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The Divine Comedy Poetry Contest

The exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, opening at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on April 8, 2015, explores Dante’s The Divine Comedy through the work of over 40 African artists.

Curated by the internationally acclaimed writer and art critic Simon Njami, this dramatic multimedia exhibition reveals the ongoing global relevance of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic as part of a shared intellectual heritage. Including original commissions and renowned works of art by more than 40 of the most dynamic contemporary artists from 18 African nations and the diaspora, this visually stunning exhibition will be the first to take advantage of the entire museum space, including the pavilion and staircases.

Celebrated artists like Nicholas Hlobo, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, and Yinka Shonibare MBE explore the themes of heaven, purgatory, and hell with video, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, fiber arts, and mixed-media installation. In so doing, they probe diverse issues of politics, heritage, history, identity, faith, and the continued power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.

Submitting a Work To the Contest

Guidelines: One original and unpublished work of poetry, not to exceed 500 words, inspired by 1 or more of the following works from the exhibition (see pages below). Any format is permitted. All submissions must be primarily in English.

For more information