Saturday, August 3, 2019

On Governor Obiano of Anambra State, Nigeria

A good friend of mine, C. Don Adinuba, the commissioner for information and public enlightenment of Anambra State, Nigeria (my home state) sent me this announcement below. I post it on my blog because it is a very unusual statement by a politician in Nigeria, and I fully support it. Why? Because it represents a total rejection of a key feature of Nigeria's indecent political life: the cult of public sycophancy. You have to see how much individuals, corporations, NGOs, state bureaucracies, communities, and sundry institutions are willing to spend; how much decadent extravagance is put on show to celebrate birthdays of politicians who have done little or nothing to improve the lives of the people. Here, for instance, is from the celebration of a neighboring governor's 55th birthday (Guess who paid for this postcolonial bacchanalia?}

Imo State Governor's birthday, 2017. *Note soldiers guarding the cake?

My point is that the statement by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State (which needs to be read by every Nigerian) is like a blast of fresh air, a clarion call for some pull back from the shameful phenomenon of political birthdays in Nigeria. I commend him for taking this initiative, and I dare his peers and other elected officials to follow his lead. I can bet you that the humongous amounts wasted on this idiotic and idolatrous, congratulatory advertisements could help the many ill-funded but impactful hospitals, charities, and social service organizations in the land.
Governor Obiano understands this.

A Plea to Those Wishing to Place Advertisements Congratulating Gov Obiano on his 63rd Birthday
1.      As Governor Willie Maduabrochukwu Obiano of Anambra State will mark (not celebrate) his 63rd birthday on August 8, a lot of individuals and groups, including media organizations, have been approaching him, his family, associates and top officials of the Anambra State administration to place advertisements in the mass media congratulating Chief Obiano on his birthday.
2.      Both Governor Obiano and the Anambra State government appreciate this voluntary show of love and solidarity. We are pleased that an almost countless number of persons, communities and groups not only in Anambra State but throughout the country and even beyond are satisfied with the governor’s performance in the last five years and are willing to contribute significant amounts of money to demonstrate their affection.
3.      Chief Obiano has, however, counselled that these well-wishers had better pray for him and Anambra State. The well-wishers willing to spend various amounts of money to pay for the goodwill wishes in the mass media are advised to channel the various amounts to any charity of their choice. They are encouraged to donate in particular to the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a nongovernment organization founded and headed by the First Lady of Anambra State, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, Osodieme.
4.      CAFI has been involved deeply in a lot of charity, including building houses for widows across the state and provision of artificial limbs to those who need but cannot afford them, as well as in the free treatment of persons with cleft palate and cleft lips at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, and Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.
5.      Money donated by members of the public in connection with the 63rd birthday of Governor Obiano will be used for the treatment of mentally challenged people and in the enhancement of their welfare. Experience and research have shown that though mentally challenged persons are just like other patients, they face acute discrimination in society, including from family members and friends.  Even when they have been treated successfully, they still face discrimination. In other words, they face worse than double jeopardy in our society. One of the consequences is that people do not consult psychologists and psychiatrists when initial signs of sustained emotional instability are observed, leading to a terrible deterioration of their health status.
6.       Governor Obiano is using the occasion of his 63rd anniversary to call public attention to the plight of people with mental illness and requests public-spirited individuals and groups to donate generously to their cause. God loves cheerful givers, as the Holy Writ tells us in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 9 Verses 6 and 7. God commands us to show love to one another because we cannot claim to love him, whom we have never seen, when we do not love fellow human beings whom we see (Ist John Chapter 4 Verse 20). This demonstration of solidarity with the human family has to do start with our relationship with the less privileged members of society.
7.      It is incumbent on all Ndi Anambra and, indeed, all Nigerians to work towards a more humane society. Building a more caring society is a practical way of serving both our God and the human race.

God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
Willie Obiano

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Assistant Professor in Islamic Art at Princeton

The Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University invites applications for a tenure-track position of Assistant Professor in the fields of Islamic art, architecture, or archaeology, with a specialization in any aspect of the discipline focused on a period prior to 1750.

