DAK’ART – Biennial of Contemporary African Art will be held from 28 May to 28 June 2020 in Dakar, under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Senegal. This fourteenth edition, which marks the biennial’s 30th anniversary, will have the general theme Ĩ’Ndaffa / Out of the fire.
Ĩ’Ndaffa, in Serer language, means to forge. It is a verb that denotes the dynamics and the action of creating, recreating and kneading. This general theme refers to the creation of a new and autonomous world, which nourishes the diversity of contemporary African creativities, while projecting new ways of telling and approaching Africa, in a constant dialogue and interaction with the rest of the world.
The call for applications to the biennial’s International Exhibition is open from 1 July to 15 September 2019. It is open to all artists from Africa and the Diaspora, working across all aesthetic mediums and contemporary art forms.
Applications are to be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and by post before 15 September 2019 to Secrétariat général de la Biennale de Dakar, 19 avenue Hassan II, 1er Etage, BP: 3865 Dakar, SENEGAL.
The African Critical Inquiry Programme has named Bronwyn Kotzen and Ngozi May Okafor as recipients of the 2019 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards. Kotzen is a South African student pursuing her PhD in Human Geography at the University of Cape Town. Okafor is a Nigerian student doing her degree at the Centre for Visual Art at University of KwaZulu-Natal. Support from ACIP’s Ivan Karp Awards will allow each to do significant research for their dissertations. Kotzen will do research in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria for her project, Abstracting the Concrete: Tracing the Political Economy of Infrastructure in Africa Through a Study of Cement. Okafor’s research for her project Firing: Exploring the Ceramic Process as Rite of Passage will include work with Zulu potters in South Africa and Ushafa potters in Nigeria, as well as her own creative ceramic work. Founded in 2012, the African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) is a partnership between the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape in Cape Town and the Laney Graduate School of Emory University in Atlanta. Supported by donations to the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund, the ACIP fosters thinking and working across public cultural institutions, across disciplines and fields, and across generations. It seeks to advance inquiry and debate about the roles and practice of public culture, public cultural institutions, and public scholarship in shaping identities and society in Africa through an annual ACIP Workshop and through the Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards, which support African doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences enrolled at South African universities.
About Bronwyn Kotzen’s project: For the first time since post-WWII industrial modernization, the significance of infrastructure has emerged as a point of broad consensus for critiques of untenable models of current economic growth. This has marked a radical global policy shift to development at the urban-scale, which Africa has only recently begun to mirror. Yet, the complex and interconnected geo-political and economic forces that drive Africa’s urban development and produce its infrastructures remain largely obscured. This project seeks to read contemporary processes of infrastructural development in Africa through the material lens of cement in order to formulate a much- needed post-neoliberal interrogation of African urban development. Second only to water, concrete is the most widely consumed substance on earth. As concrete’s raw material, cement is the foundation of modern development and is therefore the project’s primary site of investigation. The research moves beyond individual localised sites and cases to draw out generalisable patterns of development at a regional level, outside of the particularities of place and time. Pan-African cement flows are traced as a ‘matter’ of the political economy of infrastructure. This offers a reading of the continent not as a bounded geographical location but rather as series of spatio-temporal interconnections that make visible the myriad of global influences, relations, and shifting formations of development hierarchies. Combining politics and economics with geography and materiality reveals the far-reaching and connected places and powers of which Africa is composed. Working across disciplines and registers, Abstracting the Concrete attempts to advance the theory, method, and critique of infrastructure in the postcolonial world, toward recalibrating a meaningful African urban studies agenda.
About Ngozi May Okafor’s project: In many societies, the practices of pottery-making and initiation rites seem to be in decline. Researchers of both rites of passage and pottery (together with its broader category, ceramics), therefore, continually seek new ways of interpreting the practices in order to sustain and enliven them. My interest in the processes of pottery making among indigenous potters has led me to go beyond the finished product to reconsider the performative ‘art’ and ‘act’ of creating potteries. In several native cultures, the process of creating pottery is likened to childbirth; it can also suggest a people’s state of being. Furthermore, pottery wares are seen as having humanoid qualities. What relationships exist between pottery and rites of passage? With the growing need to creatively design rites that mark individual and group transitions from one state of being to another, how can those relationships inform creativity in passage rituals? Moreover, what creative ideas might those relationships stimulate for self-expressions through installation and performance? Combining my practice as a ceramic artist and research with Zulu potters in South Africa and Ushafa potters in Nigeria (both of whom also practice initiation rites), this study will explore possible parallels between pottery/ceramics and rites of passage, with a focus on their transitional phases – firing and liminality, respectively. Contextual and documentary reviews, fieldwork, and studio experiments will be the methods of data collection. Deploying rites of passage theories, Firing: Exploring the Ceramic Process as Rite of Passage shall bring fresh perspectives to the ways in which ceramics practice can be viewed, re-interpreted, and also present broader narratives for self-expressions. The project will result in both a written dissertation as well as an exhibition and catalogue of visual art works resulting from the study’s creative explorations.
