South of the Sahara

Africa, the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, is burned into the Western collective memory as a continent steeped in agony, tragedy and the blood of its people. But when visitors at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art step into the large and opulent hall that houses the exhibition “Regarding Africa: Contemporary Art and Afro- Futurism,” they are not immediately greeted by an intense impression of pain. Instead, they are met by the broad smiles and shining faces of bare-chested African men posing against floral backdrops, holding bouquets of flowers, wearing sunglasses and traditional African garb.

The photos, which were taken by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, soften the guttural reaction that will almost certainly follow visitors later and hint at the blend of imagery and symbols that characterize the entire exhibition: a display of brutality and chaos alongside development, stunning beauty and elation.


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