Weisman Art Museum Presents Urban Cadence, Street Photography of Urban Life in Lagos and Johannesburg
A person shirtless wearing a cape, surrounded by buildings
Captain Rugged 8, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, 2013, digital print, 76 cm X 81 cm

Weisman Art Museum (WAM) is pleased to present Urban Cadence, on view from October 6 - December 31, 2023. The opening event for this exhibition on Thurs., Oct. 5 includes an early look at the show, plus a special live performance by the Black Atlantics, led by Afrofusion musician Obi Original, as well as Nigerian fare by WaZoBia and a cash bar. Student tickets to the opening party are free.

Urban Cadence tells the multifaceted stories of two urban environments—Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa—as experienced through the artistic expressions of over sixty photographs and videos by nine award-winning and internationally recognized contemporary African artists. African cities are the fastest growing in the world, and these two cities have experienced this growth in diverse yet fascinating ways: the first as a megacity, the latter as a center of industrial development. The street scenes in this exhibition represent the complex narratives of these urban sites: tales of migration, labor, desperation, success, hope, and imagination among others.

black and white photo of a person next to several cars
Sabelo Mlangeni, Woman and city, 2012, Digital Print

Here, these stories are woven together with the theme of cadence, which speaks to the rhythms of life. Cadence is the gait of the artist or inhabitants of the city as they move through urban spaces. Cadence is a visual rhythm an artist creates when telling the city’s myriad stories. At the same time, it is a musical metaphor that artists draw on to speak about their images or their photographic practice. Whether sobering, humorous, or unexpected, the visuals of Urban Cadence challenge us to explore what it means to be urban in Africa in the early 21st century.

Featured artists: Akinbode Akinbiyi, Akintunde Akinleye, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Jude Anogwih, Jodi Bieber, Donna Kukama, Sabelo Mlangeni, Uche Okpa-Iroha, and Jo Ractliffe.

Urban Cadence is organized for tour by The Gund at Kenyon College. The Gund exhibitions and programs are sponsored, in part, by The Gund Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.

person walking on bridge over congested traffic
Akintunde Akinleye, Each Passing Day, 2006, Digital Print

Exhibition-Related Events

Thursday, October 5, 7 – 10 p.m. (Doors at 6:30)
TICKETS: $20 General Admission ($15/WAM Members, UMN Faculty & Staff) 
FREE for students
Join us for a party to celebrate the opening of WAM’s fall exhibition, Urban Cadence. The evening includes Nigerian food by WaZoBia and a cash bar. Featuring a special live performance by the Black Atlantics, led by Afrofusion musician Obi Original.

ARTIST TALK: Urban Cadence and the Lens on Africa
Wednesday, October 25, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: pay-as-you-wish (including free, if you like)
A conversation on contemporary African photography with Nigerian photojournalist Akintunde Akinleye and Urban Cadence curator Carol Magee. In a world shaped by rapid urbanization, Akinleye’s lens is attuned to the pulse of evolving African cityscapes, capturing the energy, challenges, and transformative forces that accompany urban growth in post-colonial Africa.