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Kader Attia: Dispossession

17 June 2017 - 8 October 2017


In this work Kader Attia investigates the Vatican’s holdings of art from Africa, much of which was plundered by Christian missionaries in the context of their evangelization efforts on the continent. The work consists of two slide projections, which depict these objects alongside scenes associated with the colonization of Africa, and a video of interviews the artist conducted with two anthropologists, an art historian, a curator, a priest and a lawyer, who address the ethics of collecting in general and the moral debates around this holding in particular. Attia examines the relationship between European dominance and the dispossession of African cultures, invoking the notion of ‘repair’ to shed light on the debt, both moral and material, that European powers (ranging from nation-states to the Catholic Church) have toward African populations.

This work was acquired through a grant awarded by the Contemporary Art Society’s inaugural Collections Fund at Frieze.

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