SOAS University of London

African art at the Brunei Gallery in 2019 - exhibitions from the continent and its diasporas

15 January 2019
Nigerian movie poster

Throughout 2019 the Brunei Gallery at SOAS University of London will be showcasing a series of exhibitions including multi-disciplinary objects and textiles from across Africa which recasts and reinterprets art from African perspectives.

African Gaze’ is both an insightful and exuberant collection of over 150 Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood film posters made by highly skilled artists in Ghana from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s. It is an especially revealing exhibition because it shows how local style and approach can blend together with the iconography of the original imported movies.

In 'Ruhleben 1914 – 1918' identified as British subjects, African diaspora and Arab male civilians who happened to be in Germany at the outbreak of the First World War, are highlighted in an exhibition depicting their experiences of being rounded up and interned at a makeshift camp in Ruhleben, 10 kilometres outside Berlin.

Showing at the same time is contemporary artist Hassan Musa’s playful transformation of images from different visual cultures by using calligraphy, stitchery, collage among other techniques. Musa’s Mail/Post and stamp art employs bricolage and humour as the labourers of satire to critique western art, politics and pop culture.

50 Lecons Negociateurs

Hassan Musa - The Good Negotiators 

In the latter half of the year, the Brunei Gallery will be opening ‘Stolen Moments–Namibian Music History Untold’. The exhibition will chronicle the intimate stories, songs and experiences of the people who shaped Namibian popular culture under apartheid rule during the 1950-1980s. This exhibition will be presented in partnership with the SOAS Music Department.

This will be followed by ‘African Textiles’ showing a selection drawn from a 4,000-piece collection of embroideries, veils, haiks and raffia fabric from the renowned collection of Karun Thakar. This vivid exhibition will take on an historical perspective that deepens our understanding of the importance of woven materials in the traditions of specific African countries.

It seems especially suitable that SOAS is providing the venue for these five exhibitions here at the Brunei Gallery due to the School's long relationship with the study of Africa's arts and visualities as well as of its languages and cultures of Africa, which have been at the heart of the School since its earliest days.


11 Jan - 23 March
African Gaze: Hollywood; Bollywood and Nollywood film posters from Ghana 
Ruhleben 1914 - 1918: A Photographic exhibition of African and Arab civilians interned in Germany

24 January – 23 March
Hassan Musa -The Artist’s Stamps: From the SOAS Archives & Special Collections

11 July - 21 September
Stolen moments – Namibian Music History Untold in association with The SOAS Music Department

10 October – 14 December
African Textiles presented by Hali Publications and Karun Thakar