The Art of Revolutionary Ethiopia

The arrest of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia on 12 September 1974 marked the end of almost a thousand years of rule by the Solomonic dynasty, a royal family claiming descent from the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie’s deposition has been described as the culmination of a “creeping coup”, following a decade of protests against the Emperor, often led … Continue reading The Art of Revolutionary Ethiopia

North Korean Murals from Namibia to Syria

Espionart previously explored a string of patriotic sculptures built in Africa by Mansudae Overseas Projects, the international division of the North Korean state-run Mansudae Art Studio. This propaganda-for-hire is part of an alliance between North Korea and several African nations that dates from the 1960s, when the secretive Asian regime provided material assistance in their struggles for independence against European colonial powers. Mansudae’s projects have proved … Continue reading North Korean Murals from Namibia to Syria

Painting the Algerian War of Independence

Twenty-one years after Picasso created his iconic contemporary history painting, Guernica – to memorialise the obliteration of the small Basque town by united Fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War – a similar event in the midst of the Algerian War of Independence inspired two French-born artists to express their outrage at their country’s actions. The little town of Sakiet Sidi Youssef in northern Tunisia is situated just a … Continue reading Painting the Algerian War of Independence

The African Renaissance Monument, Built by North Korea

While visiting the Things Fall Apart exhibition (part of the recent “Red Africa” season) at Calvert 22 in London, I was intrigued by Onejoon Che’s model of the African Renaissance Monument. This was one of a series of models and photographs of African monuments on display by the South Korean artist. Firstly, I was struck by how closely the design for the monument mirrored Soviet statuary and … Continue reading The African Renaissance Monument, Built by North Korea

African Artists in the Soviet Union

Calvert 22 Gallery in London, an institution dedicated to the display of Russian and Eastern European art, recently launched an ambitious project to explore Cold War artistic connections between Africa and the Soviet Union. A team of researchers under the leadership of curator and Royal College of Art lecturer, Dr Mark Nash, are in the process of collecting film and archival material, sourcing interviews and … Continue reading African Artists in the Soviet Union