In Context 2016: Africans in America and Black Portraiture[s] III

Staged at locations across Johannesburg, the Africans in America group exhibition and the Black Portraiture[s] III: Reinventions: Strains of Histories and Cultures symposium, form part of In Context 2016, an ongoing curatorial series initiated by Goodman Gallery director Liza Essers in 2010. Essers conceived of In Context in the absence of significant international art events in Johannesburg, following the demise of the short lived Johannesburg Biennale in 1997.

Africans in America is co-curated by Essers and American artist Hank Willis Thomas. It takes place over two locations: the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Artists include Wangechi Mutu, Alfredo Jaar, Julie Mehretu, Theaster Gates, Odili Donald Odita, Kehinde Wiley and Carrie Mae Weems.

According to the organisers: “Africans in America attempts to give voice to this multiplicity, this host of attachments and experiences that is about having two states of mind in one. It is not as much about an ethnic heritage or a geographic location as it is about the places we take with us when we go anywhere”.

The show’s thematic focus was in part conceived to complement the Black Portraiture[s] III’s diverse perspectives, exchanges, discussions and themes. It is the first time the conference took place in Africa since its inception in 2004. The conference is a major international podium where artists, activists and scholars from around the world share ideas about the current state of African, African American and African Diaspora art, and art history.

Black Portraiture[s] III was organised by the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, La Pietra Dialogues at NYU, co-funded by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick H. Gaspard and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard. The conference is hosted in association with the Goodman Gallery and the University of the Witwatersrand. It took place at Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg from 17 - 19 November 2016.

For more info on the conference visit

For more info on In Context: Africans in America visit The Goodman Gallery.

Niger Delta Blues II, Niger Delta Blues III, Object Trouvé III, Valerie Piraino


Mutu, Nguva Wangechi


TheEnd, Brendan Fernandes


Epigraph, Damascus, Julie Mehretu


Kung-Fu Fighting, Stan Douglas


Single Cube Formation No. 2, Santa Barbara, CA, Single Cube Formation No. 3 Marfa, TX, Dawit L. Petros