yinka shonibare MBE in the divine comedy: heaven, purgatory, and hell revisited by contemporary african artists

8 April 2015
Curated by the internationally acclaimed writer and art critic Simon Njami, this dramatic multi-media exhibition reveals the ongoing global relevance of Dante Alighieri's 14th century epic as part of a shared intellectual heritage. Including original commissions and renowned works of art by approximately 40 of the most dynamic contemporary artists from 19 African nations and the diaspora, this visually stunning exhibition will be the first to take advantage of the museum's pavilion and stairwells, as well as galleries on the first and third floors.

Celebrated artists like Kader Attia, Wangechi Mutu, and Yinka Shonibare MBE explore the themes of paradise, purgatory, and hell with video, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, fiber arts, and mixed media installation. In so doing, they probe diverse issues of politics, heritage, history, identity, faith, and the continued power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.

Shonibare's iconic 'How to Blow up Two Heads at Once' is in the section entitled Hell.

The exhibition runs from 8 April to 2 August 2015.

'The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists' at The Smithsonian webpage