Wednesday, April 30, 2014

€1000 Prize for African MA Thesis

Leiden University in the Netherlands is soliciting entries for its annual MA thesis prize. Eligible theses must have been submitted by candidates from African universities and must be on an African subject. Beside the €1000 prize, the winning thesis will be published. For more info, click HERE.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Anatsui elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences!

El Anatsui 
©Chika Okeke-Agulu

In the wake of his election to the Royal Academy last month, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has just announced its 2014 class, which includes--you bet--El Anatsui! Yep, the world woke up late to Anatsui's genius, and it still has to make up for the lost time! Bring it on! CONGRATULATIONS, El!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Achebe Colloquium @ Brown University, May 1-3, 2014

British Expert on Terrorist Group Boko Haram to Open Achebe Colloquium 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University
The 2014 Achebe Colloquium on Africa] — African Literature as Restoration: Chinua Achebe as Teacher will be held at Brown University, from May 1-3, 2014.

An International gathering of scholars, artists, musicians, writers, and officials will gather at Brown University May 1-3, 2014, to discuss and celebrate the cultural contributions of Chinua Achebe, the late Nigerian novelist and the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies at Brown, who died in March 2013 at the age of 82. Achebe started the colloquium in 2009 to bring attention to issues affecting Africa.

On Thursday May 1, 2014, Elizabeth Donnelly, Assistant Head and Research Fellow, Africa Program, Chatham House, - The Royal Institute of International Affairs-  London, Great Britain; will deliver the opening address at the Colloquium. Her talk will “focus on Boko Haram -what is known, what is not known, and the implications and what can be done.”  The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

According to the Washington Post
More than 1,500 people have been killed so far this year in attacks blamed on the Nigerian radical group Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language. The terrorist network’s mission is to force an Islamic state on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of some 170 million people divided almost equally between Muslims living mainly in the north and Christians in the south.”

Following Ms. Donnelly’s address, she will join a panel discussion Perspectives of Security: Networks, trafficking and Terrorism in Africa with Ambassador Walter Carrington, Former US Ambassador to Nigeria and Senegal; Ambassador John Campbell, Former US Ambassador to Nigeria and a U.S. State Department Representative
The Moderator, Professor Donna A. Patterson, is a scholar of Africana area studies at Wellesley College.
The evening will showcase performances by singers from the Sri Chinmoy Centre; Ohafia war dancers from Abia State; a poetry, music, and song collage by South Africa’s Sindiswa Seakhoa.
Thursday’s opening event will usher in high level intellectual discourse on contemporary issues facing the African continent while examining the impact of the late Chinua Achebe’s writings on modern African literature and world literature as a whole. The deliberations will take place in List Art Center auditorium, 64 College St, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.
Speakers at this year’s colloquium include Lynn Innes, professor emerita of English at the University of Kent and author of an analysis of Achebe’s works; Simon Gikandi, professor of English at Princeton University; Bernth Lindfors, professor emeritus of English at the University of Texas–Austin and a leading scholar of African literature; Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangaremgba; Giyatri Spivak, literary theorist and professor at Columbia University; David Palumbo-Liu, professor of comparative literature at Stanford University; Michael Thelwell, Jamaican novelist and author of The Harder They Come; and Vijay Kumar, professor of English at Osmania University in India.
Brown President Christina Paxson will deliver a welcome address and Alhaji Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, executive governor of the Kano State in Nigeria, will give Saturday’s closing keynote address. Abena P.A. Busia, associate professor of English and co-director of the Women Writing Africa Project at Rutgers University, will serve as Mistress of Ceremony throughout the colloquium.
Sessions include a roundtable reflection on Achebe’s life by his close friends and colleagues, the impact of Achebe’s writing on the world; the conflict between poet and emperor as reflected in Achebe’s writings, Achebe as a crusader of social justice and a panel discussion on Achebe’s influence on hip hop music.
Over the three day event other significant performances from Nigerian playwright Tess Onwueme; Afro roots musical group Eme and Heteru; and power poetry by Ikeogu Oke with instrumentalist Osuji Ngozi Michael will be featured.
This will be Brown’s fifth Achebe Colloquium on Africa. The 2012 colloquium focused on governance, security and solutions to peace in Africa. The 2011 colloquium explored several challenges facing the region, including the Arab Spring and the crisis in Darfur. The 2010 colloquium focused attention on three African nations — Rwanda, Congo, and Nigeria — and the crucial issues impacting the countries, the continent, and the world. The inaugural 2009 colloquium addressed the problems and prospects of the 2010 Nigerian elections.
This year’s colloquium schedule and other details are available online at
Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.

