SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

African Fever: Performing ‘Africa’ in Europe

21st January – 27th March 2010

In 2008, a number of African-themed circuses were touring Europe. African Fever; performing ‘Africa’ in Europe is a collection of photographs from one of those tours, taken by photographer Jessica Kendall.

Ms. Kendall spent three months with an African-themed circus tour that took her through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy - first as a PhD researcher, and then as an employee of the circus itself. During that time, she captured thousands of photos of the artists, who came from six different African countries. Ms. Kendall became intrigued by the differences between the ‘Africanized’ aesthetics of the show, and the life of the performers off-stage.

African Fever; performing ‘Africa’ in Europe is a response to those differences. In the exhibition, images of the circus’s spectacle are displayed side-by-side against ones taken outside of performance, and accompanying each image are simple pieces of text that give a different perspective into the world of the photograph’s subjects. Viewers of the exhibition are invited to ponder how we, as spectators, evaluate visual information in such a context.

Jessica Kendall was born in Baltimore in 1977. She spent many years as a performer, and is currently a PhD candidate in the Anthropology and Sociology department at SOAS, University of London. Behind the lens, Ms. Kendall is most fascinated by the moment-to-moment interplay of movement, emotion, and surprise.

Camden Council
Exhibition funded by The Fürer Haimendorf Fund for Anthropological Field Research and sponsored by Camden Council

Open: Tuesday – Saturday 10.30 – 17.00
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Admission: Free