Meschac Gaba is a conceptual artist from Cotonou, Benin who explores themes of globalisation, consumerism and Western museum through acts of artistic appropriation. Born in Benin in 1961, a year after the country gained independence from France, Meschac is part of a generation of contemporary artists making work that considers the challenges of creating a post-colonial identity.
His major work, Museum of Contemporary Art, inaugurate in 1997 is still relevant to African artists today. Over a period of five years, Meschac progressively installed twelve interactive rooms of this nomadic museum at institutions throughout Europe. Meschac says this project is a question that acts as a provocation to the Western art establishment to not only attend to contemporary African art, but to question why the boundaries exist in the first place.
As a recurrent theme in this major project and his works to follow, Meschac overturns codes of national and shared identity, along with their inherent value, by blurring the political, the artistic, and the everyday aspects of life.
He continues to address ideas of value and revaluation, perceptions of African art, the politics of museum display, and roles of both artist and visitor.