Africa at Architecture Biennials: Questioning Difficult Histories of Representation

Corderie 2 – Venice Biennale – photo by Giulio Squillacciotti. Image Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

From the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial to the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, architecture exhibitions are ever-increasing fixtures on cultural calendars around the contemporary world. New editions of architecture exhibitions rest on a foundation propagated by exhibitions of the past – and these historical expositions, to a great degree, have shaped the architectural discourse we have today. But as these exhibitions were born out of a western framework, African historical representations on the biennial and triennial architectural stage have often been reductive, with an assortment of cultures flattened into one, and distinct architectural styles meshed in an incoherent manner.

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