Monday, 28 July 2008

To Uli or not to Uli: That is the question.

Basically my simple ( i thought) question snowballed into this drawn out informal email discussion. (see earlier posts below) If nothing it got people from different parts of the country talking which can sometimes be rare in these parts. Even if our leaders are not doing anything at least the power of technology is bridging the communication divide.

16th June

Hallo Bisi,

Thanks for the warning sign that you sent to Oz about certain terminologies that remind us about the Phantom chains that some people still see around our necks. Thanks also for not setting the ball rolling on the Uli question. Some of us have developed some latent scholarship about that term.

Thanks again.

Ken (Okoli)

16th June

Hi Ken
Thanks for your comment. Well it is not so much to highlight its irrelevance but I would be really excited to read/learn/see the new ways in which Uli has developed beyond the rehashes of the last couple of years. I think it needs a renaissance but one that is appropriate for the 21st. The first and 2nd wave were indicative of their time but I think there is more juice - pardon my English but it is late - that can be got out of it. Anyway what is tradition all about if not re-invention.

And as for terminologies we are all familiar with western canons of discourse and criticism but when do we start creating our own especially within the visual arts.

17th June

Hi Bisi.

Thanks Bisi. How you dey? Just couldn’t resist saying something on this. If there is USO, INKA ANKA UKU etc why not ULI. It is very difficult to branch out into new things and it will be accepted from you in the East of Niger except linked with ULI,UL..U..UUUU...........ANYTHING.

OZ, you are by now above this. Your works, visual or literary certainly have a newness in Uli that I thing we wait for in any other thing you are into, OLD or NEW.

Mike (Omoighe)

17th June

Hi Mike
Thanks for your comment. I always and still kind of believe that one of the fundamental role of the artists is to challenge status quo by bringing out the same thing but in a new way and allowing us to see things outside of a given.


17th June

Mallama Bisi, Mallam Mike and Dr Ken Okoli, Una well write on Uli and Oz oh! I dey read una.
Tonie (Okpe)

18th June

Dear all,
As for me I can handle the name Uli for the journal. After all it is a name. And a name is what you call a thing/it. The multiple references are always inevitable. What matters is what the name assumes over time. New names are always problematic.
Yes I agree with you that you do not need the 3rd world term. It is just unnecessary. Period
Lets move on. Jerry (Buhari)

21st June

Of course, Uli as a word would carry so much negative connotations for us, especially when the idea comes from inside. If the announcement had come from somewhere in the "First world," even if the name of the journal is SHIT Journal of Art and Design, we will all roll heads over heel to submit dusty articles for publication for possible promotion in our various universities without pondering the name. Uli as a concept is not parochial, if it means design, art and alludes to aesthetics.

If you know the meaning of Uli, and if you appreciate that meaning and are able to separate it from the artists that have espoused Uli as a movement in the last thirty years and from the region it derives, you would be able to link it with its more universal relationships. And why not 'so-called' for Third World, if you say it suggests suspicion? Who created the "Worlds" and what right do they have to assign us to the
third position? Uli Journal is not born out of nostalgia for Uli and their exponents. We should rise above myopia and romantic "modernity" to appreciate Uli for what it represents beyond Nsukka and the linear configurations we know so well. What was Nka, the Igbo word for art, as the name of Journal? Although the use of Uli is not a reaction to anything, why is it suddenly parochial?

Why must we discard Uli because it has been around for "too long"? Why do we not stop the celebration of Things Fall Apart because it has been around for too long and has been translated into more than 50 languages? Or shut our ears to Picasso because his name has been mentioned too often and for too long in the history of art? I think we need to tell ourselves some self-evident truths here.

I write this in a hurry as I travel and will react more when I reach my destination, if need be.

C. Krydz Ikwuemesi

22nd June

Hi Krydz
Thanks for your mail. Sorry I missed you in Enugu.

