Contemporary Arts Center Presents Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba Photographs by Renowned South African Photographer

CINCINNATI, OH – The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC)—one of the nation’s oldest and most celebrated contemporary art institutions—is proud to announce a new exhibition opening on July 27 entitled Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba, on view through September 5, 2011.

Guy Tillim, Apartment building, Beira, Mozambique, 2008, Courtesy of Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, the exhibition is an examination of modern history in Africa against the backdrop of its colonial and post-colonial architectural heritage. But the South African photographer Guy Tillim departs from the late-modernist architectural structures that shaped the colonial landscape of conflicts in recent decades. Rather, the transitional spaces he chooses to illuminate testify not only to conflict, decay and violently contested ideologies, but they speak equally to the aspirations for liberation and progress in the post-colonial era.

“This exhibition of Guy Tillim’s moving photographs is a wonderful addition to the Contemporary Arts Center’s summer lineup. In light of current events around the globe, Tillim creates a profound dialogue between subject and viewer—his photographs addressing independence and the complexity of that journey. The show is fresh and offers an important perspective on an area of the world with which some of our audience might not be intimately familiar. Further, with the announcement of next year’s Foto Focus event, this exhibition is one of the many ways the CAC is building on—and contributing to—the exciting conversation around photography happening in this city right now.” says Raphaela Platow, the Contemporary Arts Center’s Alice & Harris Weston Director and Chief Curator.

Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba travels through numerous African countries—including Mozambique, Angola and The Democratic Republic of Congo—where streets, avenues and squares are named after Patrice Lumumba, one of the first elected African leaders of modern times. Lumumba won the Congo election after independence from Belgium in 1960. His speech at the independence celebrations in Léopoldville, in the presence of the Belgian King Baudouin unequivocally signaled his opposition to the West’s idea of neo-colonial order that would replace overt domination with indirect control. He was assassinated in January 1961 by Belgian agents after UN complicity in the secession of the provinces of Katanga and South Kasai, and a Western power-supported military coup led by Mobutu Sese Seko. Today his image as a nationalist visionary necessarily remains untainted by the accusations of abuse of power that became synonymous with later African heads of state.

Guy Tillim was born in Johannesburg in 1962. He started photographing professionally in 1986 and joined Afrapix, a collective of South African photographers with whom he worked closely until 1990. His work as a freelance photographer in South Africa for the local and foreign media included positions with Reuters between 1986 and 1988, and Agence France Presse in 1993 and 1994. Tillim has received many awards for his work including the Prix SCAM (Societe Civile des Auteurs Multimedia) Roger Pic in 2002, the Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award (Japan) in 2003, the 2004 DaimlerChrysler Award for South African photography, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 2005 and the first Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography from the Peabody Museum at Harvard University in 2006. He has exhibited extensively around the globe.

Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba ArtsWave Corporate Partner: Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc.

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago and supported in part by the Lannan Foundation.

The Contemporary Arts Center is located in the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art / 44 East 6th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio / 513.345.8400

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