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Friday, August 07, 2020 

An African exhibition for Angouleme gives a unique perspective for artists from the continent

RFI has an article about an online exhibition sponsored with Angouleme's convention showcasing the comics and cartoons drawn by African artists to show how there's talent on the African continent:
The work of 16 comic artists from seven African nations is showcased in an online-only exhibition, Afropolitan Comics. The French initiative, which germinated in South Africa, aims to show “what Africans can do”, the curators say.

Afropolitan Comics is part of the Africa 2020 project and regroups comic authors from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria.

‘Afropolitan’ is an amalgam of the words 'Africa' and 'cosmopolitan' in a reminder of the modernity and diversity that exists across the African continent.

“We wanted to break away from the clichés and stereotypes about Africans. Also, inform people that comic authors in Africa do not just work on biographies or make fun of politicians,” says Joëlle Epée Mandengue, one of the four curators of the exhibition.

The online event is free to access and will be available, with Africa 2020, until July 2021. [...]

“The comics museum in France is the best partner for this type of exhibition as it is quite unique in this field with a solid reputation both in France and internationally,” explains Selen Daver, the cultural attaché at the French Embassy in South Africa.

Last year’s Art of Comics exhibition in Johannesburg focused on South African comics and graphic novels with a special section on the rich tradition of French comics. It aimed to reveal “common threads that tie France and South Africa together” in heroic fantasy, science fiction, history and other genre.
The art of comics and cartooning, as they note, may not be as big in south Africa as it is in Europe, but with any luck, this exhibition could help give what they do have a good boost, and best of all, it looks to be available for at least a year. What's regrettable, however, is that exhibitions like these rarely seem to figure in the USA. I did find news of an exhibition for south African comics that took place at Harlem's Studio Museum over a dozen years ago, but very few others, as the most notable exhibitions in the US seem to be dedicated far more to topics like Black American superhero history. Point: adventure isn't limited to just superhero fare, and there are other genres vital for history, sci-fi included. If foreign comics aren't as recognizable in the US as outside, the time's come to give them more serious focus. It's just as important history as what comes within the US.

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