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Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art Exhibition

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Creating room for art
tate modern, Meschac Gaba museum of contemporary art
By Meschac Gaba

If asked to describe a gallery, I would normally define it as a building with rooms used to to display artwork. In the case of the Tate Modern's latest exhibition, however, the rooms are part of the art. The Museum of Contemporary African Art is a project developed by Meschac Gaba in 1996. Things started after Gaba took a tour of museums around Europe, and could not find an appropriate place to house his work. He therefore decided to build his own space: a museum consisting of twelve themed rooms. Rather than the rooms merely being a place to display art, the project ensured that the rooms were part of the art.

As each room was finished, it was presented to the public, and visitors were allowed to buy pieces of work in order to fund the next room. Now all twelve have been completed, and can be seen at the Tate Modern until the 22nd September.

The first space is appropriately called The Draft Room, and consist of found, handmade, and altered objects, such as old banknotes and ceramic chicken bones.

The next rooms include the Library, Museum Shop, and Museum Restaurant, and explores the function of such rooms in public attractions. Out of these, the Museum Restaurant is probably the most exciting, as it offers a full series of dinning experiences that can be booked for 35. On the 22nd July, Come on Over invites guests to join London-based artist, Peter Liversidge, for a three-course meal with a menu inspired by the last four generations of his family.

The next day will be followed by A Feast of Friends, which drives home the need to connect with people. Guests will dine on fine African cuisine.

Named after a Mexican game of chance Loteria explores the economy of food. There will be traditional food, music, prizes, and discussion. The final in the series is the Garden of Adonis, which is inspired by Greek cooking, but focuses on the use of locally grown herbs and spices.

Moving beyond the restaurant, you will then enter interactive environments such as the Humanist Space, Marriage Room, Game Room, and Music Room. This will be followed by a more philosophical and abstract study in the Art and Religion Room.

If you like, you can choose have a guided tour of the exhibition. The three you can choose from are the Lipspeaker tour (6th September), Curator tour (9th September), and Sign Language tour (13th September).
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 22nd Sept
Phone: 44 (0)20 7887 8888
Where: Tate Modern
Cost: Free
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