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A Companion to Modern African Art

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3837-9
648 pages
December 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Modern African Art (1444338374) cover image

Description

Offering a wealth of perspectives on African modern and Modernist art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, this new Companion features essays by African, European, and North American authors who assess the work of individual artists as well as exploring broader themes such as discoveries of new technologies and globalization.

  • A pioneering continent-based assessment of modern art and modernity across Africa
  • Includes original and previously unpublished fieldwork-based material
  • Features new and complex theoretical arguments about the nature of modernity and Modernism
  • Addresses a widely acknowledged gap in the literature on African Art
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Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

Notes on Contributors xv

Acknowledgments xx

Part I Introduction 1

1 Writing African Modernism into Art History 3
Gitti Salami and Monica Blackmun Visonà

Part II “Africa Has Always Been Modern” 21

2 Local Transformations, Global Inspirations: The Visual Histories and Cultures of Mami Wata Arts in Africa 23
Henry John Drewal

Part III Art in Cosmopolitan Africa: The Nineteenth Century 51

3 Loango Coast Ivories and the Legacies of Afro-Portuguese Arts 53
Nichole N. Bridges

4 Roots and Routes of African Photographic Practices: From Modern to Vernacular Photography in West and Central Africa (1850–1980) 74
Christraud M. Geary

5 At Home in the World: Portrait Photography and Swahili Mercantile Aesthetics 96
Prita Meier

6 African Reimaginations: Presence, Absence, and New Way Architecture 113
Ikem Stanley Okoye

Part IV Modernities and Cross-Cultural Encounters in Arts of the Early Twentieth Century 135

7 “One of the Best Tools for Learning”: Rethinking the Role of ‘Abduh’s Fatwa in Egyptian Art History 137
Dina A. Ramadan

8 Congolese and Belgian Appropriations of the Colonial Era: The Commissioned Work of Tshelantende (Djilatendo) and Its Reception 154
Kathrin Langenohl

9 Warriors in Top Hats: Images of Modernity and Military Power on West African Coasts 174
Monica Blackmun Visonà

Part V Colonialism, Modernism, and Art in Independent Nations 195

10 Algerian Painters as Pioneers of Modernism 197
Mary Vogl

11 Kofi Antubam, 1922–1964: A Modern Ghanaian Artist, Educator, and Writer 218
Atta Kwami

12 Patron and Artist in the Shaping of Zimbabwean Art 237
Elizabeth Morton

13 “Being Modern”: Identity Debates and Makerere’s Art School in the 1960s 255
Sunanda K. Sanyal

14 The école des Arts and Exhibitionary Platforms in Postindependence Senegal 276
Joanna Grabski

15 From Iconoclasm to Heritage: The Osogbo Art Movement and the Dynamics of Modernism in Nigeria 294
Peter Probst

16 Modernism and Modernity in African Art 311
John Picton

17 A Century of Painting in the Congo: Image, Memory, Experience, and Knowledge 330
Bogumil Jewsiewicki

Part VI Perspectives on Arts of the African Diaspora 347

18 Visual Expressivity in the Art of the Black Diaspora: Conjunctures and Disjunctures 349
dele jegede

Part VII Syntheses in Art of the Late Twentieth Century 369

19 Art and Social Dynamics in C.te d’Ivoire: The Position of Vohou-Vohou 371
Yacouba Konaté

20 Contemporary Contradictions: Bronzecasting in the Edo Kingdom of Benin 389
Barbara Winston Blackmun

21 Puppets as Witnesses and Perpetrators in Ubu and the Truth Commission 408
Peter Ukpokodu

22 Moroccan Art Museums and Memories of Modernity 426
Katarzyna Pieprzak

Part VIII Primitivism as Erasure 445

23 The Enduring Power of Primitivism: Showcasing “the Other” in Twenty-First-Century France 447
Sally Price

Part IX Local Expression and Global Modernity: African Art of the Twenty-First Century 467

24 Zwelethu Mthethwa’s “Postdocumentary” Portraiture: Views from South Africa and Abroad 469
Pamela Allara

25 Creative Diffusion: African Intersections in the Biennale Network 489
Kinsey Katchka

26 Lacuna: Uganda in a Globalizing Cultural Field 507
Sidney Littlefield Kasfir

27 Painted Visions under Rebel Domination: A Cultural Center and Political Imagination in Northern C.te d’Ivoire 528
Till Förster

28 Postindependence Architecture through North Korean Modes: Namibian Commissions of the Mansudae Overseas Project 548
Meghan L. E. Kirkwood

29 Concrete Aspirations: Modern Art at the Roundabout in Ugep 572
Gitti Salami

Index 593

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Author Information

Monica Blackmun Visonà is Associate Professor in the School of Art and Visual Studies of the University of Kentucky, USA, where she teaches courses on African art and architecture, and art historical methods. The principle author of A History of Art in Africa (2000, 2008), she has also published Constructing African Art Histories for the Lagoons of Côte d’Ivoire (2010), and contributed articles to Art Bulletin and African Arts. She is currently researching the artists of the western Akan peoples for a museum exhibition.

Gitti Salami is Associate Professor of World Art History at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, USA. In a decade of extensive field research in south-eastern Nigeria she has published numerous articles on Yakurr culture in African Arts and Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. She has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellowship and a grant from the West African Research Association (WARA), and has held resident fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of East Anglia, UK. A forthcoming monograph examines contemporary Yakurr art genres from a postcolonial theoretical standpoint.

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Reviews

“Breaking free from Eurocentric discourse on modernism, A Companion to Modern African Art shifts the focus to the African continent, prioritizing the local over the global.  Highly recommended.”- Janet Stanley, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Libraries

This marvelous mélange proves that modern African art cannot be constrained  by canons, and least of all Eurocentric ones. Instead, local codes and modes of creativity are matched by cosmopolitanisms to produce vibrantly African modernities now, as they long have.” - A. F. and M. N. Roberts, University of California, Los Angeles

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