Wen Chen


World in Common: Contemporary African Photography

World in Common: Contemporary African Photography | A long over-due exhibition at Tate Modern

As an artform, you can always rely on photography to put things in perspective…

Tate Modern is well aware of this, and for one of its upcoming landmark exhibitions starting this summer, World in Common: Contemporary African Photography, Britain’s national modern art gallery will be wading into the Photographers’ Gallery’s territory, zeroing in on the medium, specifically – as you may have already guessed from its title – African photography.

World in Common

Image: Kudzanai Chiurai, We Live in Silence IV, 2017. Courtesy the Artist and Goodman Gallery

Africa is a beautiful place. We all know all that. We’ve seen the stunning landscapes and all the wildlife, but while Africa isn’t exactly camera shy and has been photographed aplenty since the camera was invented back in the 19th century (by Louis Le Prince, in case you were wondering), much of our visual imagery and perspectives of the continent have been shaped largely through western lenses. 

World in Common, however, is seeking to change the narrative. The exhibition (starting from 6th July and running through until 14th January 2024), will showcase photos of Africa by African people; a wide-variety of vivid portraiture and real scenes captured by African photographers in and around cities and environments across the land, plus surreal depictions of ‘dreamlike utopias to bustling cityscapes’ which unpack ideas of spirituality, urbanism and the climate crisis. And alongside the powerful and thought-provoking images on show, the exhibition’s other focus will be to increase visibility for artists based in Africa who haven’t yet had the chance to show their work internationally.

While there isn’t yet a definitive list of whose photos will be displayed – besides Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai – you can expect a remarkable curation of photographers from all parts of the continent, young and old, challenging the current (and often one-sided) interpretation of modern-day Africa.

It should at least give you a different perspective…


NOTE: A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography will be at the Tate Modern from 6th July 2023 – 14th January 2024. Tickets cost £17 and can be booked here.

Tate Modern | Bankside, SE1 9TG

Can’t wait? Then have a look what’s on right now in London’s art galleries

World in Common: Contemporary African Photography

Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG