Exhibition runs NOW through April 16. Gallery hours: Wed-Sat 11-6. Extended for event evenings and artist talks. Graham Foundation. 4 W. Burton Pl. Chicago.
When many countries in sub-Saharan Africa gained their independence in the 1960s, experimental architecture became one of the key ways in which many young nations expressed their new identities and signaled a departure from their colonial pasts.
The ambitious and distinctive designs of new parliament buildings, stadiums, universities, central banks, and other major public buildings and housing projects mirrored the forward-looking spirit driving their construction and declared the new nation-states’ presence on the global stage. At the same time, while numerous local designers, planners, and builders participated in this period of building, the majority of architects commissioned for these projects came from countries such as Poland, Yugoslavia, Scandinavia, Israel, and even the former colonial powers.
This exhibition explores the complex history and legacy of modernist architecture in sub-Saharan Africa during the 1960s and 1970s. Featuring nearly 80 buildings in commissioned photographs by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster, as well as archival material, Architecture of Independence imparts a new perspective on the intersection of architecture and nation-building in Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia and investigates some of the most compelling yet under-studied examples of 1960s and 1970s architecture worldwide.