Well I don't know about Uli carrying a negative connotation. At least let me speak for myself. It definitely and certainly does not anymore than Ona, Osogbo, cubism, feminism etc carry a negative connotation. But I sure as hell don't want to wear them as badges as much as I continue to find them relevant and engage with them.

I think my question is interested in something you say 'what it represents beyond Nsukka and the linear configurations we know so, I wasn't so much thinking of parochial in the sense of the East or Nsukka but within Nigeria.

However for third world - I hate the term just as much as I hate primitive or tribal art or Negro and I avoid it because I do have some knowledge of its historical significance. I am not interested in challenging it by bringing it up but by sending it to obsolescence by avoiding its use.

22nd June

Hey guys: I am reading this discourse. I am learning.

Toyin Akinosho

27th June

I had sent a response to Bisi and Ozioma on the Uli journal that has caused so much headache in the art circuits in the West and the North of Nigeria. The comments remain my final testament on the matter, although I am publishing my mail to Ozioma here below as it was not circulated like that to Bisi. I am also adding "un petit mot" as I am beginning to feel mischief in the pot.

That the controversy subsists looks like some of our friends and soi-disant watchdogs are aiming for a "coup de grace" even before a single line is published under the proposed name.

Why not boycott the journal if the name belongs to an earlier period and does not fit into your new supersonic image, or if it reminds you of the cavemen and cave painting? Was it not Chinweizu, while commenting poetically on the problem of originality, that said that "He who must do something altogether new" should start by swallowing his own head. As I said in late 1990s when the debate on the so-called death of painting caught our fancy in Nigeria practiced for too long (since the evolution of man)?(with the wind blowing the fashionable discourse down through the Atlantic), why don't we proclaim the obituary of art and, in its place, set up a new concept and practice since art has been

Why did we not shy away from the "Eye" - that important but short-lived journal published in Zaria in the 1990s - because the eye as a name was too commonplace since every human person is endowed with a
pair of eyes? Dr Ken Okoli contradicts himself when he wishes for "a renaissance of Uli." What renaissance? So if the journal is called "Uli", it will now only publish Uli matters? Did the Eye publish matters about the eye, that
is if the whole argument can be as simplistic as Okoli images it? I think there is a deliberate, if mischievous, attempt here to reduce the argument to a game of children and thereby ridicule the proposed journal and its promoters, including the art department at the university of Nigeria.

And talk of Uli, I must hasten to inform those who would hear of it that, C. Krydz Ikwuemesi, am still carrying out research in different villages in the Igbo country and that the last has not been heard on the ancient genre. Sooner or later, the results will be in the public domain, as important materials in the advancement of heritage education which is so lacking in Nigeria - because we want to be everything else other than ourselves. Not only that. My on-going research in Japan will culminate in a comparative literature on Igbo and Ainu arts and cosmos. Of course Uli will feature prominently in the book. It looks like I am living in the past, isn't it?

But what are traditions all about? Are they not about history and continuity? Perhaps the tragedy of the Nigerian artist today is that he cajoles history and laughs at tradition. Yet those are the hubs on which the wheel of art turns.

C. Krydz Ikwuemesi

Dear Ozioma
I thought you should have responded to this rather than forward it to me. I sent a comment to Bisi. I do not know how effectively it was circulated among her army of virtual discussants. I do not share a hopeless sense of belonging to a bandwagon whose only hope and vision lies in aping what goes on elsewhere, without any will for looking inwards. When Uli is mentioned, it becomes a rehash of an old idea. Yet cubism and co can live forever. It is colonial hangover.

But of course, we are not on a new spree of Uli experiment as far as the journal is concerned. So why can the name not stand, in view of the wider meaning of Uli in Igbo aesthetic parlance? At times, we reason through our backside in the art circle in Nigeria and I do not want to be discouraged or distracted by such short-sightedness, especially from the axial scatter-brain majority who talk loudest in this kind of argument and convey very little meaning practically.

Hope you are well.

