The Chinese Takeover Of Kenya’s Art Pavilion
In May, the Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) will return for the 56th time. This year the exhibition is headed up by the Biennale’s first African director, Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, and will see the participation of over 21 African artists in the main exhibit at the Central Pavilion (out of a total of 136). What might have been a cause for celebration on the continent, though, has been marred for some by controversy at Kenya’s national pavilion. For the second Biennale in a row, the Kenyan Pavilion has been commissioned and curated by a pair of Italians named Paola Poponi and Sandro Orlandi Stagl. As in 2013, the roster of the artists selected to participate in the Kenyan pavilion is largely Chinese. Back in 2013 two out of twelve participating artists were Kenyan-born; and this year Yvonne Apiyo Braendle-Amolo is the only Kenyan on the list of seven artists, which includes six Chinese artists, as well as the controversial Italian hotelier Armando Tanzini.
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