AGENCY, the Art, Life and Society international arts organisation based in Yorkshire, is hosting a video art festival from tomorrow until April 10.
Contemporary video art works from Africa will be shown in art spaces, market stalls, church halls, community centres, libraries and even a beach hut, including the Space 109 community arts centre, in Walmgate, York, on Wednesday from 7.30pm to 9pm. Admission is free.
Artists taking part in the VAF 1: From Africa festival are George Fikry, from Egypt; IngridMwangiRobertHutter, a Kenyan/German collaboration; Guy Wouete, from Cameroon/Netherlands; Lucy Azubuike, Emeka Ogboh and Jelili Atiku, all from Nigeria; Abdoulaye Armin Kane, from Senegal; Michele Magema, from Congo/France; and Minnette Vári, from South Africa.
“Although you may not know the names, there’s a vibrant contemporary art culture in Africa with video art and digital animation firmly established,” says Agency director and York artist Graham Martin, whose organisation has received funding from Arts Council England for VAF 1.
“A number of these artists have shown at major events such as Cairo and Venice Biennales, Dak’t in Senegal and at the IFA Gallery in Berlin. The work is high quality and deals with common issues and concerns that affect and concern of us all, such as consumerism, identity, urban space, development, migration and globalisation.”
The style of the videos ranges from documented performance art, filmed interviews and digital animation to works combining text and image.
“If people ask why we are doing this, we say, ‘Why not? It’s a good thing, making things happen, enabling the sharing of human experience,” says Graham. “We believe in these artists and the works from Africa, whose voice is powerful and creative and speaks to all people of the world.
“Furthermore, many of these works are usually only shown at big international events, and why shouldn’t people in Yorkshire towns and cities have access to them in places where they go?”
The programme of videos runs for approximately an hour with time for “relaxed, informal discussion of works and issues” and can be seen in Scarborough’s Central Library meeting room tomorrow between 1.30pm and 4pm; Halifax Borough Market, Tuesday, 10am to 4pm; Hope Street Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, Tuesday, 7pm to 8.30pm; Oastler Shopping Centre, John Street, Bradford, Thursday, 10am to 4pm; Treehouse Cafe, Great Horton Road, Bradford, 7pm to 8.30pm; and Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, next Friday, 7pm to 8.30pm.
In addition, in a special VAF event from April 7 to 9 in the Pop Up Art Space, in Centenary Square, Bradford, Minnette Vári’s Quake will be shown continuously from 10am to 4pm each day. This South African video can be seen only here.
“Agency – Art, Life and Society is concerned with the social, political and the how and why of living,” says Graham. “It arose out of the critical and creative international success of the Crunchtime2010 artists’ responses to global issues, and you can find more details online at crunchtime2010.org and agencyartlifesociety.com.”