Tate Appoints Curators Specializing in African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Art

In further news: David Adjaye tipped to design Nigerian museum for looted Benin treasures; Hillary Clinton reads her emails in Venice

Tate Modern, London. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Tate Modern, London. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Tate Modern, London, has appointed four new curators specializing in African, Middle Eastern and South Asian art. Nabila Abdel Nabi, who moves from The Power Plant, Toronto, will focus on art from the Middle East and North Africa. Curator, critic, art historian and frieze contributing editor Osei Bonsu will work on developing representation of African art in Tate’s collection and public programme. Dr Devika Singh, a specialist in modern and contemporary art and architecture in South Asia, as well as a regular contributor to frieze, will lead on curating art from that region. And Valentina Ravaglia, previously assistant curator at Tate Modern, will be working on the collection display programme. ‘These posts will further Tate’s commitment to rethinking the history of modern and contemporary art from a less Western-centric vantage point,’ reads the press release. Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern, commented: ‘We are delighted to appoint Nabila, Osei, Valentina and Devika as curators at Tate Modern. Their significant experience and expertise will play an important part in expanding our knowledge of modern and contemporary art from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, furthering our ambition to present a truly international story of art through our programme and collection.’

Celebrated architect David Adjaye has been commissioned to investigate the feasibility of constructing a Benin Royal Museum in Nigeria. The new museum could house treasures looted from the ancient kingdom of Benin, many of which are now in the collections of London’s British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The construction would be a major step toward the repatriation of these artefacts, which were stolen by the British in the late 1800s. A spokesperson for Adjaye expressed the architect’s interest in and experience of Benin’s cultural history as well as his commitment to ensuring ‘this history will have its place in Nigeria’s present and future’.

The Louvre in Paris has announced plans to train refugees as tour guides. The scheme was inspired by Multaka, an initiative launched in Berlin, which teaches Syrian and Iraqi refugees to lead tours in Arabic. Two museums in Oxford inaugurated similar projects earlier this year, and now the Louvre’s Islamic art department is in discussion with Alwaleed Philanthropies, a Saudi Arabian charitable foundation, over how to ‘adapt the [Multaka] programme to the priorities of the Louvre and French context’, a spokesperson for the museum said.

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has visited an art installation containing replicas of her infamous emails. The work, by artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith, is on display as part of a project related to the Venice Biennale. HILLARY, The Hillary Clinton Emails (2019) comprises a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk and a large stack of print-outs of her emails, consisting of more than 60,000 sheets of paper. Goldsmith described the work as ‘the greatest poem of the 21st century: an anti-monument to the folly of [Donald] Trump’s heinous smear campaign against Clinton’. Taking to Twitter to respond to the piece, Clinton posted a picture of herself sitting behind the desk with the caption: ‘Found my emails at the Venice Biennale. Someone alert the House GOP.’

In further news: some of the participating artists for the 2020 Dhaka Art Summit have been named. More information can be found here. Fatima Hellberg has been appointed director of Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn; California African American Museum in Los Angeles has named Cameron Shaw as new deputy director and chief curator; and the Biennale of Sydney has published its list of artists participating in next year’s edition. The full list can be read here.

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