# / #



When We See Us

A Century of Black Figuration in Painting

GEGENWART / 25.05.–27.10.2024 / Curators: Tandazani Dhlakama, Koyo Kouoh

In what ways have artists from the African continent and its far-flung diaspora processed the experience of the quotidian in their painting over the last 100 years? Koyo Kouoh, Director and Chief Curator of the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa, and her team undertook extensive research to find out. The result is a comprehensive show that brings together works by 156 artists: a kaleidoscope of Black figurative painting over the last 100 years. Also scheduled to be on show at the Kunstmuseum Basel, Zeitz MOCAA has created a groundbreaking exhibition that demands to be seen.

The exhibition’s title is inspired by the 2019 Netflix miniseries When They See Us by African-American director Ava DuVernay, which focuses on how Black youth are seen as potential criminals and thus as a threat. Replacing “they” with “we” in the title indicates the crucial perspectival shift: The works on show bring into focus the artists’ lived realities as subject of their own art. Amounting to over 200 pieces, the artworks are grouped into six distinct thematic categories entitled “The Everyday,” “Joy & Revelry,” ”Repose,” “Sensuality,” “Spirituality,” and “Triumph and Emancipation.”

This multifaceted special exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart introduces viewers to figurative painting by Black artists from Africa and the African Diaspora dating from the 1920s through to the present. Sound stations and atmospheric staging provide complementary contextual elements as aids to interpretation. A multilayered series of public programmes designed in collaboration with external partners provides additional approaches to the exhibition.

The show features works by:
Michael Armitage (Kenya / UK)
Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigeria / USA)
Ben Enwonwu (Nigeria)
Joy Labinjo (UK)
Jacob Lawrence (USA)
Danielle McKinney (USA)
Sungi Mlengeya (Tanzania)
Mmapula Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi (South Africa)
Chéri Samba (Democratic Republic of the Congo / France)
Amy Sherald (USA)
Cyprien Tokoudagba (Benin)
Zandile Tshabalala (South Africa)
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (UK)
and many more.


This exhibition is conceived and organized by Zeitz MOCAA . Adapted for Kunstmuseum Basel in collaboration with:
Anita Haldemann, Head of Art & Research, Deputy Director
Daniel Kurjakovic, Curator of Programs
Maja Wismer, Head of Art after 1960, Contemporary Art

Events for this exhibition

Fri 24 May

GEGENWART
18:00–20:00

Children's vernissage: "When We See Us"

In cooperation with the Friends of the Kunstmuseum Basel. Yesterday today was still tomorrow. The exhibition "When We See Us" is full of pictures that show people in their everyday lives. How do you spend your time when you're not at the museum? What is your favorite day of the year and what makes it so special? What stresses you out and when can you really relax? What bores you and what do you enjoy? Togetherwe get creative and discover the magic of everyday life. Age: 4–12 years. Free participation without registration.

Treffpunkt: Studio Gegenwart

 

VERNISSAGE

GEGENWART
18:30–10:44

Opening: «When We See Us»

We warmly invite you to the vernissage of "When We See Us. A Century of Black Figuration in Painting". Discover a multifaceted special exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, where we present Black figurative painting from Africa and the African diaspora since the 1920s. The event will begin with welcoming remarks by the Director of the Kunstmuseum Basel, Elena Filipovic, the Government Council of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and the Executive Director & Chief Curator Koyo Kouoh and will end with a shared aperitif. Free participation without registration.

Treffpunkt: Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart St. Alban-Rheinweg 60

Sat 25 May

CURATOR'S TOUR

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Kurator:innenführung «When We See Us»

In German. Mit der Kuratorin Maja Wismer. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5.

Sun 26 May

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Visite guidée de l'exposition « When We See Us. Un siècle de peinture figurative panafricaine ».

In French. Coût : entrée + CHF 5.

Thu 30 May

GEGENWART
16:30–18:00

Lehrer:innen Einführung zur Sonderausstellung «When We See Us».

In German. Ein dialogischer Ausstellungsrundgang mit pädagogischem Fokus. Kosten: CHF 15, Ticket erforderlich via Ticketlink.

Sat 1 Jun

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Führung in der Ausstellung «When We See Us. Hundert Jahre panafrikanische figurative Malerei»

In German. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5.

Sun 2 Jun

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Guided tour of the exhibition "When We See Us. A Century of Black Figuration in Painting"

Costs: Admission + CHF 5.

Sat 8 Jun

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Führung in der Ausstellung «When We See Us. Hundert Jahre panafrikanische figurative Malerei»

In German. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5.

Sat 15 Jun

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Führung in der Ausstellung «When We See Us. Hundert Jahre panafrikanische figurative Malerei»

In German. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5.

Sat 22 Jun

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Führung in der Ausstellung «When We See Us. Hundert Jahre panafrikanische figurative Malerei»

In German. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5.

Sun 23 Jun

FÜHRUNG

GEGENWART
15:00–16:00

Visite guidée de l'exposition « When We See Us. Un siècle de peinture figurative panafricaine ».

In French. Coût : entrée + CHF 5.

Show all events