The African Studies Gallery has set itself the goal of offering the Israeli public new and diverse ways of looking at the different cultures of Africa and their artistic richness. The gallery functions on the seam between museum and gallery; without a permanent collection, but with in-depth exhibitions, it is the only exhibition space in Israel that displays both traditional and contemporary African art and offers a narrative reading that produces an art history as opposed to an ethnography frozen in time. The gallery is an innovative and unique exhibition space – located in the center of a business office, it places African art within life itself and arouses critical thinking that challenges common assumptions about the African continent, its inhabitants, and their cultural heritage. But it no less poses questions about common Western concepts such as art, modernism, authenticity and even who an artist is. Thus, the gallery serves as a laboratory for examining ideas no less than the works of art themselves. Therefore, collaborations between Israeli and African artists, encouraging mutual learning – whether in academia, student exchanges, or supporting material research – and preserving traditional creative techniques and styles, as well as supporting independent artists or projects providing skills for creative work and livelihood to women of African descent, are an integral part of the gallery’s work. As a non-profit organization the gallery serves as a stage and allows exposure to African artists who have not yet been exhibited in the West. Because it does not have to match its choices to the conventional taste of the Western art market, it brings to the Western audience original African works that reflect styles of artistic expression that are also relevant to Africans themselves. As its name implies, the African Studies Gallery is an educational gallery that appeals to the general public and not just to connoisseurs of art who are practiced at looking at works. Curating is thus perceived as a mediating in order to facilitate acquaintance between different but equal cultures.

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