A museum centered on Art + Education + Social Justice through the lens of Africa + the diaspora
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Black Coffee | SUBCONSCIOUSLY

On View: October 14-16, 2022

Location: The King’s Hall at Avant Gardner, 140 Stewart Ave, Brooklyn

SUMMARY

A special pop-up exhibition curated by Amy Andrieux of The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), inspired by Black Coffee’s 2021 album of the same name. Featuring the works of 6 artists across the African diaspora: Nene Mahlangu, Nicolas Premier, Daniela Yohannes, Maxwell DeWunmi, Alexis Chivir-Ter Tsegba, and Maxime Manga. 

AFROFUTURISM. 
MINDFULNESS.
PLAYFUL EXPERIMENTATION.
OTHERWORLDLY JUXTAPOSITIONS.
COLORFUL NEW REALITIES.
HISTORY CALLING…. DREAM BEYOND NOW.

 

Curated by Amy Andrieux

COLLABORATOR

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Black Coffee kicked off 2022 with a triumphant Grammy Award win for Best Dance/Electronic Album for his 2021 album Subconsciously, he then went on to perform 2 incredible sets on Coachella’s Sahara stage. Coffee has most recently Executive Produced Drake’s 7th studio album release Honestly, Nevermind, and will continue the year with an array of exciting musical collaborations as well as taking on the role of Executive Music Producer in Director Hicham Hajja’s upcoming film God Is A DJ.

Over the last two decades, DJ, Producer and Entrepreneur Black Coffee has established himself as one of the most prominent global names in Electronic music. Black Coffee has broken down boundaries musically; bringing his South African roots to the world with a blend of heavily traditional African percussion and distinctively metropolitan techno, dubbed by many as “Afropolitan House”.

Following a remix for the inimitable Alicia Keys, he collaborated with international superstar Drake on the hit “Get It Together” and released his 6th studio LP Subconsciously featuring the likes of Pharrell Williams, Diplo, RyX, Usher and David Guetta.

In just a matter of years, Black Coffee has become one of the top touring performers in the world, with a myriad of residencies in global dance music hot-spots such as Hï in Ibiza and The Wynn in Las Vegas on top of an impressive tour schedule of over 150 shows per year. When Nkosinathi Maphumulo aka Black Coffee isn’t on the road, he spends time supporting local charities in South Africa through music and education, as well as helping the next generation of entrepreneurs through his company Flight Mode Digital as an angel investor.

FEATURED ARTISTS / SELECT WORKS

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Alexis Tsegba’s digital collages deliver the viewer to better places. Worlds where Black people are at one with nature, exploring mythical lands, or where women are shaping Africa’s bright future. For example, in her image for Joyeux Store, Swamp Falls, Black bodies become waterfalls, sprout streams and give life to verdant flowers. These uplifting allegories not only speak to ideas of Afrofuturism but also to the romance and possibilities of the every day – think Sun Ra’s cosmic energies meets Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s nostalgic domestic spaces.

Born in Benue State, Nigeria, Tsegba studied law at the University of Reading followed by Creative and Media Enterprise at the University of Warwick, all the while developing her own artistic practice. Now living in Abuja, the past couple of years have seen the young artist work with brands such as Nike and Campari, exhibit with Picha-stock Africa in Nairobi, Cape Town and Seattle, at MoCADA in New York and at home with Aké Arts and Book Festival. Here she tells us about the messages behind her magical works.

Discovering Ancient Relics, Alexis Tsegba, (2022)

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Daniela Yohannes lives and works in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean. Her work reflects upon the racialized movement and conditional belonging of African diaspora, using her own Ethiopian-Eritrean heritage as a lens.

Through abstract portraiture and storytelling across multiple media, Yohannes explores the overlap of individual and collective subconscious and desire, and the destruction caused by displacement. Her work dwells on alternative Black realities, considering the bonds between herself, her family and other communities through magical symbolism.

While her early collages and paintings of mystic figures were situated in dream spaces, a recent move into film has seen Yohannes anchor themes in the tensions of her real world surroundings. Guadeloupe’s terrain has so far provided rich means to consider her body and consciousness, the survival stories of displaced people, and atopia, the inhospitable environment where society cannot be built.

Yohannes’s current work embraces this newfound physicality further in its attempt to link her with the lives and geographies of others. By embracing forms of hybridity and considering the artefacts of diaspora as a means of travel in themselves, she has built a dedicated interdimensional machine from emotionally charged objects. Arranged within a shed in her garden, this ‘ship’ is now ready for use and the beginning of a new body of work.

