Aida Muluneh, Star Shine Moon Glow, Water Life
Now showing

A World In Common


A celebration of contemporary African photography. An exhibition curated by Tate Modern, London in collaboration with Wereldmuseum Rotterdam.

A World in Common is an exhibition curated by Tate Modern, London in collaboration with Wereldmuseum Rotterdam. A World in Common explores the dynamic landscape of photography on the African continent today. 22 artists of different generations and from different regions come together. They explore how photography and film allows them to explore the legacy of the past and imagine a shared future full of possibilities.


The exhibition shows how photography offers a contemporary perspective on cultural heritage, spirituality, urbanization and climate change. Regal portraits of kings and queens merge with intimate scenes of family life and stark documentary images of post-industrial ruins. Family photo albums and stylishly composed studio portraits reflect the shared sense of community and belonging that connects Africa and its global diaspora. While scenes of polluted landscapes address the growing impact of consumption on the climate situation. The exhibition guides viewers through many landscapes, borders and time zones, showing how photography allows the past and future to coexist in powerful and unexpected ways.

Atong Atem, Studio Series, Adut and Bigoa, 2016

A World in Common is curated by Osei Bonsu, British-Ghanian curator of International Art at Tate Modern and a writer.  At Tate Modern, he is responsible for developing the museum's collection and broadening the representation of artists from Africa and the African diaspora. For A World in Common, Bonsu drew on the theories of Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe and invites visitors to imagine "a common world. In the exhibition, leading artists demonstrate through more than 100 works how photography can provide alternative visions of Africa's many histories, cultures and identities. They challenge national, political and cultural boundaries and explore different perspectives from Africa's rich and diverse history. Their work helps us think from and with Africa, reshaping the way we think about world history.

Since the invention of photography in the 19th century, Africa has been largely defined by Western representations of African cultures and traditions. During the colonial period, photography was employed as a means of viewing African societies through a Eurocentric lens. The artists in the exhibition explore photography's past and embrace its potential to give new meaning to the present and shape the future.

George Osodi, HRM Ogiame Atuwatse III, The Olu of Warri, 2022. Courtesy of George Osodi and TAFETA

(Header credits: Aida Muluneh, Star Shine Moon Glow, Water Life 2018. Commisioned by WaterAid)

This is an exhibition by Tate Modern, London; in collaboration with Wereldmuseum Rotterdam