Golden Jubilee – Zambian Contemporary Art in New York

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Day by Day
by Lutanda Mwamba


A country rarely under the international spotlight, a testament to its stability, Zambia may have come to your attention last week with the announcement of a newly appointed white interim president, Guy Scott, in the wake of the death of President Michael Sata. Celebrating fifty years of independence this year, this relatively new democracy appears to have evolved past racial politics into a mature state open to embracing the contributions of all citizens. Zambian contemporary art is a translation of this integration, a visual manifestation of the nations hybrid identity, and one, it seems, at peace with this complexity. As part of the Jubilee celebrations, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts in collaboration with Gloria Huwiler are hosting an exhibition entitled Golden Jubilee featuring Zambia’s leading contemporary artists at KuBe Beacon, New York this coming Saturday, November the 8th which will run till through January 24th.

Ethan Cohen Fine Arts has been at the forefront of contemporary Asian Art as one of the first galleries specializing in the field. With a keen eye for new talent they, represent both emerging and established Chinese artists for that have gone on to widespread international success. Recently they have turned their attention to the growing world of contemporary African Art exhibiting the work of Aboudia in the aptly titled African Dawn. KuBe, Ethan Cohen’s Beacon location where Golden Jubilee will take place is a forum dedicated to international cross-cultural exchanges through art and culture.

African contemporary art, a final frontier in the greater contemporary African Art world is increasingly coming to the attention of international collectors as their works trickle into the mainstream. Golden Jubilee will feature the work of William Bwalya Miko, Mwamba Mulangala, Style Kunda, Geoffrey Phiri, Vincentio Phiri, Rikki Lungu and the late Lutanda Mwamba. While the works of the artists on display have graced both the Johannesburg and Dakar Biennales, exposure in the United States remains a rarity and the exhibition marks a unique opportunity for New York African art enthusiasts to experience this rarely seen work.

What distinguishes these pieces is the myth they explode concerning international conceptions about Africa, and the reality they inform about Zambia in particular. While images of perpetual crisis plaque the international media, presenting a continent steeped in conflict and poverty these pieces are born of another reality entirely. They are born of society that has matured beyond the resistance of a newly post-colonial state, of a people capable of celebrating traditional influences while experimenting with the freedom modern forms and expression allow, of seeing humanity beyond tribe or race. The paintings are an expression of simplicity and community, valorizing the daily joys and struggles of a functioning, evolving and stable people. They are a window into an Africa we too rarely see.

This exhibition is dedicated to His Excellency President Micahel Sata and distinguished artist Lutanda Mwamba who passed this year.

Opening exhibition will be November 8th 2 – 7pm at KuBe, 211 Fishkill Ave Beacon, New York 12508. [email protected] Phone, 212 625 1250

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