Media Contact: Courtney Coelho | 401-863-7287

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP in the Wits Art Museum, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
We invite applications for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the WITS ART MUSEUM at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. This fellowship is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will be situated in the Wits Art Museum. The fellow will work with the curators of the Wits Art Museum and the Chair in the Centre for the Creative Arts of Africa on a research-driven re-engagement with the collections of historical and contemporary African arts in the Wits Art Museum. We are therefore looking for a fellow with research experience in one or more of the following fields: African art history, art education, museum studies, museum education or curatorship. Candidates should have defended their Ph.D. research between 2009 and 2014 and should not hold or have held full-time positions on the faculty of any higher education institution.
The fellow’s time will be divided across two tasks. On the one hand, the fellow will be expected to conduct original research (40 %). During the remaining time (60 %), the fellow will be expected to help academic divisions in Wits and at other institutions access, engage with, and use the collections in teaching and research. He/she will also have to outline and drive a series of seminars which will, at the end of the project, be published as a collection of essays. The fellow will furthermore be expected to participate in exhibitions and publications planned within the Wits Art Museum.
The Fellowship will be for a period of up to 24 months (although we may consider terms shorter than that) and will include: a return air fare up to a specified amount, depending on departure point; stipend (enough to sustain a single person or couple, but not a family); medical aid cover for the fellow; a shared office with own computer, library access and a small research grant per year. The fellowship project will start as soon as possible (but preferably by August 2014), and will end in July 2016.
Applications must be sent to Julia Charlton, (Senior Curator at WAM)  and should include:
Title and abstract of the doctoral thesis
Copies of degree certificate (or a signed letter from a supervisor saying that the degree will be completed before the candidate is due to take up the position)
Copies of completed articles or published essays (if any)
A Curriculum Vitae (Resumé)
A letter of motivation
The names and email addresses of two referees, one of whom should be the supervisor of the doctorate.

Submission deadline 15th of May 2014 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Richard J. Powell's lecture at Princeton, Thursday April 24

On Thursday April 24, Richard J. Powell, the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, will give the annual Reflections on African American Studies lecture at the Center for African American Studies, Princeton University. This lecture by Powell, the leading scholar in the field of African American art history, is significant for another reason: it is the first to be delivered by an art historian. Yep, art history and the visual arts tend to be forgotten or sidelined in the discourse of African American culture past and present. It is time "Things Done Change," to invoke the title of Eddie Chambers' terrific book on Black British Art!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Postwar Art Conference at the Haus der Kunst, Munich

Postw ar Art between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945- 1965 Conference, 21-24 May, 2014, H aus der K unst, Munich

 May 21
Welcome Note, Okwui Enwezor, 6:00-6:30
Keynote 1, 6:30-7:15

Boris Groys, New York University, Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, and Bauhaus University, Weimar, “The Thaw: Soviet and Eastern European Art before and after the Death of Stalin”

Opening Reception @ HDK

May 22

Registration, 8:00 onwards

Keynote 1, 9:30-10:15
Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University, “Calligraphic Abstraction”

Panel 1: Non-Aligned Networks. 10:30-12:30
A “third” alternative to the bipolar politics of the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement generated a vast transcontinental political and ideological network that cut across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Formed in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia, the Non- Aligned Movement included over thirty countries that did not subscribe to the Cold War’s seemingly hegemonic capitalist/socialist binary. Collectively, they represented more than half of the world’s population. While the political and economic resonances of the Non-Aligned Movement are by now well known, its art historical corollaries remain comparatively obscure. This panel examines the ways in which non-alignment may have exerted pressure on postwar aesthetic and ideological arrangements.

