African Metropolis: An Imaginary City

MAXXI - National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome

African Metropolis. An Imaginary City is an occasion to reflect on Africa’s cultural scene and on the contemporary metropolis, understood as a concept in continuous mutation. The metropolis is here defined as a place of struggle for a new architecture in which human experience, made up of presences and experiences, determines the fabric of the city. The succession of sounds, materials and images throughout the course of the exhibition refer to the idea of the city as a living organism that obeys the geological principle of stratification. The exhibited works lead us to the streets of a “capital of the world” that, as a whole, doesn’t really belong to anyone: it is a free zone, a xenopólis in which the inhabitant modifies and at the same time is modified by the environment that surrounds them. In an attempt to create a possible city of cities, the exhibition presents itself through a complex structure from which close relationships between different African countries and communities emerge and which aims to make the public lose itself in a truth made of heterogeneity.


Wandering, Belonging, Recognizing, Imagining and Reconstructing are the metropolitan actions distinguishable in the exhibition’s imaginary city, and they represent the incipit for a syncopated narration in which the metropolis is presented as a territory where an enormous variety of habits, religions and languages coexist, in which an imaginary axis determines the sense of discovery inherent in wandering in these places.


Artists include:
Abdoulaye Konaté, Abdulrazaq Awofeso, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Amina Zoubir, Andrew Tshabangu, Antoine Tempé, Bili Bidjocka, Délio Jasse, El Anatsui, Franck Abd-Bakar Fanny, François-Xavier Gbré, Hassan Hajjaj, Hassan Musa, Heba Y. Amin, James Webb, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Lamine Badian Kouyaté (Xuly.Bet), Lavar Munroe, Lucas Gabriel, PEFURA, Meschac Gaba, Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, Nicholas Hlobo, Onyis Martin, Ouattara Watts , Pascale Marthine Tayou, Paul Onditi, Sammy Baloji, Samson Kambalu, Sarah Waiswa, Simon Gush, Youssef Limoud, Joël Andrianomearisoa Godfried Donkor.


Published by the MAXXI Museum, Rome, to accompany the 2018 group exhibition.

Edited by Simon Njami and Elena Motisi.




Design by Corraini Edizioni.