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The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists


Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh  b. 1974, Ethiopia The 99 series 2013 C-prints Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm (34 x 34 in.) Collection of the artist
Aida Muluneh
b. 1974, Ethiopia
The 99 series
2013
C-prints
Each: 86.4 x 86.4 cm
(34 x 34 in.)
Collection of the artist
Photograph courtesy the artist

A combination of new commissions and recently produced works of art come together in this first exhibition to demonstrate the ongoing global relevance of the themes addressed in Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem, The Divine Comedy. This dramatic installation, exhibited in the entrance pavilion and on all three subfloors of the museum, showcases the height of artistic production today. Forty of the best known and emerging artists from 18 African nations and the African diaspora working in media as diverse as video projection, installation, painting, sculpture, textiles, printmaking, photography, and collage explore diverse issues of politics, heritage, history, identity, faith, and form. In so doing, they reveal that one person’s vision of heaven, purgatory, or hell might not match another’s.

On July 18th Mwangi Hutter premiered Burning Desire To Be Touched, a work commissioned by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. This performance art piece by Mwangi Hutter, an artist collective featured in the exhibition The Divine Comedy, examines our profound desire for harmonious relationships.




Major support for The Divine Comedy provided by the Coca-Cola Company. Additional assistance received from the Ford Foundation.
Guest curator: Simon Njami
Co-organizers: National Museum of African Art, Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt