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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
August 6, 2004

Carnegie Mellon's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery Presents New Work by Contemporary African Artists

PITTSBURGH-The Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University presents, "A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad," an exhibition that provides an in-depth look at new work created by the finest contemporary African artists working today.

"A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad" presents new work by 11 contemporary African and African Diaspora artists who currently work and live in Europe and the United States. "A Fiction of Authenticity" presents the artists' responses to social, cultural and aesthetic attitudes developed throughout history, particularly the Western fabrication of an "authentic" Africa.

The exhibition will open Aug. 20 with an artists' reception and performance 5-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10. The opening is free and open to the public.

The exhibition, co-curated by Shannon Fitzgerald of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Tumelo Mosaka of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, brings together work in a variety of mediums - sculpture, painting, photography, installation, video and performance - all exploring issues of authenticity.

"A Fiction of Authenticity" contains new work by Siemon Allen (South Africa/New York), Fatma Charfi (Tunisia/Bern), Godfried Donkor (Ghana/London), Mary Evans (Nigeria/London), Meschac Gaba (Benin/Amsterdam), Kendell Geers (South Africa/Brussels), Moshekwa Langa (South Africa/Amsterdam), Ingrid Mwangi (Kenya/Mannheim, Germany), Odili Donald Odita (Nigeria/Tallahassee), Owusu-Ankomah (Ghana/Lilienthal, Germany) and Zineb Sedira (Algeria/London).

All of the participating artists have extensive exhibition records on an international scale, although several have never exhibited before in the United States, making this show in Pittsburgh particularly important.

Geers, whose work has been exhibited at Venice Biennale (1993), the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997), The Carnegie International (2000) and Continental Shift, Maastricht, Germany (2001), has created a new sculpture for this exhibition. Installed on the roof of the Purnell Center for the Arts will be his quasi-commercial sign. The "sign" appears to be malfunctioning as the first letter in the word SLAUGHTER flicks and blinks on and off, changes color and reveals the word LAUGHTER. Geers' says his work often plays with the sometimes ironic and uncanny relationships between the meanings of "words within words."

Mwangi describes her installation, "Dressed Like Queens" as a depiction of "the strength, creativity and potential power of the African women as a symbol of motherhood and created [that] counters the media portrayal of Africa as poverty-stricken, disease-ridden continent with a confused post-colonial society, generally corrupted political systems and chaotic, non-functional economical infrastructures."

She will be present at the Sept. 10 reception to give a new performance in relation to "Dressed Like Queens." Mwangi has exhibited throughout Germany and was included in the Sao Paulo Biennale (2002) and at Elga Wimmer PCC in New York (2003).

The exhibition runs through October 3, 2004. Additional programming is scheduled; for the events schedule, visit or call the gallery's events line at 412-268-3618.

This exhibition has been made possible through generous support from The Rockefeller Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The National Endowment for the Arts; Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam; Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and the Missouri Arts Council.

The exhibition at the Miller Gallery is supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; The Multicultural Arts Initiative of the Pittsburgh Foundation; Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts and its School of Art.

The Miller Gallery is located in the Purnell Center for the Arts on the Carnegie Mellon campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment. Visitor parking is available in the East Campus Parking Garage off Forbes Avenue and on weekends in the Morewood Lot.

For more information, please contact Jenny Strayer, director, Miller Gallery at 412-268-3877 or by email at Photos of artwork by Geers and Mwangi are available by request; call 412-268-3877.


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