4 July


I once had an Indian teacher who forever spotted a navy blue pair of trousers and a light blue shirt from Monday to Friday. It was in my form five when I struck friendship with him that I discovered that he had several sets of the same clothes. Interesting, isn't it? The fragility of the ego of Krydz on my mere mention of Uli matters is gradually marching us towards my earlier suspicion that some Nigerian art commentators feel
cults of the old, nobody should say anything at all about Uli if not positive. People have a right to protect whichever group they belong, be it a cult, sect or any other form of grouping. However, like I have mentioned elsewhere: You cannot bring you masquerade to the market square and expect people to keep mum. Some of us have our paternity originating from the rich culture that produced Uli and we are very proud if it any day.

There is nothing wrong with living in the past O! Krydz. After all is the present and future not influenced by the past. I do not also see anything wrong with pre-emptive comments. Why should academics be afraid of criticism? Krydz's reaction for sure appears to reveal some level of rejection of any form of contributions of other persons outside ones immediate grouping to the things that they do. Categorically speaking, the day
academics will stop making useful criticism on art development, because some parsons deem some areas as red lines that should not be crossed is the day that we all move to Holy Ghost Park in Enugu and displace members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. We will not let Uli be. Uli is not and East, West or
North thing as we always chose to regionalize most sensitive issues in Nigeria. Uli is an art issue and must be discussed. Period.

Ken Okoli O.

4th July

Dear Bisi,
Reading all the discussions on Uli reminds me of the year 1996 when I decided to use the word agufon as the name for my publication. The reactions of people to the name were very interesting. some comments I liked, some I didn’t. But as Ken as written in one of his emails, if you bring your masquerade to the market square, people will have their say. However, please let us be careful in our reactions to criticisms otherwise we will loose the essence of exchanging ideas. If I get angry because I don’t like what other people say about my work, I should not abuse them. We shall surely celebrate the birth of Uli like we celebrate all new babies.


Bunmi Davies

8th July

Nice one Bunmi!!!!!

12th July

Dear Ken,
I have followed this argument to a point I can make a contribution. It is my firm belief that as an academic one should contribute to this argument because it involves an on-going discourse on what heritage should be. First it is what Tunbridge and Ashworth call ‘Dissonant Heritage.’ What this means is that sometimes there is a dissonance on what we all regard as ‘our’ heritage. Ken the implication of my statement is to clear your doubts on what heritage is all about as you may not have known that ULI is our heritage. First your convictions tell you that “heritage interpretation is endowed with messages which are deliberately framed by an existing power elite” (The West), which makes you think that ‘contemporary discourse’ is only enunciated by the West or that the context of contemporary excludes a ‘name’ as ULI irrespective of its dynamics. If you understand the simple logic that the present time and place is an inevitable and self-evidently desirable culmination of past events then you should know that the name ULI does not negate ‘contemporary.’ Contemporary means whatever that is happening now be it the re-enactment of the ‘Renaissance’ or the rebirth of the Classical period. If the ULI journal is published now it becomes a ‘contemporary discourse’ as you said. Nsukka School cannot offer much to the world through the use of the word ULI. Rather I had expected you to say that the content of ULI has become more pluralist. I would have even been more comfortable with your submissions if you had argued that ULI evolved as a ‘Dominant Ideology’, a dominant heritage that your submissions try to challenge by engaging in a passively conscious resistance without success. You cannot proclaim the death of ULI. ULI will die whenever it chooses to die. Yes change is inevitable but your perception of change is misinformed and dependent on the so-called official agencies, which are those who construct international narratives. You can also construct yours and the whole world can follow you. We are constructing Uli and we hope it will soon emerge as a Cultural capital which according to Bourdieu “is not concentrated in the hands of a few official agencies like The West but dispersed among many producers and curators, especially in democratic societies like Nigeria” (of course italics mine). ULI is our own democratic dividend.
Okey Nwafor.

12th July

Thanks for your contribution Okey.

