You Go to My Head – A visual poem on African inheritance, titled after a Billie Holiday song, is a group exhibition curated by Rita Rovelli Caltagirone on view from the 20th of April to the 28th of May 2016 at Galerie Daniel Templon, in Brussels. The show presents us a group of works from african artists and artists with african roots, evidencing the cross influence of the african legacy in the occidental culture and its assimilation by the diaspora artists.
It is an exhibition about the cultural heritage of Africa as an expression of assemblage of ideas and influences in the era of globalization. The African culture is undoubtedly presented in the most diverse ways and some of the biggest themes throughout the exhibition are the relevance of african women in art and the notions of race and beauty in the canons of representation in the history of art.
Carrie Mae Weems performs a major role in art, as an African American female artist, bringing to light gender, race, and all the minorities disregarded by history. Left Behind 2, a work by Mickalene Thomas, gathers references from western art (such as the paintings of Delacroix, Matisse, and Manet) highlighting the femininity of the african women through painting, photography, and collage of prints and rhinestones. While Carrie Mae Weems has a vast work on social justice and Mickalene Thomas explores the power and beauty of the african women, Lynette Yadom-Boakye and Kehinde Wiley bring to contemporary art the history of representation, using completely different languages, but pinpointing the racial difference, in a culture where the portrait heritage was almost exclusive to the whites. Rashid Johnson touches the subject of the skin in a profound and poetical manner, using wooden floors covered with black soap (originally used in West Africa) and wax, which the artist marks and brands.
You Go to My Head, a visual poem on inheritance and assimilation of cultures, is indeed the fruit of a legacy of oppression in a time in history when barriers of color, prejudice, and hierarchy separated cultures and art, but mostly the confirmation of a new embracing and inclusive global History of Art.
Olu Amoda, Omar Ba, Sanford Biggers, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Phoebe Collings-James, Melvin Edwards, Theaster Gates, David Hammons, Romuald Hazoumé, Rashid Johnson, Bertand Lavier, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Tony Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Liza Lou, Carrie Mae Weems, Tameka Norris, Ugo Rondinone, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
by: Catarina Vaz