See Argentina and Africa's connection in black and white and colour
More than 500 years have passed since 60 million slaves were captured like animals, taken to the New World and forced into a foreign life. In a fascinating photographic exhibition, which opens at Museum Africa on Saturday, their descendants in Argentina return to the deep roots of their origin through the magic of old and contemporary photographs.
African Paths in Argentina 1844-2014 explores 170 years of African history, struggle and contribution to Argentinian society, historically hidden and negated. It brings to light extraordinary images, from daguerreotypes of the very first slaves, to photographs of the more recent immigrants, and the afro-descendants in the active process of rescuing their African roots, dignity, visibility and independence.
The exhibition forms part of the biennial exchange programme between Argentina and South Africa, and follows on from the recent Argentinian Cultural Week. The extraordinary photos are on show at the Bensusan Museum of Photography at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg, and is a collaboration between the City of Joburg and the Women's Museum in Buenos Aires.
African Paths in Argentina 1844-2014 is by Adriana Palomo, Argentinian researcher and collector of historical photographs specialising in gender and visual memory, and curated by Irene Jaievsky, curator of the Woman's Museum in Buenos Aires. They were assisted by photo historian Abel Alexander, a restorer and conservator of daguerreotypes and researcher on Afro-Argentine community photography in the nineteenth century.
“The project tries to make the African roots in Argentina visible through history and the arts, as well as to portray the diversity of the Afro-Argentinian community and the recent African immigration. It records the struggle to achieve respect for their rights and pays tribute to the social activists of the Afro-Argentinian victims of the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983,” said Jaievsky.
For Palomo, African Paths in Argentina 1844-2014 is rooted in a personal connection to South Africa.
“It was on a trip to South Africa during which I reconnected with old friends that I was overwhelmed with how much we Argentines and South Africans had in common. Both countries have histories of European colonisation, and, with regards to the Afro-Argentine culture, years of dictatorship and apartheid, and it felt like a mutual exchange was due,” she said.
The official opening of African Paths in Argentina 1844-2014 takes place on Saturday 9 August at 11am. On Wednesday 13 August at 2pm the museum hosts a walkabout and discussion with Adriana Palomo. Both events are open to the public.
Visiting the exhibition also provides an ideal opportunity to view the other two Argentinian exhibitions on Level 3 of Museum Africa: Lo Que Se Ve by Adriana Lestido and Ausencias by Gustavo Germano, two of Argentina's most acclaimed photographers.
African Paths in Argentina 1844-2014 is supported by the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, the South African Embassy in Argentina, the Embassy of Argentina in South Africa, the South African Business Centre, the Argentinian South African Chamber of Commerce, Proyecto 34°S, Argentinian Association of South Africa, Women's Museum in Buenos Aires, the Iberoamerican Society of History of photography and a number of Afro-Argentine organisations.
For more information or media enquiries, please contact:
Curator: Bensusan Museum & Library of Photography
Tel:+ 27(0) 11 833 5624 X257
Cell:+27(0) 82 771 1901
Fax:+27(0) 11 833 5636