14th July

My Dear Okey,

I wish I had all the time to busy myself with this jaw jaw about Uli. I have said somewhere (maybe you did not read) that Uli is a Nigerian art issue and that every academic can comment on it. My dear namesake, is anything wrong with that? What I do not agree with is that some persons think that Uli is an "East" thing and not a "West and North thing" and so the latter should not comment on it. If the North and West commented on it: mischief must be in it. Do we stop to ask ourselves who is this north or west? The art family in Nigeria which includes the east, west and north should be permanently grateful to the events that lead to the formation of the Zaria Art Society and how it infected the art psyche in Nigeria. I doubt if anybody from the "north" challenged Chika Okeke-Agulu when he said that the dance had shifted from Zaria to Nsukka. I guess this is what academic freedom is all about. If an Nsukka product made the same comments that I made
would it have attracted this barrage of academic attack? I still think that the earlier we stop sectionalising art or academic issues based on its geographical matrix, the better for us.
Well, the reappearance of Uli as a journal is welcome and we are waiting to see the issues that will be addressed in the first edition to see if we can contribute also. Art belongs to all of us and so is Uli.
Ka omesia.
Ken Okoli O.

22nd July


I think i am enjoying this debate particularly as artists are beginning to interogate these issues deeply. Yes! softly softly make una comment make Una no vex. I will be happy to contribute to the journal named Uli, Nsibidi, Ibiebe(dont ask me what this means ask Baba Bruce) as long as it has depth. Please keep the discussions going and please keep up the good work all of you. Cheers

Dr (Mrs)Peju Layiwola

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Farewell to Post-Colonialism. Guangzhou Triennal, Uli and Aresuva

For the first time I am posting an internal discussion on my blog. Let’s see what that gives. This was a comment that i had posted in my internal mail circulation in contribution to a 'raging' debate about a journal to be launched by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka's Department of Fine and Applied Arts. The journal will be called Ulli:Journal of Art and Design. Actually I caused the debate by inadvertently questioning the use of the name Ulli after so much ink had been split on ulli in the 70s, 80s, 90s. Whilst we continually revisit it in the 21st century - it remains an important part of our culture - I am also interested in they way in which it is revisited. I guess that was the thrust of my mail which I also post here. The responses of all others will be posted once i have all the permissions or at least no objections to posting.

Here is my first post in response to call for papers by artist, lecturer, writer Ozioma Onuzulike from UNN.

16th June

Congratulations, Sounds good. However won't calling it ULI make it seem like a parochial journal. I was thinking of a name that opened up the discourse nationally and international. Also you have to remember that the word Uli is very loaded and specific and comes with so much historical baggage.

And I have a big problem with the term 'so called third world' because as you rightly put it 'so called' is suspicious and i feel that it is derogatory. Do we want to start a new project, develop a new discourse and articulate a new language for contemporary art in africa and from africa carrying so much baggage. I think we need to break free from the shackles of being defined and find a vocabulary that suits and represents our current reality. That is the challenge. It is like the word post - colonial almost 50 or so years after independence we need to ask some serious questions about the validity of the post in the postcolonial.


Here is my last post - to which i have yet to receive any feedback hence the posting to a wider audience. Hope it generates some interesting perspectives.

13th July

Hey All
I enjoyed reading the curatorial framework for the Tiennal below. (on the spot)

I also reprint here from their website (see below in purple) because as I read it, I thought about some of the ongoing email discussions about the Uli journal and also Aresuva brought on by the lack of specifics.

I think misunderstandings and apprehensions arise when what one is doing is not properly articulated or fully elaborated. I reprint here appropriate paragraphs which hardly go beyond the general so as to provide an intellectual and theoretical framework or direction for the journal or for possible contributors. I think the discussion so far on why it is titled Uli or not has been useful and we can go beyond semantics and to tell you the truth if you had called it Shit, Dot, Spit, Beyond or whatever I would have still asked the context for the name and the baggage some of the words connotate because Shit may be good to you (as it is to the DMT mobile toilets guy in lagos - I digress) but to somebody else it would be something else. SHIT is loaded too and interestingly the other day i came across an art project called SHIT can't remember the subtitle and a short description on the curatorial framework for the project and why the name Shit. I didn't agree and I didn't disagree but just thought it was a starting point for a discussion in which everybody's opinion opens up a space discourse and negotiation and the way artists approached the subject matter from their individual perspectives. And you know artists!!!!!

