The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University presents chin(A)frica: an interface, on view through February 18, 2018. Held at the James B. Duke House, where the Institute of Fine Arts is located, the exhibition plays off the building’s historical significance, decorative, and architectural style, and the Institute’s engagement with contemporary art.

chin(A)frica: an interface investigates new parameters in which identity and geopolitics are formulated through recent expansive exchanges between China and African countries over the past decade. The exhibition features works by four artists, two Chinese and two African nationals, who have reflected upon recent cross-continental relations and immigration.

The exhibition features a still from Hu Xiangqian’s video The Sun (2008), a work inspired by the unprecedented presence of African immigrants in the southern Chinese city Guangzhou, where the artist was trained for many years. In it the artist tans himself to darken his skin, a gesture that suggests the blurred distinctions between conceptions of blackness and the Asian other. The work contrasts with another performance in the series, Self Portrait as Mao Zedong (2013), by the Cameroonian artist Samuel Fosso. Fosso transforms himself to enact several iconic portraits of Mao; in which his facial features coupled with a dissonant element such as a red armband reading “Africa” conjure up a Mao who oscillates between an inspiration for liberation movements in the “Global South” and an embodiment of a new, quasi-colonial ambition. Read more