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Contemporary African Art Essay

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Proposed Research Outline:
In the slippery terrain created by globalization and cultural brokering, contemporary art made in Africa (and its diasporas) has enjoyed a steady growth in interest and appreciation by Western audiences during the last few decades (Kasfir, 2007). Several biennials, triennials, and scholarly works attest to that, with much of its impact owed to the figure of Okwui Enwezor. However, seamlessly uniting diverse African artists under the untrained Western gaze for the commercialism of the international art circuit – notwithstanding their different cultural contexts and the medium in which they work – is bound to create problems. Enwezor’s and other authors’ sophisticated publications and curatorial works show both the vitality and issues still to be addressed in this field of study (Ogbechie, 2010).

Coveted by international art markets for both its quality and commercial rewards, African Art (in the singular) appears to refer to a homogeneous ensemble (Enwezor and Okeke-Agulu, 2009). All countries, styles, practices, and languages are, in theory, on the same level. However, schools, movements, socio-economic development, and political (in-)stabilities in its many countries trigger varied artistic responses towards both local and global forces. African cinemas are exemplary of that. They have evolved quite unevenly from their beginnings. Diverse languages, multiple former colonial powers, and troubled socio-political histories forced film scholarship to address them in the plural. This development à deux vitesses between African art and African cinemas spurs a number of questions. Therefore, ‘zooming out’ to show this décalage, I intend to bring African photography and cinemas into a wide theoretical frame...


... middle of paper ...


...ica and its diasporas.



Bibliographical references:

Enwezor, O. and C. Okeke-Agulu (2009) Contemporary African Artists, since 1980, Bologne: Damiani.
Eshun, K. and R. Gray (2011) 'The Militant Image: A Ciné‐Geography', Third Text, 25 (1), p. 1-12.
Gilroy, P. (1993) The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, London: Verso.
Kasfir, S. L. (2007) African Art and the Colonial Encounter: Inventing a Global Commodity, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Ogbechie, S. O. (2010) The Curator as Culture Broker: A Critique of the Curatorial Regime of Okwui Enwezor in the Discourse of Contemporary African Art. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.africancolours.com/african-art-news/550/international/the_curator_as_culture_broker_a_critique_of_the_curatorial_regime_of_okwui_enwezor_in_the_discourse_of_contemporary_african_art.htm [Accessed 24 October 2011].


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Contemporary African Art Essay - Proposed Research Outline: In the slippery terrain created by globalization and cultural brokering, contemporary art made in Africa (and its diasporas) has enjoyed a steady growth in interest and appreciation by Western audiences during the last few decades (Kasfir, 2007). Several biennials, triennials, and scholarly works attest to that, with much of its impact owed to the figure of Okwui Enwezor. However, seamlessly uniting diverse African artists under the untrained Western gaze for the commercialism of the international art circuit – notwithstanding their different cultural contexts and the medium in which they work – is bound to create problems....   [tags: Africa ]
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