The interplay of word, image and space creates visual poetry in these contemporary installations. The works employ text and graphic symbols to tell stories about memory, identity and the power of language. In doing so, they bring African visual histories into the global debate on conceptualism, which often melds word and image. In diverse ways, they celebrate the marriage of aesthetic form and literal meaning, play with the ambiguity of text and help us to consider the active role of the viewer in the "translation" process of "reading" visual images.
The format of installation art demands a dialogue that involves intense, personal and direct relationships among the viewer, the space and the artwork. It provides provocative means to explore and challenge language's graphic and literal powers. The artists featured here draw our attention to the arbitrary, ephemeral, shifting yet potent meanings assigned to the graphics that make up written texts. While many of the "texts" the artists work with are invented or fragmented, all of these artworks assume, through a remarkably varied array of materials, mesmerizing forms that turn complex stories into visual poetry.