2008 the National Museum of African Art acquired Brave New World II,
a mesmerizing video-based work by Theo Eshetu, an artist born in London to parents of Ethiopian and Dutch origin. The installation in this gallery takes its name from this work.
In Brave New World II
Eshetu explores such universal tensions as the relationship between nature and technology and the idea of life as a spectacle. He does so with images that map his personal geography: scenes from a dance performance he filmed at a restaurant in Bali, footage from visits to New York City and Ethiopia, and even a cameo appearance by a box of Kellogg's corn flakes. He collaborated with musician and sound designer Keir Fraser to produce the video's seductive and meditative soundtrack.
Eshetu's use of the sights and sounds of popular culture links his innovative work to photographs, paintings and mixed-media collages in the museum's permanent collection by Chant Avedissian of Egypt, Mohammed Kacimi of Morocco, Mohammed Omer Khalil of Sudan, Aida Muluneh of Ethiopia and Rudzani Nemasetoni of South Africa. Working with such diverse source material as cab rides, body builders and the soulful tunes of Bob Dylan, these artists have given visual expression to a brave new world of traveling people, ideas and images.