press release

Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography is the first major U.S. exhibition in a decade to examine current photographic works from Africa. Organized by the International Center of Photography (ICP), New York, and curated by Okwui Enwezor, this exhibition will be on view at Miami Art Central from June 30 through August 27, 2006.

Photography has maintained a vital presence in African culture for over a century. But the recognition of African photographers and their unique visual language has come about only recently. When Western photography engages Africa, it seems often to evoke pathological images of disease, corruption, and poverty.

The global media almost never depict contemporary Africans in ordinary situations; images of crisis frequently eclipse other representations. In response to this partial view that overlooks the complexities of daily life across a vast continent of over fifty nations, Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography forces a recognition of the contradictory and varied forms of photographic practice that are now arising across Africa.

This exhibition is in part devised to ask pertinent questions about the role of images in the public narratives of the African self and spaces within a changing global image ecology. It is not centered on a specific dispute, nor is its critique simplistic. The exhibition comprises discreet, modest, and forceful propositions on how to look at Africa, how artists work with the tool of photography to trace the arc of a different social reality that is both deliberately pictorial and narrative in approach and at the same time questions the historical dependence on narratives of anomie. African artists and photographers are looking at the unfolding drama of contemporary life and experience in Africa with a fine-tuned alertness. They are examining and analyzing the dizzying processes of spatial transformation, massive transition, and social adaptation that make up the varied realities of diverse groups: urban and rural, formal and informal communities. The artists’ penetrating insi ght provides the remarkable story of this project.

Reflecting the increasingly close relation of photography with other forms of experimental art in Africa, Snap Judgments will include not only photographic works but also multimedia installations and documentation of performance art.

Featured Artists Doa Aly (Egypt), Moshekwa Langa (South Africa/Netherlands), Lara Baladi (Egypt/Lebanon), Maha Maamoun (Egypt), Oladélé Bamgboye (Nigeria/UK), Boubacar Touré Mandémory (Senegal), Yto Barrada (Morocco), Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa), Luis Basto (Mozambique), James Muruiki (Kenya), Zohra Bensemra (Algeria), Lamia Naji (Morocco), Zarina Bhimji (Uganda/UK), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria/Netherlands), Mohamed Camara (Mali), Jo Ractliffe (South Africa), Ali Chraibi (Morocco), Tracey Rose (South Africa), Omar D. (Daoud) (Algeria), Fatou Kandé Senghor (Senegal), Depth of Field (Collective)(Nigeria), Randa Shaath (Egypt/Palestine), Allan deSouza (Kenya/UK/USA), Mikhael Subotzky (South Africa), Andrew Dosunmu (Nigeria/USA), Sada Tangara (Mali/Senegal), Hala Elkoussy (Egypt), Guy Tillim (South Africa), Theo Eshetu (Ethiopia/Italy), Michael Tsegaye (Ethipia), Mamadou Gomis (Senegal), Hentie van der Merwe (South Africa/Belgium), Kay Hassan (South Africa), Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko (South Afr ica), Romuald Hazoumé (Benin)

About the Curator Okwui Enwezor is Dean of Academic Affairs at San Francisco Art Institute, and Artistic Director of Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo de Sevilla, in Seville, Spain. He was artistic Director of Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002) and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997). Enwezor has curated numerous exhibitions including: The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994; In-Sight: African Photographers, 1940-Present; and Global Conceptualism. He has joined the International Center of Photography as an adjunct curator.

Exhibition Curated by Okwui Enwezor, this exhibition will present over 200 works by 35 artists from a dozen countries, encompassing the African continent from the Muslim cultures of North Africa to the sub-Saharan nations of the south.

Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography was organized by the International Center of Photography with lead support from Altria Group, Inc., and the ICP Exhibitions Committee. Additional funding was generously provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Christian K. Keesee, Roberta and Steven Denning, Eni S.p.A., Marjorie G. and Jeffrey A. Rosen, Artur Walther, Association Française d’Action Artistique, Robert Scully and Nancy Peretsman, Meryl and Robert Meltzer, Andrew and Marina Lewin, Jane K. Lombard, Prince Claus Fund, the Government of Flanders, Mondriaan Foundation, Pamela and Arthur Sanders, and the British Council. Support for the exhibition catalogue has been provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

On view: June 30th - August 27, 2006 at Miami Art Central. Opening reception: Thursday, June 29th, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Please RSVP via e-mail to or by phone 305.455.3336.

Miami Art Central’s presentation of this exhibition is sponsored by the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation.

Exhibition Catalogue and Brochure Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography is accompanied by a fully-illustrated, 380-page, full-color catalogue with essay by curator Okwui Enwezor, commentaries on the individual works in the exhibition, and the biographical entries on the participating artists. Because many of the artists and works are new to the American audience, the catalogue can be expected to serve as an important reference for art historians and students of contemporary African culture and photography.


only in german

Snap Judgments
New Positions in Contemporary African Photography
Kurator: Okwui Enwezor

mit Doa Aly, Moshekwa Langa, Lara Baladi, Maha Maamoun, Oladele Ajiboye Bamgboye, Boubacar Toure Mandemory, Yto Barrada, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Luis Basto, James Muruiki, Zohra Bensemra, Lamia Naji, Zarina Bhimji, Otobong Nkanga, Mohamed Camara, Jo Ractliffe, Ali Chraibi, Tracey Rose, Omar D., Fatou Kande Senghor, Depth of Field , Randa Shaath, Allan deSouza, Mikhael Subotzky, Andrew Dosunmu, Sada Tangara, Hala Elkoussy, Guy Tillim, Theo Eshetu, Michael Tsegaye, Mamadou Gomis, Hentie van der Merwe, Kay Hassan, Nontsikelelo Lolo Veleko, Romuald Hazoume