Saturday, March 28, 2009

ART/world: On the Elusive National Gallery of Art

ART/world this week contemplates the lingering elusiveness of a purpose-built national gallery or museum of art in Nigeria. Part two, which reflects on recent efforts to revive the debate on the need for such a building, will follow next week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Memoriam, Afi Ekong

Afi Ekong at Gallery Labac, Lagos, early 60s (Photo: Courtesy Nigeria Magazine)

The pioneer Nigerian woman artist and entrepreneur Afi Ekong died this past February at 78. Click here for my ART/World tribute to Ekong.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Darfur Crisis: Pass the Blame

So the "international" community muscled an indictment of Sudanese President Al Bashir through the International Criminal Court. He in turn "defies" the indictment by rallying national sentiment against the "disrespect" of Sudanese national autonomy and, as anyone who knows that regime should have known, he has proceeded to eject foreign/western aid agencies providing what meager help they could to the devastated populations in Darfur. And the result? Western diplomats sanctimoniously blaming Al Bashir for the deteriorating conditions in the Darfur region; a President strutting round the country whipping up more nationalist passion against the "imperialists"; and more avoidable deaths and impoverishment of a people.

Yes, Al Bashir and his soldiers (and Janjaweeds) must bear the primary blame for thousands of children and innocent people dying daily in Darfur. But the governments that brought this indictment of a sitting head of state are also culpable. Why? Because they must have anticipated Al Bashir's response and should have considered whether merely indicting him, when he has near complete control of the state's coercive powers, was in the best interest of the citizens of the Sudan, particularly the Darfur people. The question the "international" community must answer is: What if Al Bashir, to show the extent of his power, sends his soldiers to an even more withering, senseless, military campaign in Darfur? Are the supporters of this indictment willing to wage a counter offensive Bosnia-style, since they cannot really negotiate with an indicted war criminal? That is the question. And that is why they should have listened to the African Union on this matter. It just makes no sense to indict a sitting head of state, if you do not have the will, power or resources to remove him from that seat immediately before he constitutes an even messier nuisance.
Al Bashir no doubt has little care for the Darfur people, but I suppose that his western antagonists did not seriously consider the fate of the Darfur people in all of this. And that is really sad.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

African Artists at the Armory Show

Ghada Amer, Leila 2008, at Kukje Gallery (The Armory Show)
Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Claudette Schreuders sculpture at Jack Shainman (The Armory Show)
Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Click here for this Week's ART/world, which is on African artists at the just concluded Armory Show, New York.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Curatorial Fellowship at Williams College

This is a wonderful curatorial fellowship. Although the deadline is in two days, there might be some flexibility. I might add that the WCMA is such an amazing institution, directed by Lisa Corrin who, I daresay is one of the most dynamic museum personalities I have come across anywhere. I wish I could apply for this!
Mellon Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Arts
Williams College Museum of Art

One of the finest college art museums in the country, the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) houses 13,000 works that span the history of art. Within the broad range of time periods and cultures represented, the collection emphasizes modern and contemporary art, American art from the late 18th century to present, and the art of world cultures.

Available September 2009, the Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Arts is a full-time, three-year term position offering curatorial experience at the Williams College Museum Art. The fellowship is designed to provide a professional bridge to museum careers and encourage diversity within the museum field. The Fellowship provides growth and development for outstanding candidates, particularly those from under represented groups.

The Fellow’s primary responsibilities will be to undertake research and planning for exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection in collaboration with Williams faculty; to develop associated publications; and to support the curricular use of the museum’s collection in its special object study classroom. This in-depth learning experience will ensure that the Fellow receives mentorship from all museum staff, especially the director, curators, and educators.

The Fellow will have the opportunity to contribute his or her expertise in strategic planning for the museum’s collection with the prospect of diversifying acquisitions, exhibitions, and programs to reflect the curriculum and the changing student body. The Museum is dedicated to providing a robust experience for an emerging curatorial professional.

Qualified applicants should have a master’s degree in art history, cultural or global studies, curatorial studies, or related fields. Excellent verbal and written communication skills required. Prior museum experience is a plus. For optimal consideration, please submit resume and cover letter by March 15, 2009. Please apply to Job #300562-P.

Please send a cover letter and resume including Job # to:

Office of Human Resources, Williams College
100 Spring Street, Suite 201, Williamstown, MA 01267
Phone: (413) 597-3129, e-mail:
Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn and thrive.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ART/world this week

Click here for this week's installment of ART/world, which deals with the question of repatriation of cultural property.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ARCO-Madrid 2009

Panelists from left, Raimi Gbadamosi, Bassam El Baroni, Marilyn Douala-Bell, Claudia Cristovao, Khwezi Gule. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Center: Gabi Ngcobo and Senam Okudzeto with mike

Feria de Madrid: Venue of ARCO-Madrid, 2009. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Otobong Nkanga's video/performance, Baggage 1972.2007/2008
Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Barthelemy Toguo's installation, Boat, 2007
Presented by MAM (Mario Mauroner)
Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Eugenio Merino's For the Love of Gold
The most attractive--as in attracting the most crowd--work among the thousands in the sprawling fair. A hyperreal, un-pickled figure of a famous suicide: Damien Hirst
Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu

Detail of For the Love of Gold

Click here for my NEXT ART/world commentary on African participation at the just concluded ARCO-Madrid 2009