Red Africa Explores Africa-Soviet Union Relations During the Cold War

Tito, With Friends in Africa - Tito press service, 1961. Courtesy of Museum of Yugoslav History

Tito, With Friends in Africa – Tito press service, 1961. Courtesy of Museum of Yugoslav History

Cultural ties between the former Soviet Union and Africa go rarely discussed. In a recent years reports of racism and xenophobia have overshadowed positive historic ties between the Soviet Union and African countries. In the 60s and 70s many young Africans from countries like Mozambique and Angola were awarded scholarships to study in what is now, modern day Russia.

Calvert 22, the UK’s only not-for-profit institution dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art from Russia and Eastern Europe, presents Red Africa, a collection of film screenings, talks and events centred around an exhibition called Things Fall Apart, which explores the cultural ties that flourished between African countries and the Soviet Union  during the Cold War.

Kiluanji Kia Henda, Karl Marx, Luanda, 2005. Photography on aluminium Triptych: 130 x 86 cm each. Courtesy of Nomas Foundation, Rome

Kiluanji Kia Henda, Karl Marx, Luanda, 2005. Photography on aluminium Triptych: 130 x 86 cm each. Courtesy of Nomas Foundation, Rome

Over the course of three months from 4 February to 3 April 2016, the season will dive into how historical ties have continued to influence contemporary interactions between present day Russia and countries like Mozambique and Angola.

Drawing on film, photography, propaganda, and public art, the exhibition, named after Chinua Achebe’s classic novel, presents interdisciplinary reflections on African connections to the Soviet Union and related countries.

Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975 (triptych). © Jo Ractliffe. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg

Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975 (triptych). © Jo Ractliffe. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg

Particularly focused on ambitions to influence the development of political structures through film and art; the exhibition features powerful propaganda from as early as 1920 by Russian-American artist Yevgeniy Fiks.

Other participating artists: 
Filipa César; Onejoon Che; Radovan Cukić and Ivan Manojlović (Museum of Yugoslav History); Angela Ferreira; Yevgeniy Fiks; Kiluanji Kia Henda; Isaac Julien; Stevan Labudović and Milica Tomić; Alexander Markov; Tonel; The Travelling Communiqué Group; Jo Ractliffe.

 

Attend the film viewing of the film Teza, directed by Haile Gerima on 2 March 2016. The film follows a young man who recently returned from studying in East-Germany to his home country Ethiopia, watch the trailer below. To book a place, click here.

 

 

For more information visit calvert22.org

4 February – 3 April 2016 | Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 6pm

22 Calvert Avenue, London E2 7JP, 020 7613 2141

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