Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, a summer exhibition of works by a diverse group of contemporary artists from Africa, curated by Ugochukwu- Smooth C. Nzewi, co-curator of the 11th edition of the Dak'Art Biennale, the foremost platform for contemporary art in Africa. The show borrows its title from Sidney Poitier's 1967 classic come- dy-drama film, a fitting metaphor, in reference to the astute observation of art historian Chika Okeke- Agulu.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? celebrates the growing impact of African art on the global stage and serves as a crucial platform for visibility in New York. The exhibition introduces the work of twelve African artists: Halida Boughriet, Gopal Dagnogo, Sam Hopkins, Onyeka Ibe, Amina Menia, Chika Modum, Aida Muluneh, Chike Obeagu, Amalia Ramanankirahina, Ephrem Solomon, Uche Uzorka, and Beatrice Wanjiku.
Of crucial importance to the exhibition is an earnest desire to question received or fixed assumptions of "Africanness" as either a cultural signifier or aesthetic primer in the work of contemporary African artists, particularly as it relates to their reception in the West. The work of these artists challenges such bias often seen through the lens of identity politics in the global art marketplace. Etched in their individual works are the intimate contexts that motivate their creative preoccupations, as well as the internationalism of their individual practices. Such contexts bear the markers of what is increasingly being referred to as global contemporary. While these artists are comfortable with their ties to Africa, either as a place of birth or a space of cultural significance and connection, their creative visions reflect the deep signs of our changing times. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? invites the New York audience to encounter the rich variety of media and diversity present in contemporary African art, as shown in the works of these twelve artists.