AAF screens documentary, White Cube

by Araayo Akande

The African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) has announced the screening of ‘White Cube’, a documentary-style film that shows how Congolese plantation workers successfully used the concept of the ‘white cube’ to buy back their land from international corporations. 

It will show in Lagos on Saturday, April 10 in partnership with Alliance Française de Lagos, at Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. 

From Unilever’s boardrooms to the exhausted plantations in DR Congo, the film tells an unlikely story. From the profits extracted from plantations to funded museums, from the violence of the plantation system to the aesthetics and civility of the white cube, the film highlights a fundamental question: can museums ever hope to be inclusive when no reparations have yet been paid to the plantation workers whose labour finances these very institutions?

Attendance at the physical screening is by registration only, while ‘White Cube’ is available for rent on-demand on Vimeo. 

Directed by Renzo Martens and in Lingala, French and English, ‘White Cube’ premiered in Lusanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, and at the IDFA film festival in Amsterdam in November 2020.

Saturday’s screening will be followed immediately by a panel discussion with artist and director Renzo Martens, art & culture historian Dr Oluwatoyin Sogbesan,  and AAF director Azu Nwagbogu. 

Martens studied political science and art and gained international recognition with the films’ Episode I’ and ‘Episode III: Enjoy Poverty’, televised in more than 23 countries. 

In 2012, he established the Institute for Human Activities and its gentrification program in DR Congo. Together with the plantation workers of Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC), he uses artistic critique to redress economic inequality.

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Sogbesan obtained her master’s degree in architecture from Obafemi Awolowo University, MA in Arts and Heritage Management from London Metropolitan University, and PhD in culture, policy, and management from City University London. Her current research is on documentation and preservation of cultural heritage in Oyo town. She is with Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo presently.

Nwagbogu is the founder/director of AAF and is also the director of LagosPhoto Festival.

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