Friday, 13 June 2008

Artspeakafrica is website of the month

The leading online south african magazine Artthrob has chosen artspeakafrica as site of the month in conjunction with that of my colleague and compatriot Slyvester Ogbechie's content rich blog aachronym. Nice to get some positive feedback from someone you don't know so you can't be accused of offering a 'facilitation' fee or pr fee or whatever term they currently use for inducement in dear lagos even though I am a big fan of Artthrob.

Reviewer Chad Rossouw has rightly pointed out the lack of information available about contemporary visual art practice on the continent. In years past artists could explain their complacency away by citing lack of funding, sponsorship and all other manner of excuses. But today those options have been closed to them. With free online spaces available, it only goes to show the unwillingness of artists, writers, curators and all other art professionals on the continent to make a more concerted effort toward providing visibility for contemporary visual art practice in Africa. The effects of an acute lack of physical infrastructure could have been diminished by experimental with different online possibilities for the presentation and the debate of art practice on the continent. But Alas nothing. And i have yet to see a community more technophobe than the nigerian art one. In spite of prodding and cajoling, a country with one of the largest population of visual artists on the continent consistently refuses to join the online community. Recently the DG of the National Gallery of Art even offered to 1000 artists a free online presence. I was informed that of last month there had been only 3 takes. Na wa for my peeeple, dem never understand say level don change o! as we say here.

The text below is culled from from (hope you don't mind Sue)

Speaking on Contemporary African Art: Two Art Blogs
by Chad Rossouw

Trying to find engaging up-to-date text about contemporary art in Africa has always been a challenge on the internet. There are general sites such as, which is useful for news and some critical content and it also has a great links section. But one still feels the need for more specific critical content. Even a large organisation, with a specific theme, like has an un-navigable site, with few images and little content. As far as I can tell, there is nothing like ArtThrob in any other African Country. African art blogs, which would fill up the gaps, are a rarer bird still.

Nevertheless, I have come across two blogs, by well-known art professionals Bisi Silva and S. Okwunodu Ogbechie, which provide some interesting content.

Silva is an independent curator, based in Nigeria. She travels extensively across the continent and world and her blog,, reflects this. It is a little too infrequently updated to be comprehensive, but it is still a useful resource and has been online for close on two years. Her posts often give details about exhibitions and events, such as auctions in Lagos, but also move to reviews of larger events across the continent, such as Cape '07, and Dak'Art. I find her posts always personal, friendly and upbeat, but no less incisive for it.

Ogbechie is an art historian based in the USA. His areas of specialisation, however, are Nollywood and contemporary African art. His blog is slightly more academic in content, and often more about film, but well worth trawling through. Interesting opinions, links and criticism make regular appearances, especially on the topic of global African culture, equality and representation.

Curiously, both blogs have an almost identical design, which, though not visually exciting, is clean and legible. They also both have RSS feeds, so although neither change daily, you can keep an eye on new content as it arrives.


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