Responsibilities will consist of broad undergraduate teaching in the history of Islamic art and architecture along with supervision of undergraduate theses and independent work, while graduate teaching and Ph.D supervision will be in the area of the candidate's expertise. Applicants will be expected to interact broadly with other departments and programs in the university and beyond.

Apply online at with a cover letter, CV, writing sample, research statement, teaching statement, and the names and contact information of three referees from whom letters of recommendation may be requested. PhD is expected by the start date. We seek to appoint a candidate who will contribute, through research, teaching, and service, to the excellence and diversity of our academic community. This position is subject to the University's background check policy. Application deadline is September 16, 2019 (when initial discussion of the candidates will take place) or until the position is filled.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Assistant Professor of African/a Studies: Pomona College

The Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies at the ClaremontColleges invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in African/a Studies.  We seek a scholar who will contribute to the department’s mission of examining, through various academic disciplines, the experiences of people of African heritage worldwide.  The successful candidate should demonstrate a strong commitment to undergraduate liberal arts teaching and show evidence of a productive program of scholarly research.  The candidate is expected to work collaboratively in an intercollegiate setting.  The teaching load for this position is 4 courses annually and will include courses in the candidate’s area of specialty, plus Africana Studies core courses in the major.  These are: Introduction to Africana Studies, Research Methods in Africana Studies, and/or Senior Seminar.  Candidates who specialize in anthropology, art history, African literature, media studies, or music are especially encouraged to apply.  The applicant is required to have a Ph.D. by Fall 2020.  The successful candidate will have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving higher education for underrepresented students. Send a dossier, including letter of application; curriculum vitae; transcripts; three brief statements – one addressing teaching philosophy, one addressing scholarship, and one addressing demonstrated ability to mentor a diverse student body; and three letters of recommendation. These
documents should be uploaded to  The contractual college for this position is Pomona College. Review of applications will begin on October 1, 2019.

Monday, July 1, 2019

David Koloane

David Koloane (1938-2019), Rest in Peace.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

International critic Chika Okeke-Agulu leads TSA Foundation’s art writing masterclass--The GUARDIAN

THE GUARDIAN, Lagos, June 25, 2019
Image result for TSA Art Writing Workshop
Following the successful debut of the TSA Art Writing Master Class in 2018, TSA African Culture Foundation is organising the second edition of the program taking place on August 26 – 30, 2019. Dr. Chika Okeke-Agulu, international art critic and professor of art history at Princeton University, is leading the program. 
The Master Class is a one-week program for art writers, culture journalists, curators and other art professionals who wish to improve their analytical and writing skills on contemporary art. The aim of the platform is to facilitate exchange between leading voices in the arts and early to mid-career art professionals. Professor Okeke-Agulu comments that he “firmly believes that this unique program helps to produce a new generation of confident, compelling, and conscientious art writers.” 
At the second edition, participants are exposed to different approaches to art criticism and analyses through interactive lectures, exercises, and visits to art centers in the Lagos metropolis. Delicate issues will be discussed extensively, such as plagiarism, the power dynamics between artists, critics, and curators, and maintaining fundamental values in criticism in an increasingly commercial art world. The course ends in a writing project of which the results are considered for publishing. 
TSA Art Writing Master Class II is generously supported by Hydrocarbon Advisors Ltd., Angels and Muse, and the Guardian Nigeria newspaper. Through the ‘Friends of TSA African Culture Foundation’, outstanding applicants may be awarded grants to cover the workshop tuition. Female applicants and individuals from outside of Lagos, and indeed outside of Nigeria, are encouraged to apply.
For further details about the program, requirements for participating, and on how to apply, visit the TSA Art Magazine site.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Call for Applications: 
TSA Art Writing Master Class II
Application Opens: June 13, 2019
Application Deadline: July 7, 2019
Master Class Dates: August 26 – 30, 2019
Participation Fee Deadline: August 20, 2019