However the next important aspect relates to the 2nd part of the call for papers which I highlight in blue. I think we run the risk of descending into armchair academicism and navel gazing by not elaborating further in a few paragraphs or sentences some of the important or pressing issues affecting Nigerian and international art production and discourse and which the journal would like to use as an introductory framework for developing a re-newed form of art scholarship and professionalism. I appreciate in the 3rd paragraph and the addition of modern and postmodern tendencies very 20th century but of course very important in developing 21st century discourse naturally. ( but remember thy have been accused as smacking of tendencies promulgated from 'outside' from so called derided locations) I think the editors of the Uli journal need to elaborate on the meaning of those 'seriously' loaded or more appropriately 'contested' terms so as to give the journal a critical point of departure.

Basically what I am saying Dear Krydz, Dear Ozioma - or whoever the editors are - is take an intellectual and philosophical position/standpoint with the journal (and I don't mean the name). Write a full one page, paragraph - whatever - that clearly and concisely indicates the line of discourse you think is appropriate for the journal. Bring us into or inform us of the argument, position, discussion whatever and let us begin a proper debate on art and visual culture in Nigeria, Africa and internationally. The Editorial committee should have done that before sending out a call for papers. At such an academic level this should have been a foregone conclusion and I am sure it will be a prerequisite for any serious local or international academic to respond to the call. I am no academic but logic dictates that should be part of the procedure if I am not mistaken. And I have been to the website to find more information about the theoretical framework. What i got is that 'The first issue, to be published in June 2008, will focus on postmodernist tendencies in the recent visual arts and culture of Africa. Historical, critical, art educational, and other scholarly articles, as well as reviews, interviews and portfolios addressing the above theme are welcome.'

What are some of the pertinent and critical issues that need to be discussed and for which you are providing a much needed platform. Is it to challenge the discourse of modernism and postmodernism, is it to create new vocabularies of visual and artistic production that take into consideration the diversity of our experiences, cultures and locations and identities?? If so how and why, if not why not? What are some of the examples of these modern and postmodern tendencies you imply? On a individual professional basis, I am concerned about/interested curatorial practice in Nigeria (or the lack of it) and its role in the development of artistic presentation. I am interested in exploring what kind of curatorial practice or framework is possible within a non-western context in which little or no infrastructure - conceptual and physical - exists. I am interested in a curatorial practice that bridges the local and the global, I am interested in the way in which curatorial practice contributes to new posibilities in artistic discourse etc etc. Outline your position and then open it out for debate, contributions and evolution.

And just a quick reminder that some of the interesting discourse is not necessarily (depending on what you are reading) coming out of the 'tired' West but actually from the dynamic East. There is a tremendous shift in contemporary art and cultural discourse from the west to the non-western, we- Africans - have an opportunity to carve our own discourse and critiques, develop our positions locally and locate ourselves globally if and as we wish. Uli:Journal of Visual Arts and Culture provides this opportunity.

'ULI: Journal of Visual Arts and Culture is a referred academic bi-annual publication of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (visit It is to be published in June and December each year electronically and, occasionally, in hard copies. The publication aims to critique and document contemporary developments in the visual arts and culture of Nigeria, Africa and the world. It shall open up and sustain debate on issues in Nigerian and international art as a way of contributing to art scholarship and professionalism in the so-called Third World. Well-researched papers are invited for the first issue to be published in December 2008. Historical, critical, art educational, and other scholarly articles on modern and postmodern tendencies in the art and visual culture of Africa are welcome, as well as reviews, interviews and portfolios.'

