AK: What is the premise of the Africa Comics exhibition, and how was the work selected?
TG: The premise of Africa Comics is to provide a primer on contemporary artists working in comic and graphic form on the African continent. This exhibition came about for me, curatorially, in a somewhat funny, serendipitous way. In 2000, Africa e Mediterraneo, an organization dedicated to bettering European understanding of African culture, decided that comic art was a project that could reach out both to African communities in Europe and communities on the continent. They began to offer prizes for the best unpublished African comic art and have published, in the last six years, individual and anthology volumes. They never had the opportunity to show the work in America and came to me for advice; I immediately saw the opportunity for an exhibition. The challenge of bringing the works to an American audience was that while they were picked for both aesthetic and narrative content, many of them are not in English. Given the complex colonial histories of Africa, "native" languages may combine French, Portuguese, and Afrikaans with Wolof and Swahili.
Africa e Mediterraneo and the museum worked together to curate a selection of work and then took on the task of translating them into a handout for visitors to take with them, so that they could not only appreciate the incredible graphic diversity, but also the content, which really gives a more personal window into the daily lives of contemporary Africans. [read the rest of the interview here]
Pictured: Mendozza y Caramba (Maxime Aka Gnoan Kacou) AAAAA!, 2002. [source]