Following the successful debut of the TSA Art Writing Master Class in 2018, TSA African Culture Foundation is pleased to announce the second edition of the program which will take place on August 26 – 30, 2019. The facilitator is Chika Okeke-Agulu, award-winning art critic and professor of art history at Princeton University.
The TSA Art Writing Master Class is an intensive one-week program for art writers, culture journalists, curators and other art professionals from African countries who wish to improve their analytical skills and writing on modern and contemporary art. It is an uncommon platform facilitating exchange between leading voices in the arts and early to mid-career art professionals.
Leading the program for the second time, Professor Okeke-Agulu comments that “Following the very successful inaugural session last year, I very much look forward to returning for the second Art Writing Master Class. I firmly believe that this unique and intensive program will help produce a new generation of confident, compelling, and conscientious art writers for Nigeria, West Africa, and beyond.”
At the second edition, participants will be exposed to the different approaches of art criticism, art history and complexities, and how to write coherent analytical essays through interactive lectures, hands-on exercises, and visits to art exhibitions in the Lagos metropolis. They will be taught how to study art in isolation and within the broader debates of society. Delicate issues such as plagiarism, the power dynamics between artist, critic, and curator, and maintaining the fundamental ethos of criticism in an increasingly commercial art world will be extensively discussed.
The Master Class further offers opportunities for networking and access to critical resources that will enhance the participants’ careers. Like the preceding year, it promises to be productive, creative and intense. It will culminate in a writing project that will be considered for publishing in notable print and online publications.
TSA Art Writing Master Class II is generously supported by Hydrocarbon Advisors and Angels and Muse. Our media partner is The Guardian Nigeria, an award-winning and trusted newspaper in Africa. Through the friends of TSA African Culture Foundation, a limited number of outstanding applicants will be awarded grants to cover the workshop tuition. Particularly, female applicants and individuals from cities outside Lagos are encouraged to apply for this competitive grant. If you would like to benefit from this endowment, please include such request in your letter of motivation to be considered. Details of the grant donors are available to applicants and to the general public at the beginning of the program.

Who can apply?
Art writers, culture journalists, practising curators and curatorial scholars, interested final year undergraduates as well as fresh graduates and art & culture bloggers. Previous participants are encouraged to apply.

Benefits to participants:
–    Improving their understanding of art and visual literacy.
–    Developing simple, precise and coherent language for art analysis.
–    Learning how to develop content, argument, and a compelling voice in art criticism.
–    The opportunity of a one-on-one with the lead facilitator to discuss their individual challenges in the field of art and possible solutions.
–    The opportunity to write for art publications and earn income as a writer.
–    The opportunity for networking and connecting with other professionals in the field.

Application requirements:
–    A portfolio of published writings in print and/or online publications is compulsory for art writers and journalists.
–    Final year undergraduates, fresh graduates and curatorial scholars are required to submit sample writings only.
–    All applicants must fit into the categories of “who can apply” and be able to prove this.
–    All applicants must be resident in Africa.
–    All applicants must have a post-secondary school qualification.
–    All applicants must be proficient in both written and spoken English as classes will be taught in English language only.

Applicants must submit ALL of the following documents in a single PDF file:
–    Filled application form. (Download the form here)
–    A CV of the applicant (not more than 2 pages).
–    All applicants must fit into the categories of “who can apply” and be able to prove this.
–    Two samples of published (and unpublished) writings about art or a similar field (i.e. photography, dance, performance, video art, etc.). The sample writing could be an opinion piece, a review, a short essay or a blog post not exceeding 1500 words.
–    A motivation letter explaining why you want to attend the Master Class. 500 words maximum.
Please send all application materials as an attachment in one properly formatted pdf packet to by June 30, 2019. Participants will be selected by a panel of independent art professionals who are not members of TSA African Culture Foundation and TSA Art Magazine. 