The Guangzhou Triennal

Gao Shiming, Sarat Maharaj and Johnson Chang Tsong-zung (all non-westerners)

For the curatorial discourse of this Triennial, we propose to say 'Farewell to Post-Colonialism'. This represents the theoretical basis from which we hope to explore our critical vision. 'Farewell to Post-colonialism' is not a denial of the importance and rewards of this intellectual tradition; in the real world, the political conditions criticised by post-colonialism have not receded, but in many ways are even further entrenched under the machinery of globalisation. However, as a leading discourse for art curatorial practice and criticism, post-colonialism is showing its limitations in being increasingly institutionalised as an ideological concept. Not only is it losing its edge as a critical tool, it has generated its own restrictions that hinder the emergence of artistic creativity and fresh theoretical interface. To say 'Farewell to Post-Colonialism' is not simply a departure, but a re-visit and a re-start. 2008 will be exactly 40 years since the heady days of 1968. In fifty years, waves of new social movement and multi-cultural theories have woven a tapestry of rich and clashing colours out of the world's changing social realities. International contemporary art has also benefited from the attention to socio-political issues surrounding identity, race, gender and class. But in fifty years, revolutionary concepts have also transformed into leading discourses safely guarded by 'political correctness'. Post-colonial discourse's analysis of the power structure within cultural expressions has triggered a series of cultural resistance, as well as the construction of the self as the Subject in relation to the Other. However, this kind of analysis and construction has also adversely developed an institutionalised pluralistic landscape (a multi-cultural 'managerialism') that has today turned into a new form of stereotyping. In this Triennial we wish to draw attention to the 'political correctness at large' that is the result of the power play of multi-culturalism, identity politics and post-colonial discourse. Urgent issues facing curatorial practice today are: How do we establish an 'ethics of difference' within the framework of difference in cultural production? How do we prevent a 'tyranny of the Other' without sacrificing the grounds already gained against the power status quo? For some years major international contemporary exhibitions around the world have worked towards building up 'discursive sites for a cacophony of voices' and 'negotiated spaces of diverse values', emphasising 'correctness' in cultural politics; these have inadvertently succeeded to the neglect of independent pursuit of artistic creativity and alternative imaginative worlds. Concepts of identity, multiplicity and difference are now slowly losing their edge to become new restrictions for artistic practice. In response to this, the curatorial team of The Third Guangzhou Triennial wants to bring attention to the 'limits of multi-culturalism', and say 'Farewell to Post-Colonialism'. By saying 'Farewell to Post-Colonialism' we call for the renovation of the theoretical interface of contemporary art, to depart from its all pervasive socio-political discourse, and work together with artists and critics to discover new modes of thinking and develop new analytical tools for dealing with today's world. The curators hope this Triennial will be a process of discovery for ourselves; not just the fulfilling of preconceived ideas. Instead of claiming what this Triennial 'is', we wish to find out what it should not be. This Triennial may be understood as a locus of questions for the international art world, starting with an Exercise in Negation and a Questionnaire about art. We hope artists and critics will work with us to discover what new modes and imaginative worlds are possible for art beyond the boundaries of socio-political discourses.

Culled from the triennal website.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

New Journal Calls for Papers

ULI: Journal of Visual Arts and Culture, Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka


ULI: Journal of Visual Arts and Culture is a referred academic bi-annual publication of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (visit It is to be published in June and December each year electronically and, occasionally, in hard copies.

The publication aims to critique and document contemporary developments in the visual arts and culture of Nigeria, Africa and the world. It shall open up and sustain debate on issues in Nigerian and international art as a way of contributing to art scholarship and professionalism in the so-called Third World.

Well-researched papers are invited for the first issue to be published in December 2008. Historical, critical, art educational, and other scholarly articles on modern and postmodern tendencies in the art and visual culture of Africa are welcome, as well as reviews, interviews and portfolios.

Articles should be typed and double-spaced on A4 paper and should not exceed 20 pages. Reference should conform to the Harvard style. Photographs and illustrations should be clear enough for print reproduction; poor quality photographs will not be accepted.

