Meschac Gaba

born in 1961 in Cotonou, Benin.
He lives and works between Cotonou and Rotterdam

Over the past 20 years, through various bodies of works, Beninese artist Meshac Gaba has attempted to reframe contemporary African artistic identity, asking us to shed our preconceived ideas and re-imagine the African continent with a more valid contemporary image. Meschac Gaba emerged onto the international contemporary art scene in 1999 when he presented the Museum of Contemporary African Art in the exhibition “Mirror’s Edge” at Bilmuseet in Umea, Sweden. It marked the beginning of an expansive conceptual and virtual project based on the subjectivity of museum spaces. Twelve installations constitute his imagined Museum of Contemporary African Art (MCAA), originally created in 1997 and shown individually at other international institutions or events since then. Confronted with one’s cultural centrality, the spectator is asked to reconsider his viewpoint of memory and history. Gaba’s complex and varied artistic practice provides an in-depth examination of cultural appropriation, public space, the role of the western museum, and the changing global economy. His appropriation of tourist imagery –from cinema and souvenirs to magazines and museums– allows the viewer to deconstruct the western iconography and disturb modes of representation in contemporary art.