CAD presents the U.S. premiere of The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists. Curated by the internationally acclaimed Simon Njami, this monumental exhibition explores the thematic sequences of Dante Alighieri's epic poem through works by more than 40 contemporary artists from 19 African countries as well as the African diaspora.
For centuries, Dante’s literary works and metaphorical language have been a source of inspiration for visual artists, inspiring European masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Eugène Delacroix, William Blake and Auguste Rodin, among many others. Through a variety of media, this exhibition demonstrates how concepts visited in Dante’s poem transcend Western traditions and resonate with diverse contemporary cultures, belief systems and political issues. Overall, the exhibition provides a probing examination of life, death and the continued power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.
The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists is the largest exhibition in the museum’s history. In addition to engaging the museum’s entire exhibition space of nearly 20,000 square feet, installations will also extend to the outdoor courtyard and to nearby satellite locations along Savannah’s Martin Luther King Jr. corridor.
Originally shown at Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main earlier this year, the SCAD Museum of Art’s presentation will include several works not previously exhibited including neon work by Kendell Geers, a photo series by Youssef Nabil, large-scale works on paper by Christine Beatrice Dixie, a sound installation by Frances Goodman incorporating bridal fabrics cascading from the ceiling, a calligraphy garden by Moataz Nasr and a collage by Wangechi Mutu.
Once the exhibition closes at SCAD Museum of Art, it will travel to the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists at the SCAD Museum of Art is organized by Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD executive director of exhibitions.