In his article, ‘Africa’s youthful population and the future of the continent’ Taopheek Babayeju writes, “According to the United Nations, the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years. It is estimated that by 2030, young Africans will make up 35% of the world’s youth population and 75% of those under age 35 living in Africa.” With this rapid increase and growth in the African youth population comes various questions. Will African governments create enabling environments for innovation and research? Will they create structures that answer to the demand of this growing population? Will they foster connections that are devoid of hostilities and hatred?
The willingness and zeal to coordinate effort and policies that drive business expansion, creative and scientific research, education, technology, skills and youthful development is obviously lacking in Africa and the youth are seemingly navigating their ways by taking growth into their own hands. They are creating fresh ways of doing business, connecting to the internet to reach the digital world, speaking up, connecting to solar energy for electricity and improving the living conditions of Africans.
Connecting Africa is an exhibition that explore layers of issues, conversations, social banter and observations through works of artists from different parts of Africa. The themes therefore include consumerism, peace-within, inclusion, social commentary, connectivity and relationship as the growing youthful population demands. It is in dialogue with contemporary demand and agitations across the continent where the youth are finally finding their voice.
Our role as a gallery is to position ourself through platforms that shape and initiate conversation on happenings in our immediate, and by extension, distant environment. This is the crucible where this exhibition is formed.
Our aim, through this exhibition, is to instigate an epiphany for the need to chart a new path and direction for the African continent. Hence, the title ‘Connecting Africa’.
Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis
Founder, Alexis Galleries.