Submissions can be sent in hard copy by post or in soft copy via e-mail. Although materials are accepted all year round, the deadline for submission for the maiden issue is 31st November, 2008.

All correspondences to:
Dr. Ozioma Onuzulike
Department of Fine and Applied Arts,
University of Nigeria,

Monday, 14 July 2008

July Art Talks At Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos

The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos has initiated a dynamic platform for visual art and culture discussions since opening its doors in January 2008. We have had artists, critics, writers, curators and funders talking about their work, their ideas and sharing their skills and knowledge base with us.

CCA,Lagos continues in its aims to build a strong education and public programme that reaches out to the widest audience possible. We aim to actively encourage debate and critical discourse that engages with topical issues that affect our society specifically and the world in general. To fulfil our objectives we invite local, African and international guest speakers to talk on a wide ranges of themes and issues concerning contemporary art and culture.

In July and August 2008 CCA, Lagos continues its public programme with talks by US based Nigerian art historian and writer, Professor Nkiru Nzegwu, American curators Lisa Binder and Kinsey Katchka and Italian doctoral research candidate Giulia Paoletti.

Friday 18th July 3.00 pm - 5.00 pm

Dr Nkiru Nzegwu.

Title: Art and

Dr Nzegwu will talk about Africa as a repository for cultural equity. She will highlight the ways in which over the past ten years Africa has developed multiple cultural products such Africa House a physical structure with galleries, meeting rooms and café, but also e-assets such as Ijele an ejournal and West Africa Review among others.

Dr Nzegwu is a philosopher, art historian and the Chair, Africana Studies Dept, University of New York, Binghamton, USA. Her areas of expertise include African aesthetics, philosophy, African feminist issues. She is the editor of Contemporary Textures, Multidimensionality in Nigerian art and also Issues in Contemporary African Art. She is also the editor of Ijele Art ejournal, African World and West African Review.


Saturday 19th of July 2.00 pm – 5.30pm

Giulia Paoletti 2.00 pm -3.30pm

Title: Representation of the African Metropolis: A case study.

Giulia Paoletti will start with an introduction into some of the key questions surrounding the role of photography within the visuals arts. She will then talk about representation of the city taking the Nigerian photography collective Depth of Field (DoF) as a case study.

Giulia Paoletti is a doctoral candidate in Contemporary African art at Columbia University, New York, USA. She has also written for several leading international art magazines and journals.

Lisa Binder 3.45 – 5.00

Title: Lubumbashi in Layers: The Photography of Sammy Baloji

This talk will consider how to curate an exhibition about a place one has never visited. It will use as its point of departure Sammy Baloji's photography and video which are concerned with history and memory in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Wastelands of Memory the artist digitally combined archival images of industrial sites from the 1920s and 1930s with current documentation of decaying towns in the same locations. The resulting works create visual collages of time and place.

An open discussion about curating exhibitions will follow the talk.

Lisa Binder is Assistant Curator at the Museum for African Art (MfAA) New York, USA. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of East Anglia (UEA),United Kingdom where her research focused on contemporary African art in the London art market.


Wednesday of 23rd of July 2008

Dr Kinsey Katchka 3.30 pm – 5.30pm

Curating art from “elsewhere”: American museums & global contemporary arts
Dr. Katchka
will address American museums’ collection and exhibition practice with respect to work by contemporary artists from regions other than Europe and the United States. She will focus primarily on artists from Africa.

Dr. Katchka is Associate Curator of contemporary and modern art at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Her cross-disciplinary interests in art history, anthropology and cultural studies, along in-depth fieldwork on the continent, have informed past and current curatorial projects at the North Carolina Museum of Art such as Far from Home (2007-2008), Julie Mehretu: City Sitings (2008), Lalla Essaydi: Revision (2010-2011), Cairo Contemporary (2012) and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (Insights: Selected Artists from the Contemporary Collection (2004); Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora (2003).


Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos
9 McEwen Street, Off Queen Street, Sabo,
Opp Methodist Church, Herbert Macaulay St, Lagos.

