Thursday, May 27, 2021


African Artists from 1882 to Now (Pre-order)

Phaidon Editors with introduction by Chika Okeke-Agulu and glossary by Joseph L Underwood

Price: USD$69.95


A groundbreaking A-Z appraisal of the work of over 300 modern and contemporary artists born or based in Africa

In recent years Africa’s booming art scene has gained substantial global attention, with a growing number of international exhibitions and a stronger-than-ever presence on the art market worldwide. Here, for the first time, is the most substantial survey to date of modern and contemporary African-born or Africa-based artists. Working with a panel of experts, this volume builds on the success of Phaidon’s bestselling Great Women Artists in re-writing a more inclusive and diverse version of art history.


Format: Hardback

Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)

Pages: 352 pp

Illustrations: 315 illustrations

ISBN: 9781838662431

About the author

Conceived and edited by Phaidon editors.

Chika Okeke-Agulu is Professor of African and African Diaspora Art at Princeton University. He is the author of several books including Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (2015), and is a co-editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Flashback: My Conversation with El Anatsui at Princeton, April 22, 2015

How time flies! It is already more than six years ago that my friend and teacher El Anatsui was in Princeton as the Sarah Lee Elson, Class of 1984, International Artist-in-Residence. The highlight was, of course, the acquisition of his work, Another Place (2014) by the Princeton University Art Museum.

El Anatsui, Another Place, 2014

 And then there was our public conversation on campus, April 22, 2015, which I cherish, as I have several others we have done over the years.

PRI's "The World" feature on the Return of Benin Bronzes by Germany


Last week, "The World", the radio program on PRI, published a podcast in response to the news from Germany to the effect that the German government plans to return the Benin Bronzes in its state museums. The story was anchored around an interview with me by the reporter Sarah Birnbaum. Listen to the 5-minute feature here:

Cambridge Union Debate: "Should Museums Return their Colonial Artefacts"?

 On May 17, the Cambridge Union, reputedly the world's oldest debating club, at Cambridge University hosted one of its debate panels, this time on the question: "Should Museums Return their Colonial Artefacts"? The four invited debate participants were: Dr. Monica Hanna who is acting Dean of the College of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Aswan, Egypt; Dan Hicks, archaeologist and anthropologist and Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He is also the author of the hard-hitting book, The Brutish Museums (2020); Felwine Sarr, a humanist, philosopher, economist,  and the Anne-Marie Bryan Chair in French and Francophone Studies at Duke University, and is the author of Afrotopia (2019); and me. Cambridge Union Speakers Officer Tara Bhagat moderated. I really liked this panel--among the many that I have been involved in this past year, on the subject of restitution of African artefacts in European and American museums and institutions.

If you are interested in learning news stuff about the issues pertinent to the vexed question of colonial-era looting of African artefacts and cultural heritage, the fate of the captive objects, and the broader meaning and scope of restitution, the full panel can be found here on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Princeton University Community Solidarity with Palestine

Princeton University Community Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
May 18, 2021

We, members of the Princeton University community, condemn the ongoing attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza by the Israeli armed forces, which represent the latest chapter of a nearly-fifteen-year blockade that has transformed the territory into a prison for its two million inhabitants, most of whom descend from refugees expelled and driven from their homes during the Nakba (1947-1949) that accompanied the creation of the state of Israel.

We condemn the displacement of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem—part of a decades long campaign of warfare, expulsion, unequal residency rights, and discriminatory planning policies that advances the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem.

We mourn all loss of life. We also refuse the “two-sides” and “evenhandedness” narrative that ignores and conceals the meaningful differences between Israel—one of the most heavily militarized states in the world that receives $3.8 billion of military aid annually from the U.S.—and a Palestinian population resisting occupation and oppression.

We stand by Human Rights Watch ( and the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem ( in calling Israel’s systemic discrimination and violence by its proper name: Apartheid. The brutal system that controls Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is ideologically founded upon Jewish supremacism, rules over the lives of Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel alike, and is practically committed to territorial theft from Palestinians who continue to resist physical removal and existential erasure.

We salute the bravery and will-to-survival of Palestinians—in the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and within Israel—as they resist the violence of the Israeli military, settler militias, and lynch mobs. We recognize as they do that peace with justice in Palestine/Israel is not possible under conditions of military occupation and unending settler-colonial expansionism.

We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their indigenous liberation struggle against forced dispossession by the Israeli settler colonial state. For decades the ostensible peace process has perpetuated Israel’s land grabs and the violent displacement of Palestinians under the fictions of military necessity and a perpetually postponed “final status” negotiation.

We stand squarely in support of inalienable Palestinian rights that are enshrined in international law. Palestinians have the right to live in freedom. Palestinians have the right to remain in their residences. Palestinians dispossessed by the State of Israel have the right to return home.

We wholeheartedly endorse the Palestine and Praxis open letter and call to action (, affirming our own commitments to speaking out in defense of the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people as well as foundational principles of scholarly integrity and academic freedom.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinians and their Jewish Israeli allies, understanding that their struggle is fundamentally entwined with many other movements for equality, justice and liberation both within the United States and around the world. We join together in rededicating ourselves to working against all forms of racism, colonialism, and injustice at Princeton, in the classroom, on campus, and beyond.

See the full list of signatories here:


Max Weiss, History and Near Eastern Studies

Joshua B. Guild, African American Studies and History

Julia Elyachar, Anthropology and Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Zia Mian, Program on Science and Global Security

Harshini Abbaraju '22, South Asian Progressive Alliance

Abdelhamid Arbab '23, Muslim Students' Association

Benjamin Conisbee Baer, Comparative Literature

Ruha Benjamin, African-American Studies

Eduardo Cadava, English

Vera Candiani, History

Zahid Chaudhary, English

Andrew Cole, English

Mohamed El-Dirany 18’ 19*

Hal Foster, Art & Archaelogy

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Near Eastern Studies

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., African American Studies

Lara Harb, Near Eastern Studies

Satyel Larson, Near Eastern Studies

Mariam Mashaal *21, School of Public and International Affairs

Anne McClintock, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Naomi Murakawa, African American Studies

Rob Nixon, English and Princeton Environmental Institute

John Oakes '83

Chika Okeke-Agulu, African American Studies and Art & Archaelogy

Dan-El Padilla Peralta, Classics

Gyan Prakash, History

Rachel Price, Spanish and Portugese

Benjamin Roberts '22, Princeton Committee on Palestine

Sarah Sakha '18

Irene Small, Art & Archaeology

Alex Smith '13

Tracy K. Smith, Lewis Center for the Arts

Hrishi Somayji GS, Princeton Mutual Aid

Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor, African-American Studies