  • Armin Medosch, Independent Scholar, Vienna, “Non-Aligned Modernism - The International Network and Art Movement New Tendencies (First Phase, 1961-1965)”
  • Devika Singh, University of Cambridge, “Indian Artists and the Soviet Fine Arts Exhibition”
  • Paula Barreiro Lopez, Université de Genève; Jacopo Galimberti, Independent Scholar, Berlin, “Southern Networks. The Alternative Modernism of the San Marino Biennale and the Convegno internazionale artisti, critici e studiosi d’arte”
  • Amanda Katherine Rath, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, “Competing constructions of ‘Indonesian’ modern art and artistic identity in a politically fraught terrain, 1950-1959”

Lunch Break, 12:30-1:30

Panel 2: Ground Zero. 1:30-3:30
Hiroshima, August 6, 1945. Nagasaki, August 9, 1945. The apocalyptic imaginary invoked by the unprecedented devastation caused by the explosion of the atomic bomb accumulated into the image of the mushroom cloud and seeped into all aspects of cultural production. As such, the detonation of the atom bomb presents a fundamental rupture in the temporal, spatial, and political fabric of the postwar decades, resonances of which reverberated across the Atlantic and the Pacific. This panel brings to the foreground probing questions that triangulate ethics, ecology, and technological excess to examine dematerialization and void as artistic and aesthetic propositions in a post-atomic world.

  • Majella Munro, Tate Research Centre: Asia-Pacific, London, “Nuclear Reactions: Towards a Critical Artistic Practice in Japan’s Long Postwar”
  • Reiko Tomii, Independent Scholar, New York, “Matsuzawa Yutaka’s Art of Immaterialization: An Empty Gallery as an Apparatus”
  • Tara McDowell, Monash University, Melbourne, “The Work of Salvage: Jess, the Atomic Bomb, and Allegory”
  • Sohl Lee, University of Rochester,“Nam June Paik, Before the Pioneer of Video Art”

Coffee Break, 3:30-4:30

Panel 3: Refracted Tradition, Reconstituted Modernism. 4:30-6:30
The artistic practice and art historical discourses that emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War’s devastation were both diverse and dissonant. Through specific case studies, this panel thus examines the differing conceptions of artistic modernity that emerged in the Asia-Pacific region. The aim is to re-engage seemingly transparent and purportedly established art historical nomenclatures such as abstraction, realism, traditionalism, and modernism to examine the heterogeneities that both structured and delineated postwar modernism’s global itineraries.

  • Lingling Amy Yao, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “New Mural and Politics: A Case Study of the New Mural Campaign in Peixian in 1958”
  • Patrick D. Flores, University of the Philippines, “War After War in Southeast Asia: Revisiting Church and State and the Emergence of the Modern Form”
  • Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh, “Antipodean Visions; Postwar Art in Australasia and the South Pacific”
  • Ming Tiampo, Carleton University, Ottawa, “Remapping the Postwar City as International Event”

 Break, 6:30-6:40

Keynote 2, 6:40-7:30
Catherine David, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou “Title TBD”

May 23

Registration, 8:00 onwards

Keynote 1, 9:30-10:15
Walter Grasskamp, Akademie der Bildenden Künste, München, “Paolozzi in Post-War Paris: The Second American Invasion”

Panel 1: Concrete Visions, Transatlantic Worlds. 10:30-12:30
Adopting an approach that is both regionally specific and cross-culturally comparative, this panel situates the production and reception of Concretism within transatlantic networks that stretched from Paris to Buenos Aires, São Paulo to Munich. A focus on Latin America further brings to surface complex negotiations between the social and the aesthetic, offering critical perspectives on radical and intractable realignments of artistic centers and peripheries during the tumultuous decades following  the conclusion of the Second World War.
  • Abigail McEwen, University of Maryland, College Park, “Cuba’s Concretos: The Constructivist Revolution”
  • Federico Deambrosis, Politecnico di Milano, “Time, Space, Borders: A Possible Map of Concrete Art from an Argentinean Perspective”
  • Susanne Neubauer, Freie Universität, Berlin, “Political Entanglements of Brazilian Modernism and its Reception in Postwar Germany, 1951– 1959”
  • Gerardo Mosquera, Independent Curator, Havana and Madrid “Title TBD”

Lunch Break, 12:30-1:30

Panel 2: Nation(s) Seeking Form, 1:30-3:30
How might artistic and intellectual movements from the former colonies and peripheries impact our understanding of postwar modernism? Through specific case studies, this panel presents a social- historical and critical understanding of postwar aesthetic practices in Africa and the Middle East. In doing so, the panel repositions art historical debates on authenticity and derivativeness, questions West/non-West dichotomies, examines the porosity of purportedly national and ostensibly transnational aesthetic formations, and probes the fissures between nationalist and avant-garde constructions of culture.

