Beyond Borders: Global Africa joined previous shows around the world to expand the thematic and formalistic narratives of African art in terms of genealogy, identification, transatlantic networks, and influence.

While borders can conjure the calamitous aftermath of the transatlantic itinerary, “beyond borders” in this exhibition was theorized as an invitation to question the geopolitics of aesthetics under late capitalism. In doing so, curator Laura de Becker, the Helmut and Candis Stern Associate Curator of African Art at UMMA, remarked that “to draw a border is to perform a conceptual act that demarcates, defines, and classifies” (2018: 8). Having defined “border,” she went ahead to transcend its sociological and psychological imaginaries through a nuanced reading of previously neglected art historical narratives and arrived at a unique curatorial paradigm.

This paradigm involved the assembling of more than thirty-five works of African artists from the fifteenth century down to the present inside the...

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