I’m incredibly excited to see Kapwani Kiwanga’s commission, curated by Adrienne Edwards for the Frieze Artist Award. I’ve been following Kiwanga’s work for a couple of years now, and I’ve been fascinated by the ways in which she draws on her training in anthropology. People tend to think of anthropology as being a very distinct practice from art or art history, but they are extraordinarily close: artists, curators, and anthropologists are all looking at cultural phenomena and particularly at objects and their use, and what that says about society at large.
I’m particularly drawn to Kiwanga’s use in this installation of shade cloth as a material – especially since textiles are so often associated with the body and, in an African context, cultural appropriation. I’m interested in seeing how Kiwanga will use an agricultural textile to build on this history while exploring economic and environmental issues as well.