Thandiwe Mariu, The Perfect Masterpiece (2023). Courtesy of 193 Gallery, Paris and Venice.

Earlier this year, 193 Gallery—which first opened in Paris in 2018—inaugurated a new space in the Dorsoduro district of Venice. Marking the return of the Venice Biennale, 193 Gallery will host the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, to present the group exhibition “Passengers in Transit,” which is in dialogue with the biennale’s core exhibition, “Stranieri Ovunque–Foreigners Everywhere.” Scheduled as an official collateral event to the so-called “art world Olympics,” the collaboration and support for the exhibition stems from 193 Gallery’s ethos of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exchange, and its ongoing practice of fostering and promoting diversity within the international sphere.

Joana Choumali, Homesick, Series Albahian (2024). Courtesy of 193 Gallery.

“Passengers in Transit” is the result of three curatorial voices—Paula Nascimento, Oyindamola Faithful, and Roger Niyigena Kerera—who, together, will bring together a group of five female artists whose work represents a wide-range of mediums ranging from photography to sculpture. The artists—April Bey, Christa David, Euridice Zaituna Kala, Joana Choumali, and Thandiwe Muriu—are all of Afro-descent, though their work crafts a narrative untethered by geographic borders.

April Bey, It’s Not A Headband You Stupid Bitch, I Can See Hella Shit You Can’t (2023). Courtesy of 193 Gallery.

The show will see many real and perceived boundaries explored and dissected, including those pertaining to identity, gender, memory, and place. Ideas around the representation of Black bodies too, both within contemporary art as well as the world at large, is brought to the fore, inviting reflection and, in turn, speculation on possible futures. From Muriu’s mesmerizing photographic portraits featuring vibrant colors, patterns, and textiles, to Choumali’s mixed-media images that transform vignettes from everyday life into fantastical imaginations, each artists work operates as a site of consideration, wherein perceptions are reevaluated and alternate paths into the future are revealed.

Christa David, There is Always More to Know (2022). Courtesy of 193 Gallery.

The exhibition is also a nod to the late CCA, Lagos founder Bisi Silva, and the organizations innovative program Àsìkò Art School. Established in 2010, the school was created with a mission to fill in gaps within the educational system by way of workshops, residencies, and classes. Echoing this approach, “Passengers in Transit” will be accompanied by a curated library and talks program, exemplifying the hybrid format.

Euridice Zaituna Kala, Sans titre III (Personal Archives: An Exercise on Emotional Archaeologies) (2024). Courtesy of 193 Gallery.

Through the dual efforts of 193 Gallery and CCA, Lagos, “Passengers in Transit” will be an unmissable exhibition on the Venice Biennale calendar and promises to create a lasting impact on the discourse around and understanding of representation and diversity far beyond the presentation itself.

Passengers in Transit” is on view at 193 Gallery, Venice, April 20–November 24, 2024.

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