African Identities to show at Venice Biennial

John Owoo, Arts Ghana, 24 March 2022

AKKA Project will from Sunday April 23 to Sunday November 27, 2022 showcase works of selected African artists in Venice – a famous art venue located in North Eastern Italy.

Dubbed “African Identities”, the show – which will run during the duration of Venice Biennial – is aimed at highlighting the importance of the Arts and Artists from the African continent while revealing trends that have emerged in Africa over the past few years.

The maiden edition will focus on the art scene of East African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mozambique where artists are drawn from many different ethnic groups and cultures as well as talents and styles.

Artists, whose works will be on display include Evans Mbugua, Maina Boniface, Peterson Kamwathi, Elias Mung’ora, Hilda Mumbi Nadia Wamunyu, Allan Kioko, Onyis Martin, Rasto Cyprian, Longinos Nagila, Peteros Ndunde Solomon Luvai and Michael Soy.

Others are Xenson Samson Senkaaba, Donald Wasswa, Patrick N. Karanja, Goncalo Mabunda, Reinata Sadimba, Djive Samuel, Ngule Kiire Yusuf, Ronex Ahimbisbwe, Filipe Branquinho, Matt Kayem, Charles Bhebe and Doddridge Busingye.

Indeed, the AKKA Project aims at gathering and presenting varied artists, including established and young talents under one roof while providing them with an opportunity for much needed interactions and fruitful dialogues.

Undeniably – each country has mastered its unique distinctiveness and has individually bloomed from the fertile soil and risen to diverse original contemporary artists – who masterfully experiment with new subjects, flairs and materials.

AKKA Project aspires to create a unique and enriching experience while allowing visitors to discover and perceive the works and stories by these artists during the entire period of Venice Biennale 2022, which is being curated by the Italian art director Cecilia Alemani.

Initiated in 2016 by the Serbian curator Lidija Kostic Khachatourian, AKKA Project commenced as a commercial art gallery in Dubai (2016) and in Venice (2019) with the objective of promoting artists from Africa and encouraging their growth through exhibitions, art fairs and residencies.

Through other projects such as “Africa & the other 54 countries”, she has contributed to the celebration of the art, culture and cuisine of multiple African countries. In 2019, she curated the exhibition titled “The Past, the Present and the in Between”, at the Pavilion of Mozambique, for the 58th edition of the Venice Biennial, which featured a number of artists including Goncalo Mabunda, Filipe Branquinho and Mauro Pinto.

Khachatourian equally curated “Inspiring Changes” by Mohamed Amin, a project in collaboration with Salim Amin, whose aim was to create educational interactions (exhibitions and other initiatives) through the vast photographic archive of Mohamed Amin. Currently, she is in the process of opening a third gallery in Switzerland to further support the growth of African artists.