken by artists who seek to improve the world in which they live.
This exhibition was organized by students enrolled in the Art and Politics in Africa course, taught by Dr. Allison Martino (Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Africana Studies) at Bowdoin College during the Spring term 2019.