Atopias: I Have Left that Dark Cave Forever, My Body has Blended with Hers, Daniela Yohannes (2019)
Single Channel, 22 minutes, 1 seconds, Colour, Stereo.

Directed : Daniela Yohannes and Julien Béramis
Cinematographer : Ludovic Claire
Macro Videography : Tilly Mint
Colour Grading : Yannig Willmann
Sound Design : Basile Andrieu
Research and Editorial Assistance : Steve Shaw
Project Consultant : Sarah Hammond
Film Poster: Manuel Sepulveda

This film is a meditative walk across terrains, where a protagonist traverses atopic spaces thriving only at a level of foundational life; gaseous stars, dense plants, glittering rocks and uncontrolled water. Its nonlinear narrative examines how the conscious absorbs and processes hostilities of society and environment into the unconscious. The camera’s scrutiny of the protagonist hints at this, its hesitance and confusion suggesting that perhaps these surroundings actually form a dystopia of sorts. With questions of identity often linked to where one considers ‘home’, perhaps such atopias – that of space, sky, water, and fissures deep beneath the ground – can be compromises for those denied the chance to ever feel they have one.

This film was made possible with the support from the International Curators Forum (ICF).

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Cameroon-born and based artist Maxime Manga has become the illustration go-to for some of the biggest names on the planet: Adidas; The New Yorker; Adobe; The Motion Picture Academy. His work manipulates classic photography and geometric shapes with vibrant colors that are reflective of his African culture. It’s this self-described ‘Afrofuturistic’ style that has enabled Maxime to carve out a niche in a contemporary art form.

Beautiful Confusion, a digital artwork by Maxime Manga.

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Maxwell Dewunmi is a self taught Creative Designer and Digital artist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He started as a Graphic Designer till he found his passion for Digital arts and now combines both experiences in Creative Design. He mostly uses 3d software to express his otherworldly and surrealist ideas. He is a lover of music, balance, simplicity and beautifully designed things.
ORDERS FROM ABOVE, Maxwell DeWunmi (2022) 
This is an imaginary realm called Corinth. In the realm of Corinth, eccentric people are executed just for trying to be different. There is no place for unconventionality among the Corinthians. The herd mentality is encouraged. Strict obedience and compliance is the way to stay alive, or face the wrath of the Powers that be.

Nene Mahlangu is a multidisciplinary visual artist born in Ga-Rankuwa, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has an interest in womenness, race and self portraiture. After graduating at the University of Pretoria, she went on to attain a post graduate certificate in Design from UMUZI. She is currently a student at Harvard Business School.

Inspired by sensuality, fashion, politics and religion, Mahlangu’s ethereal representations have braced the walls of local and international art fairs and exhibitions. Her works have evolved from monochromatic realistic work to vibrant drawings and paintings of large scale.

In 2019, she made history by being the youngest woman to ever design two coins for South Africa. She went further to be the first person to put a black girl’s face on our money to commemorate 25 years of democracy.

She made her international art fair debut by exhibiting work at the Venice International Art Fair in 2020. She is also the Arts & Culture Trust, ImpACT Award Finalist for 2020 and was listed as one of Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in the same year.

2022 became the year she was the lead visual artist for the Grammy award winning DJ and producer Black Coffee’s HiIbiza residency, creating 22 artworks for the project.

“Sitting-in-Preparation” a work by Nene Mahlangu.

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Nicolas Premier lives and works in Paris, France. The Franco-Congolese artist questions modernity and contemporaneity from experiences and knowledge off-screen, being particularly interested in the links of mutual borrowing, fascinations and “dazzling” that exist between and towards the African diasporas. Premier attaches great importance to poetry as a gateway to the Imaginary, a space-time that he explores and considers fundamental in the process of creating reality.

AFRICA IS THE FUTURE, Nicolas Premier (2021)

AFRICA IS THE FUTURE is a film in four parts, interspersed with dives into the arcane of the Universe and guided by the recurring appearance of the Kongo cosmogram, symbol of the circularity of the World. He recounts different stories born of the Black Atlantic and its shores through a deluge of images, a poetic curation of original shots, Internet sources and archival images. If many of these images seem familiar to us, for some even firmly anchored in our cultural memory, the version we see here is of the order of a revelation. The unseen connections offered by the magic of editing provoke the emergence of previously unsuspected meanings. The film works in depth as a shamanic ritual capable of restoring our vision, inviting us to consider all images as bearers of ageless secrets and meanings that have not yet been (re)discovered.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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