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Image – 'Ajok' by Atong Atem.

The Bold And Brilliant Exhibition ‘Fashioning Black Identity’

Miriam McGarry
18th April, 2019

African and African diaspora fashion, photography and portraiture at Cairns Art Gallery.

Fashioning Black Identity: Africa and the African Diaspora is an bold and brilliant exhibition currently on show at the Cairns Art Gallery. The exhibition explores how contemporary black African artists play with fashion, portraiture, and photography to challenge and redefine personal and cultural identity.

Six prominent artists use photography to ‘explore and unpack perceptions and being’, and particularly challenge the historic use of colonial photography studios that sold an ‘exotic’ image and identity of Africa to the outside world.

This exhibition carries on the legacy of African photographic artists, who during the move to independence from 1950 and 1970, took over colonial photographic studios and ‘began to explore the possibilities of photography as an art form.’ The exhibition celebrates the distinctive style of art photography that emerged from that period of independence.

Fashioning Black Identity features the work of celebrated artists Seydou Keïta, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Omar Victor Diop, Namsa Leuba, Delphine Diallo, Atong Atem and Jojo Abot. The exhibition particularly highlights the role of collaboration between artists, and the mix of fashion and art to ‘convey individual and collective identity, speak of resistance and remembering, and raise issues of race and consciousness.’ The patterns and use of colour are vibrant and vital, in this powerful display of African and African diaspora artworks.

Fashioning Black Identity
February 8 – May 5 2019
Cairns Art Gallery
40 Abbott Street
Cairns City
Queensland 4070

Miriam McGarry
18th April, 2019

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