Visual arts: pick of the week

Africa: the Art of a Continent

The pivotal show of the Africa '95 season and a triumph for the curator Tom Phillips. Forget anthropological readings and simply enjoy this essential crash course in the art of a often-neglected continent. Not to be missed.

Royal Academy, London SW1 (0171-439 7438) to 21 Jan

Art and Power

This beautifully designed, if somewhat over-curated show endeavours to lay bare the cultural arrogance of the totalitarian nations of Europe between 1930 and 1945. Key works by the "official" artists of Germany, Russia and Italy, alongside some of the works officially labelled subversive.

Hayward Gallery, London SE1 (0171-261 0127) to 21 Jan

The British Art Show IV

It's five years since the last British Art Show aroused critical bile with the work of Julian Opie and Rachel Whiteread. This time around, those in a similar position include Damien Hirst and Mark Wallinger. A chance to catch up with trends and find out how fast the avant-garde can become the establishment.

Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (0161-275 7450) to 4 Feb, then touring

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