  • Sam Bardaouil, Art Reoriented and Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, “I See Wonderful Things! The Art and Liberty Group and Manifestations of Surrealism in Egypt 1939 – 1945”
  • Nada Shabout, University of North Texas,“‘Enemy of the People’: The Baghdad Group of Modern Art”
  • Chika Okeke-Agulu, Princeton University, “Uche Okeke, Ibrahim El Salahi, and Postcolonial Modernism in the 1960s”
  • Burcu Dogramaci, Institut für Kunstgeschichte - LMU München, “A Look Back to the Future: Art in Turkey in the 1950s”

Coffee Break, 3:30-4:30

Panel 3: Form Matters. 4:30-6:30 @ Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München
Traveling exhibitions and biennales not only formed an intrinsic part of postwar cultural diplomacy but also became potent sites for the display of ideology and politics. This, in turn, politicized formal aspects of art as conduits that made ideology and politics visible. Needless to say, form mattered. This panel examines the exhibition as a discursive site to explore the political aspects of postwar display cultures and art historical strategies.

  • Dorothea Schöne, Kunsthaus Dahlem, Berlin, “Moderated Movements - Presenting German Modernism in America after 1945”
  • Alessandro Del Puppo, Università degli Studi di Udine,“Formalists and Marxists. Renato Guttuso, Venice Biennale, and the Quest for Realism in Cold War Italy”
  • Alessio Fransoni, Independent Scholar, Rome, “Optical, Kinetic, Programmed: The Short Season of the ‘Political Quality’ of the Art Object”
  • Serge Guilbaut, University of British Columbia, “Colors of Utopia or Post-War Paris/New-York Dream of Universalism.” 

Break, 6:30-6:40

Keynote 2, 6:40-7:30
Mari Carmen Ramirez, International Center for the Arts of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston “Title TBD”
Reception @ Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München

May 24

Registration, 8:00 onwards

Keynote 1, 9:30-10:15
Alexandra Munroe, Guggenheim Museum “Title TBD”

Panel 1: Communism, Socialism, Aesthetics. 10:30-12:30
How did artists, critics, and intellectuals reinforce and bolster, negotiate, or even subvert and resist political ideologies? To what extent did the ideologies of Communism and Socialism discursively shape critical modernist practices? This panel attempts a cross-cultural examination of the aesthetics and political dimensions of artistic forms in communist and socialist contexts. Special attention is paid to both “official” and “dissident” forms of art practice in Eastern Europe, Soviet Russia, and China.

  • Nikolas Drosos, Graduate Center, CUNY, NY and CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, “Re-form: Eastern Europe in 1956”
  • Gregor H. Lersch, European University Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder, “Abstraktion, Realismus und die Durchlässigkeit des „Eisernen Vorhangs“ Das Beispiel polnische Kunst in Bundesrepublik und DDR von 1955-1965” [Translation: “Abstraction, Realism and the Permeability of the ‘Iron Curtain’ based on the example of Polish Art in the FRG and GDR between 1955 and 1965”]
  • Eva Forgacs, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, “Restoring Modernism 1945-1965: The Role of the New Left in Shaping the Narrative”
  • Vivian Li, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “The Creation and Definition of Artistic Value in Communist China”

Lunch Break, 12:30-2:30

Panel 2: New Practices in/of the Social. 2:30-4:30
The late 1950s and 1960s presents a turning point in artistic production, with a number of artists turning to mutable materials and pioneering an altered relationship with the social. The concluding panel turns to this crucial historical juncture to examine the theoretical and conceptual challenges that such practices presented for the strictures and closures of the art world, both during and beyond the postwar decades.

  • Nicholas Cullinan, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, “Arte Povera: Against the ‘First World’”
  • Midori Yamamura, Pratt Institute, New York, “‘Zero on Sea’: An International Crossroad of the Art of Active Social Engagement, 1955-1965”
  • Lara Demori, University of Edinburgh, “Redefining Neo-avantgardes at the Margins: Manzoni and Oiticica’s Subversive Practice”
  • Isobel Whitelegg, Nottingham Contemporary, London, "At the Crux of the Postwar - Collective Exhibitions at Signals London (1964-66)"

Concluding Notes, Okwui Enwezor
Closing Reception @ HDK