Meschac Gaba (°1961, Cotonou) is inspired by his experience of living between the Netherlands and Benin. Since the late 1990s Gaba has been studying constructions of cultural identity and systems of trade as they relate to exchanges between Africa and the Western world. He addresses ideas of value and revaluation, perceptions of African art, the politics of museum display, and the roles of both artist and visitor.
In his nomadic museum, Museum of Contemporary African Art, Meschac Gaba offers a satirical and critical view on how African art is still viewed from a postcolonial, exotic perspective. It is divided into twelve themed sections or rooms and consists of sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs, videos, textiles, architectural models, books and design objects. The twelve sections can be presented in different arrangements and locations and can be exhibited separately or collectively.
The museum can be compared to an archive of African art and culture, in which the works and objects are organised according to the logic of their imaginary relationships. Gaba attempts to develop a discourse on the authorship of the African artwork and the museological and curatorial conditions of contemporary African art. The Museum of Contemporary African Art challenges us to think about these conditions, as well the purpose of the museum in our modern society.
40 artists from 18 different countries present 60 artworks at 16 indoor and outdoor locations in Kortrijk.