Critics’ Picks

View of Chloé Quenum’s Overseas, 2021.

View of Chloé Quenum’s Overseas, 2021.


“Diaspora at Home”

KADIST - Paris
19 bis - 21 rue des Trois Freres
October 15, 2021–January 30, 2022

From a Eurocentric perspective, the word diaspora conjures a global phenomenon hinging on movement toward Europe. The group show “Diaspora at Home” pushes back at this misperception, demonstrating how the term can equally be applied to circulation and exchange within Africa.

Cocurated by Iheanyi Onwuegbucha and Sophie Potelon, and produced in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, where the first chapter of this exhibition opened in November 2019, this second iteration takes up the theme of movement of both people and ideas. London-born, Nigeria-based artist Rahima Gambo’s video Instruments of Air, 2021, follows the artist’s gaze as she explores the landscape of Burkina Faso’s Central Plateau. Again and again, her hand slips into the video frame to reveal small, seemingly handmade brass sculptures that Gambo refers to as “wander-lines.” Walking, a recurring motif in the artist’s work, here becomes a practice of occupying space and making oneself at home within it, a process crucial to the notion of diaspora.

Abraham Oghobase addresses the arbitrary nature of borders in the installation Nomad in Exile, 2021. The artist photocopies found archival photographs and maps of Africa until the boundary lines—colonial-era demarcations that still define the continent today—gradually start to disappear. Chloé Quenum’s mural Overseas, 2021, introduces a trompe-l’œil window within the exhibition space. The frame contains a casual composition of a savannalike landscape, a dark-skinned body, and a pineapple. Quenum picks up on this oft-exoticized fruit (which originated in South America but can now be found on all continents) to visualize the socioeconomic conditions of global migration. Bringing together these wide-ranging commentaries, the exhibition makes it clear that diaspora does not designate a fixed state but rather a constant negotiation.