Telephone 0702 8367106

Sunday, 13 July 2008

CONGRATULATIONS to Dineo Bopape, the new young lady of SA art

Dineo Bopape, arte bitchi, 2008
The latest news from the MTN Foundation webpage is that Artist Dineo Bopape has been unanimously declared the winner of the MTN New Contemporaries Award 2008. She receives R50 000 in cash, while the finalists Daniel Halter, Themba Shibase and Michael MacGarry have each won R5,000.

The developmental nature of this competition is structured to meet the purpose for which the MTN New Contemporaries Award is designed: to locate talented young artists who have not yet received critical acclaim but who are positioned to be leaders in the art field.

In 2008 Soweto-born contemporary art specialist, Melissa Mboweni was the curator. Her selection is already making an impact on the contemporary art scene. As she puts it, ‘I am pleased and honored, after an exhaustive research of the country’s top emerging young artists, to present the four finalists. Their works do not only reflect the social, historical and philosophical issues of the day, but also present new attitudes and ideas, and in so doing convey the aspirations of the next generation. It is a privilege to work with an organisation like MTN SA Foundation, which recognises the need to encourage creative individuals who will drive South Africa’s cultural environment in the future.’

The judges were Khwezi Gule, Nathi Gumede, Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa, Kathryn Smith and Annali Cabano-Dempsey, selected their winner.

Dineo Bopape, Itchy Fairy 2007

Culled from MTN Press room

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Namibian Artists on the Move

Press Release

08 July 2008

For immediate release!

“shared experiences”

Stipend Program for Visual Artists

Announcing the Jury Selection

Sometimes great things start with a small dream, a healthy portion of passion and lots of hard work...

“It is with great happiness and gratitude that I would like to announce the selection of the first Namibian visual artists for the “shared experiences” stipend program.” says Imke Rust, director of berlin-windhoek gGmbH. “At the end of 2006 I have been on a stipend program in Berlin and expressed my desire that more Namibian artists should have such an opportunity.Together with Oliver Schruoffeneger and the help of many supportive people, institutions and sponsors the “shared experiences” artistic exchange project was launched and we spent much time and work in making this dream a reality. Exactly two years after my DAAD stipend in Berlin, the first artists will fly to Germany with the generous support of Air Namibia. They will receive a stipend covering living and working costs, and will be guests of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien and the BBK in Berlin for several months.”

Jost Kirsten
Many artists followed the official call for applications in May this year, and the international jury that consisted of Berlin and Windhoek art professionals, had a difficult task to select the most deserving candidates, namely Mr Jost Kirsten, Mr Kaleb Haipinge, Ms Cristina Savoldi and Mr Kleopas Nghikefelwa.

Jost Kirsten has been selected for the prestigious residency in the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, where he will have his own studio space for a year and can work towards a solo exhibition to be held in Berlin. He commented that it was a happy surprise for him to hear that he has been selected. He is looking forward to showing his works in Germany, something he would not be able to do without a residency program like this, since his works are very big and extremely expensive to transport to other countries. “It is a great way to measure my art within European standards and get a feeling for the art market in a foreign country. I am very excited to spend a hopefully productive and stimulating year in Berlin!” says Kirsten.

Kleopas Nghikefelwa

The other three artists will spend between two and four months at the BBK (Professional Artists Association of Berlin) and have the opportunity to work at their sculpture or printmaking workshops. This stipend is aimed at giving upcoming artists a glimpse of the international art world and its possibilities. It is hoped that this will have a positive and inspiring impact on their future careers as professional artists.

Cristina Savoldi and Kaleb Haipinge berlin-windhoek, their sponsors and the judges would like to congratulate the selected artists and wish them a creative and stimulating time in Berlin. Thank you to all artists who have applied. The next invitation for applications for the stipend program 2009/10 will be announced in the media in due course.

The residency program is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors: Air Namibia, Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin, Tagesspiegel, Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen and German Embassy in Namibia.

(Imke Rust)