AFRICOBRA: Nation Time at Venice Biennale
05.11.2019 — 11.24.2019
Kavi Gupta is thrilled to announce that AFRICOBRA: Nation Time has been announced as an official Collateral Event of La Biennale di Venezia 2019 (May 11th – November 24th 2019), in Venice, Italy.
This is a monumental achievement for this vital Black Arts collective, which was founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1968. The appearance of AFRICOBRA at the Venice Biennale not only brings international attention to the work of these groundbreaking artists, but shines an important spotlight on their legacies as representatives of the artistic heritage of our city.
AFRICOBRA: Nation Time at La Biennale di Venezia 2019 also marks a proud moment in the history of Kavi Gupta Gallery. Our first exhibition of the work of AFRICOBRA co-founder Gerald Williams premiered in 2017. Since the early days of planning that exhibition, we have been working directly with Gerald and the other surviving AFRICOBRA co-founders to assemble a historic library of ephemera documenting the first 50 years of AFRICOBRA’s existence. These archives include rare materials tracking AFRICOBRA members’ participation in FESTAC ’77, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977, as well as Williams’ time spend working in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1977 to 1999, and tracing the aesthetic evolution of Jae and Wadsworth Jarrel as they lived and worked in Washington, D.C., New York City, and beyond.
In 2018, Williams curated AFRICOBRA 50, a landmark exhibition at our Elizabeth Street gallery in Chicago’s West Loop celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the AFRICOBRA collective. AFRICOBRA 50 juxtaposed historic and newer works by all of the AFRICOBRA co-founders alongside works by contemporary artists inspired by their aesthetic vision.
Now, as we continue to help locate rare historic works and additional ephemera, we look forward with excitement to the opening of AFRICOBRA: Nation Time this May, when the colorful, vibrant, exuberant work of AFRICOBRA will light up Venice’s picturesque Gothic palazzo of Ca’ Faccanon.