Participation Fee:
Only selected applicants will be notified and required to pay a participation fee of N35,000. Deadline for payment is August 20, 2019.
Please note, participants will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation and boarding arrangements during the Master Class in Lagos. Assistance in the form of information and advice will be provided to participants from outside Nigeria.

Key Persons

Master Class Program Director – Bukola Oyebode
Bukola Oyebode is an art writer, editor and publisher. She is the founder and managing editor of the visual arts magazine The Sole Adventurer (TSA). As a writer, she has made contributions to online and print magazines. She also contributes to exhibition publications and has covered biennales including Dak’Art (Senegal), Venice Biennale (Italy) and Jogja Biennale XIII (Indonesia). In 2017, she was guest editor of Intense Art Magazine special publication on women artists in Nigeria.
Oyebode is a graduate of English from Lagos State University, Nigeria. She organises social and cultural programs through TSA African Culture Foundation.

Master Class Lead Facilitator – Chika Okeke-Agulu (MFA, Ph.D.)
Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu is an artist, curator, critic and art historian. He is Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, and specializes in classical, modern, and contemporary African and African Diaspora art history and theory. He previously taught at The Pennsylvania State University, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. He began his career in Lagos as an art critic for the newspapers African ConcordDaily Times and Guardian.
He is the author of Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text (Skira Editore, 2016); Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (Duke, 2015); and (with Okwui Enwezor), Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (Damiani, 2010). He is co-editor of Ezumeezu: Essays on Contemporary Art and Architecture, a festschrift in Honour of Demas Nwoko (Goldline & Jacobs, 2012); and Who Knows Tomorrow (König, 2010). His latest curatorial project, the traveling exhibition, El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale (co-organized with Okwui Enwezor) opened at Haus der Kunst, Munich in March.
His writings have appeared in African Arts, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Internationalism, Artforum International, New York Times, Packett, Art Journal, South Atlantic Quarterly and October. He is co-editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and maintains the blog Ọfọdunka.
He is on the Transnational Advisory Board, Hyundai Tate Research Center, Tate Modern, London; Advisory Board, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and on the Selection Committee, Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art. His many awards include Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism (2016), and Melville J. Herskovits Prize for the Most Important Scholarly Work in African Studies (2016).

Key Partners

Hydrocarbon Advisors
Led by respected Lagos art patron Hakeem Adedeji, Hydrocarbon Advisors Limited is an investment banking advisory firm established in 2015 uniquely focused on providing strategic financial guidance.

Angels and Muse
Angels and Muse is a creative hub for nurturing and empowering artistic talent. Founded by influential artist Victor Ehikhamenor, the space offers itself as a support system for expression, productivity and education for the best creative heads and minds in Nigeria and around the world. Already, Angels and Muse boasts of harbouring exceptional creative talent, with the construction of the physical space designed by Tosin Oshinowo, architect and designer of the Maryland Mall in Lagos and the renowned sculptor, Olu Amoda, who made the hub’s state-of-the-art door.

The Guardian Nigeria 
The Guardian (Nigeria), an award-winning and trusted newspaper in Africa. It is an independent newspaper, established in 1983 for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of Nigeria. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest groups. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria, and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Africa. Led by Toke Alex Ibru, The Guardian (Nigeria) is one of the few local newspapers still dedicated to reporting the arts in Africa.

The Sole Adventurer (TSA)
The Sole Adventurer is a media and cultural projects initiative operating as TSA Art Media and TSA African Culture Foundation. The media platform publishes about contemporary visual arts from Africa on and in special print publications. Originally focused on Nigeria, the editorial interests now include other African countries, their linked diaspora locations and where the news is exciting and relevant to our growing audience. reaches art enthusiasts and professionals in different cities in Africa, Europe and the US.

As a cultural foundation, TSA organises projects at the intersection of culture, education and society. Our initiatives include Art Forum Africa and TSA Art Writing Master Class.
TSA has enjoyed the support and partnership of The Netherlands Embassy in Lagos, the French Cultural Network in Nigeria, Ford Foundation, Women and Youth Art Foundation, and most recently the Goethe Institute in Nigeria.