When the Heavens Meet the Earth – the fourth exhibition at the Heong Gallery at Downing College, Cambridge is showcasing a small selection from Robert Devereux’s African art, or Sina Jina, collection.
In 2010, the multimillionaire, formerly a partner in the Virgin empire and Richard Branson’s brother-in-law, sold off two-thirds of his collection of postwar British art and used the £4 million proceeds to set up a charity supporting artists in Africa. The African Arts Trust, as it was named, supports grassroots organisations, which, in turn, support African artists with basic needs such as studios and residencies.
The exhibition specifically seeks to include some lesser-known artists, but there are some established names as well, including El Anatsui, 2013 Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Ibrahim Mahama, who showed in Venice in 2015 and currently has an exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey, London. Another well-known name is the South African photographer Zanele Muholi, whose work with the LGBTQ community places her at continual risk in a censorious and critical society.
Ranging across photography, painting, sculpture and film, the exhibition evidences the wealth of artistic creativity and output from the second largest continent in the world.
Studio International spoke to Devereux at the opening of the exhibition.
• When the Heavens Meet the Earth runs until 21 May at the Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY