Monday, February 23, 2009

Beatification of El Anatsui

El Anatsui. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

It is impossible, after the feature on him by New York Times Magazine yesterday, to miss this point: El Anatsui has come to stay in the quirky consciousness of contemporary art and its validating institutions. Despite that it took all of forty years to get here, it has been indeed a journey of epic proportions.

It is not surprising though that some curators, including someone who first showed Anatsui's work only two years ago--almost twenty years after he joined other important contemporary artists at the first Earth Summit at the Arte Amazonas in 1993; after he won the Kansai Telecasting Prize at the Osaka Triennale in 1995; after his appearance at the Gwangju Biennale in 2004; after his major traveling show organized by the Oriel Mostyn Gallery in Wales, and so on--now want to make the amazing claim to bringing him into the circuit of contemporary art, beyond the supposedly peripheral Africana network. Success, didn't they say, has many fathers (and mothers)!

Thankfully though the New York Times article by Alexi Worth makes it clear that Anatsui's rise to the summit did not happen overnight; not by the inclusion of one work at Venice, but through sustained commitment of several curators, critics and scholars who had stayed with his work long before it became "fashionable." A major part of this story, of course, is the support of Anatsui's work by London's October Gallery which has, I believe, done much more than any institution to keep the artist's work in the world's view.

See the New York Times Magazine feature on Anatsui this past Sunday (02/22/2009)

Legislating the Visual Arts (2)

ART/world: Second installment on Legislating the Visual Arts in Nigeria.
Click here:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Weekly Column in NEXT newspaper

It is probably no more a secret that I started writing a weekly column called "ART/world" for the Nigerian newspaper NEXT, published in Lagos. What does this mean for Ọfọdunka? That it has to share my bed with "ART/world". I should endeavor though to post links to the columns here in Ọfọdunka. Why "ART/world"? Precisely because it focuses--for the most part, but not exclusively--on issues of salience to the Nigerian art world and contemporary culture. So there is no chance of "ART/world" making Ọfọdunka obsolete? Yes!

Click here to access this week's "ART/world" installment:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Africa on My Mind" Symposium: 2010


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) will host its third biennial Art History Symposium, Africa on My Mind: Contemporary Art, Home and Abroad, February 26-27, 2010. The goal of this symposium is to encourage representation by a variety of media and cultural and geographical areas in Africa and the African Diaspora. Possible topics could address the role of contemporary African and African Diaspora art in shaping regional, ethnic and individual identity; the gendered responses to the colonization of the body and mind; contributions of technology and international art fairs to shaping identity and careers; questions of interpreting and exhibiting contemporary work; pedagogic theories and methods addressing African and African Diaspora art; the vitality of African traditions in coastal South Carolina and Georgia.

Open to scholars and graduate students. The editors of Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture have agreed to consider papers by symposium participants for publication. The symposium will feature a keynote address by Simon Njami (lecturer, art critic, novelist and essayist).

Jane Rehl, PhD and Andrew Nedd, PhD
Symposium Co-chairs
Department of Art History

Deadline for abstract submission: May 15, 2009
Please submit an abstract (300 words max) and a CV, including complete contact information (address, phone, and email).

Submit to:

Notification of acceptance: September 30, 2009 via email

For additional information: click HERE