Nigeria Debuts at the Venice Biennale
By: Janine Systma


At a moment when large-scale perennial exhibitions of contemporary art occur in virtually every corner of the globe, the Venice Biennale remains the most prestigious and influential, attracting more than half a million museum directors, curators, critics, collectors, and other contemporary art enthusiasts to Venice every odd numbered year for a taste of the latest trends. Since its establishment in 1895, the Biennale has evolved alongside international politics and today consists of a massive international art exhibition, assembled by a guest curator around a unifying theme, along with numerous national pavilions, primarily paid for with state funds, and collateral exhibitions that occur concurrently throughout the city. Regrettably, even with the recent redistribution of artistic visibility, institutional imbalances persist at the Venice Biennale, resulting in the continued marginalization of contemporary African artists. Biennale curators, most of whom have hailed from Europe and the United States, have retained, to a large extent, an imperial paradigm and extended invitations to few contemporary African artists…….

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