Video Installation Highlights Cantor Arts Center’s Expanded Gallery for African Art

Yinka Shonibare's Odile and Odette

Through January 9, 2011


William Kentridge's Felix in Exile

January 19 – June 26, 2011

Stanford, California — Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University announces the final works in “Longing for Sea-Change,” a series of videos by contemporary artists living and working in Africa and its diasporas. “Odile and Odette” by Yinka Shonibare MBE is on view through January 9, 2011. William Kentridge's “Felix in Exile” follows through June 26, 2011.

In “Odile and Odette” (14 minutes, 28 seconds), two ballerinas, identically dressed in colorful batik-printed tutus, face each other, and their synchronized movements within a gilded frame create the illusion of a mirrored figure. In this clever twist on Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake, British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE questions stereotypical “African” and “Western” identities in today’s transnational world.

William Kentridge's “Felix in Exile” is an animated nine-minute video based on 40 charcoal drawings, consecutively ordered, which he drew, re-worked, and recaptured first in 35mm photographs and then made into a poetic video. Kentridge created this work in the early 1990s, amidst ongoing public debates that accompanied the first open elections in South Africa. The film tells the story of Felix, a man living in exile in Paris, looking upon the ordeals faced by his alter ego, Nandi, a woman working as a land surveyor in South Africa. This film speaks to the longing for one’s homeland and bears witness to the incidents in the new, democratic South Africa. “Felix in Exile,” a 20-foot projection, will be featured at the Cantor Arts Center from January 19 through June 26, 2011, and can be previewed on YouTube.

The video installation is on continuous view in the Center’s expanded gallery for African art. The series began in 2009 with “Spirit of ’76” (6 minutes, 24 seconds), made in 2007 by South African artist Berni Searle. Then Searle’s “Seeking Refuge” (5 minutes 56 seconds, 2008) was on view for the following six months. “Longing for Sea-Change” is made possible by the Phyllis C. Wattis Program Fund.

In addition to the main gallery for African art and the video space, small-scale devotional arts from the 25th–30th dynasties of ancient Egypt are on view in the Yansouni Family Gallery of Egyptian Art, now located in the alcove at the entrance to the gallery for African art. The display includes a small bronze of the beneficial mother goddess Isis (7th – 4th century BCE) and a painted limestone depiction of the sun and sky god Ra-Horakhty (c. 700 BCE). In fall 2011, an innovative reinstallation of the three spaces will present the arts of Africa with a broad range of media and wide geographic representation, covering several millennia to the present.

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Cantor Arts Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm, Thursday until 8 pm. Admission is free. The Center is located on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Parking is free after 4 pm and all day on weekends. Information: 650-723-4177,

PUBLICITY IMAGES: High-resolution images are available for publicity use. Call 650-724-3600 or email

Odile and Odette
June 16 – January 9, 2011

Yinka Shonibare,
Odile and Odette, (detail), 2005. HD digital video, Edition 6, Lent by James Cohan Gallery

Felix in Exile
January 19 – June 26, 2011

FelixWilliam Kentridge
"Felix in Exile" (detail), 1994
Animated film on laser disc, color, sound. 9 minutes
Lent by William Kentridge Studio

Longing for Sea-Change
The series began with Spirit of ’76 (6 minutes, 24 seconds), a video installation made by South African artist Berni Searle in 2007, on view October , 2009 – January 10, 2010.
The second installment in this series, Seeking Refuge (5 minutes 56 seconds) was made by Searle in 2008 and was on view January 13 – June 6, 2010.