Main Building


On display in the Main Building, 4.5–22.9 2019




An Exhibition with Contemporary African Artists

Curated by Kristin Hjellegjerde


For its 2019 season, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium is delighted to present a hugely diverse exhibition of contemporary art from Africa, curated by the London-based, Norwegian gallery owner, Kristin Hjellegjerde. Hjellegjerde’s gallery has worked closely with many artists from the African continent and Kubatana is the fruit of her extensive research into and knowledge of the African art scene. This is one of the largest presentations of contemporary African art yet seen in Scandinavia, bringing together 34 artists from 19 countries. A broad spectrum of media and techniques is represented in the exhibition, and the artists explore themes from their colonial past, collective mythologies and personal histories to the challenges posed by the new political, economic and social realities of modern Africa. Kubatana can therefore be said to be a reflection of the cultural diversity and riches of a continent which encompasses a wealth of religions, languages and peoples.  


The term contemporary African art is widely accepted as referring to art produced in the postcolonial era by artists on the African continent, or by African artists who have emigrated. While this common geographic origin may in no way impinge on the artistic direction chosen by individual artists, it is evident that African artists are proficient at cultivating among themselves social and professional networks. Kubatana means togetherness in the shona language of Zimbabwe – a concept that is reflected in the rich cultural communities that have developed across the continent. At the same time, works produced by these artists have won for African art a new status on the international art arena.

Indeed, the rapid growth of contemporary African art in the last few decades has led to exponential recognition on the global art scene. Until quite recently a marginalised segment of Western art practice, African art today is projecting with strong and characterful voices that do not allow themselves to be reduced to merely regional and/or cultural connections. Since the 1990s, artists have been concerned with challenging accepted forms of visual representation and stereotypical depictions of African culture, promoting instead a larger cultural, historical and aesthetic fluidity. Through performance, installation, video, painting and sculpture Kubatana invites us to discover new artistic expressions and significant artistic voices from a hugely diverse continent.




Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this year's exhibition. We are grateful to all artists, curator, galleries, collectors and writers for your immense contribution. 


We thank Marwan Zakhem at Gallery 1957 and  Macaal Museum 

A special thank goes to Serge Tiroche and Africa First Collection for generous support.