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In pictures: Challenging perceptions of Africa through art

An exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, northern Spain, aims to show how a new generation of Africans are giving the world a fresh perspective on their continent. Making Africa brings together the work of 120 artists and designers.

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Mame, 2014Image copyrightOmar Victor Diop
Image captionSenegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop’s work focuses on the personalities who make up the booming cultural scene in his country. He works with his subjects, like artist Mame-Diarra Niang shown here, to bring out their personalities through the props and the pose.
Alito, The Guy with StyleImage copyrightMario Macilau
Image captionMozambican photographer Mario Macilau aims to capture the hip youth of his country’s capital, Maputo. As well as portraying contemporary fashion the pictures also refer back to the heyday of African studio photography, the exhibition catalogue says.
Idumota Market, Lagos 2081 A.DImage copyrightJeyfous/Oyéjidé
Image captionThe work of tailor Ikire Jones is celebrated in this print imagining Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, more than six decades in the future. The sharply dressed man in the foreground is described in the catalogue as a tailor’s apprentice who wants to make clothes for the citizens of a new Africa.
Caribbean SunImage copyrightAFP
Image captionKenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru creates items out of discarded objects. He has made a series of wearable spectacle sculptures to challenge the way we look at things – as a reference to how Africa can often be perceived in a negative light.
Red Congolese Star (Étoile Rouge Congolaise), 1990Image copyrightBodys Isek Kingelez
Image captionBodys Isek Kingelez sets out to design futuristic buildings that challenge the way a western city looks. This model – Congolese Red Star – also represents his socialist values and the artist says he wants to create a new world with cities “full of peace, justice and freedom”, the exhibition catalogue quotes him as saying.
Hair styleImage copyrightOjeikere Estate
Image captionThe photography of Nigerian JD Okhai Ojeikere highlights the creative ways women wear their hair. He wanted to establish a record of the styles as well as widening their aesthetic appreciation.
he Kingdom of Taali M, 2013Image copyrightPierre-Christophe Gam
Image captionPierre-Christophe Gam designed the website for singer Taali M. He said he wanted to use the site to transport the viewer to an ancient African kingdom using the French singer, who has Congolese, Chadian and Egyptian roots, as a guide.
The End of eating Everything [film still], 2013Image copyrightWangechi Mutu
Image captionKenyan Wangechi Mutu’s short film The End of Eating Everything is a critique of our consumer society. The film shows a Medusa-like figure – played by singer Santigold – eating a swarm of birds. She eventually implodes, giving birth to numerous female heads, the catalogue says.
Nuit de Noël (Happy Club), 1963Image copyrightMalick Sidibe
Image captionMalick Sidibe’s photos taken in Mali in the 1960s captures the spirit of the freedom of the time, which some contemporary artists are trying to recreate. This picture, taken in 1963, shows a young couple relaxed about expressing themselves and the way they feel.
Sunsum, 2015Image copyrightAdjaye Associates
Image captionArchitect David Adjaye was asked to design a new pavilion for the transport hub at Park Station in South Africa’s main city, Johannesburg, The pavilion will combine a modern look with references to the historical look of the station.

The Making Africa exhibition is on at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, until 21 February.

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