Exhibitions of works by artists from Sudan and Benin reflects a step change towards Tate’s more globalised view of modern art.
Meschac Gaba was so bewildered by the lack of opportunities for African artists in Europe that he spent five years constructing his own fictional museum, even adding, for extra authenticity, a shop and a restaurant. This week it takes its place at the heart of the British art establishment when it goes on display as one of Tate Modern's newest acquisitions – the biggest work it has ever bought.
The opening coincides with major retrospectives for the Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, 82, and the Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair, 97. Both could be described as overlooked pioneers, and the shows reflect Tate Modern’s move towards a more globalised view of art. “These are all exhibitions that 20 or 30 years ago were quite impossible,” said the Tate Modern director, Chris Dercon. “At some point it will be absolutely normal and absolutely necessary to have all these kinds of work, all these artists, together in one museum.”