Tell Me Your Story in the Kunsthal KAdE

The exhibition Tell Me Your Story, about 100 years of storytelling in African-American art, has been extended until August 30. Thanks to the generous lenders, the exhibition in Amersfoort – currently closed due to measures relating to the corona crisis – will be open for visitors for longer. As soon as circumstances permit, Kunsthal KAdE will reopen this special project to the public again. With the extension of Tell Me Your Story, the planned summer exhibition on engaged artists in New York in the 1980s will be canceled.

Tell Me Your Story opened on February 7 and was already very successful in the first month. Critics appreciated the first overview of African-American art in the Netherlands. Belgian weekly Knack wrote: “If you want to see what art can mean for people’s self-understanding, you should view the powerful works of black artists in Amersfoort, which are still far too unknown to us.” Het Parool said: “Dealing with your history, settling scores and transcending it is the common thread in Tell Me Your Story. (…) For that reason alone, a visit to KAdE in Amersfoort is a must.” De Volkskrant also praises the impressive, large-scale exhibition, which took years to prepare.

Visitors also expressed their appreciation in the guestbook: “All the way from Belgium and it was well worth it! Third visit, new things seen every time. Great exhibition! Would like more black artists in European museums. Beautiful story, full of contradictions.”

Tell Me Your Story tells the story of the African-American population through the past century. The exhibition is chronologically divided into five epochs: Harlem Renaissance (1920s), Post Harlem Renaissance (1920s to 50s), Civil Rights (1960s and 70s), Black Renaissance (1990s) and Bloom Generation (current era). The common denominator of the different artists is the need to express their personal and collective history. This puts them in an important African tradition: storytelling.

The exhibition is curated by guest curator Rob Perrée, who says: “Black American artists have a lot to say and a lot of beauty to share. They would like to be heard. Until now, they have hardly been heard in the Netherlands. This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to make up for that oversight.”

More than 140 loans from 50 artists, mainly from the United States, are shown in Amersfoort. Acclaimed names such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley and Henry Taylor are shown alongside lesser-known artists such as Aaron Douglas, Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Benny Andrews, Faith Ringgold, Todd Gray, Radcliffe Bailey and Devan Shimoyama. Many works are exhibited for the first time in the Netherlands. “Ringgold is certainly one of the highlights of Tell Me Your Story, in which Kunsthal KAdE presents the most important overview of black American art ever on display in the Low Countries,” according to Knack.

Get to know the key figures of African-American art and discover their story as soon as Kunsthal KAdE will open to the public again.

The fall exhibition – which looks at the social and political position of contemporary American artists in the run-up to the November 3 presidential election – is still scheduled to run from 26 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.