The Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester, and Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Ave., are collaborating to exhibit “Pax Kaffraria” by Meleko Mokgosi from Feb. 3 through May 7.
The exhibit will run from Feb. 3 to March 19 at RoCo and from Feb. 13 through May 7 at MAG.
Mokgosi, a contemporary painter from Botswana who lives in New York City, has received international attention for his mural-sized canvases that explore southern African politics, history, culture and the complexity of the postcolonial experience.
“Pax Kaffraria” represents the artist’s most ambitious project to date. It includes eight chapters that feature chieftains, dictators, clergymen, soldiers, civilians, school children, activists, herdsmen, cattle, dogs and big-game creatures presented in a panoramic, cinematic format.
Seven of the eight chapters will be exhibited in Rochester; six will be on view at MAG and one at RoCo.
“‘Pax Kaffraria’ depicts the history of a fictional African nation and involves themes of globalism and xenophobia,” said Jonathan Binstock, MAG director. “It is an allegory about allegories; it is a story of history’s afterlife, and it has much resonance today.”
Binstock wrote the essay “Meleko Mokgosi’s ‘Pax Kaffraria’: Phantom History, Phantom Nation” for the book “Meleko Mokgosi: ‘Pax Kaffraria.’”
“This is an exciting collaborative effort between RoCo and MAG,” said Bleu Cease, RoCo executive director and curator. “Brought together from both public and private collections, this exhibition will mark the most complete showing of ‘Pax Kaffraria’ to date. I know that Rochester will appreciate these large-scale, arresting works.”
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