Information about the 2020 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards for African students enrolled in South African Ph.D. programmes will be available in November 2019. The application deadline is 1 May 2020.
For further information, see http://www.gs.emory.edu/about/special/acip.html and https://www.facebook.com/ivan.karp.corinne.kratz.fund.
The African Studies Association is pleased to announce that they are accepting nominations for the following awards and prizes in 2019. All applications are due April 30, 2019.
The ASA Book Prize (Herskovits Prize) is awarded to the author of the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English during the preceding year..
The ASA Program Cover Art Prize recognizes the best artwork submitted that directly addresses the Annual Meeting theme. This year’s theme is “Being, Belonging, and Becoming in Africa”.
The ASA Film Prize recognizes an outstanding film, whether fiction or documentary, made in the preceding two calendar years by an African filmmaker.
The Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize is awarded to the author of the best book on East African Studies published in the previous calendar year.
The Distinguished Africanist Award recognizes a lifetime of distinguished contributions to African studies. Deadline for nominations: April 30.
The Paul Hair Prize is presented every two years and is awarded to the best critical edition or translation into English of primary source materials on Africa published during the preceding two years.
The Gretchen Walsh Book Donation Award offers an annual grant program to assist book donation projects with shipping costs to send books to African libraries and schools.
A great tree has fallen. Akan proverb
Today we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man. Professor Christopher Damon Roy passed away early on the morning of Sunday, February 10 in Iowa City, surrounded by his immediate family. Chris was born September 30, 1947, in Ogdensburg, New York, to Margaret Adam Snow and George Robert Roy. He and his wife, Nora Leonard Roy, were married at the Hôtel de Ville, Ouagadougou, Upper Volta, on September 26, 1970. He leaves his beloved wife, Nora; his son, Nicholas Spencer Roy (Jill Scott); his daughter, Megan Deirdre Roy (John Dolci), and granddaughter, Sylvia Elizabeth Dolci; his sister, Robin Roy Katz (Michael Katz) and nephew Teddy Katz; his brother, Matthew Roy (Caroline Darlington Roy); nieces Katelin and Emily, and nephews Robby and Chris. Those close to Chris will remember him well for his sincere warmth, delightful wit, and bold sense of humor. Always approaching life with a sense of adventure, his robust energy and fascination with the world was contagious during his forty-one years at the University of Iowa.
Throughout his career, Chris devoted much of his attention to the arts of Burkina Faso and the Max and Betty Stanley Collection of African art. His writing on the Thomas G.B. Wheelock Collection is well known, and many will remember him for his catalog on the Bareiss Family Collection. Over the years, he contributed regularly to African Arts, where he published on his research in Burkina, reviewed exhibitions, and engaged in current debates. His 1980 review of Traditional Sculpture from Upper Volta remains one of the sharpest critiques in the field. In 2015, he published his most recent book, Mossi: Diversity in the Art of a West African People,as well as an essay, “The Art Market in Burkina Faso: A Personal Recollection,” included in Silvia Forni and Christopher Steiner’s Africa in the Market: Twentieth-Century Art from the Amrad Collection. His Art of the Upper Volta Rivers (1987) remains a standard text on the subject.
In addition to this, Chris produced over twenty self-narrated video recordings on the arts of Africa, and all are freely accessibly online. He and Linda McIntyre released Art & Life in Africa (ALA) as a CD-ROM in 1997 and sold thousands of copies throughout North America. In 2014, he worked with Dr. Catherine Hale and Cory Gundlach to redevelop ALA as a website, which has had nearly 500,000 users. As a leader in his field, Chris founded and directed the UI Project for Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa (PASALA), which provided scholarships for graduate course work and research in Africa, as well as conferences and publications on African art.
Chris’s impact as a professor was no less remarkable. Every fall semester, twice a week, nearly 300 students packed the largest lecture hall at Art Building West to attend his survey course on African art. High enrollment was common for his all courses, as he was a gifted storyteller and he understood the power of keeping his students entertained with occasional humor. A long history of work with the Stanley Museum of Art supported his object-oriented approach to teaching, which he complemented with a social history of art. He oversaw the completion of fifteen doctoral dissertations, and many of his former students are now employed in major institutions throughout the country.
From 1985 to 1995 at the Stanley Museum of Art, Chris served as curator of the arts of Africa, the Pacific, and Pre-Columbian America. He curated fourteen exhibitions during his university career among museums in Iowa, China, Austria, and Germany. Scholars reviewed his exhibitions at the Stanley Museum positively for the way in which artistic quality drove his motivations for selection and display, and for the way in which he treated attribution carefully.
Beyond his scholarship, teaching, multi-media projects and exhibitions, Chris’s YouTube videos on art and life in Africa have reached perhaps the widest audience, with more than 10,000 subscribers and over four million viewers worldwide. It is encouraging to think that the world is a better place because of Chris and all of those touched by his warmth and brilliance.
To contribute to the Christopher D. Roy Memorial Fund, go to www.givetoiowa.org/2019la98. This fund will give UI art history students the opportunity to gain valuable intern experience at the Stanley Museum of Art.
by Cory Gundlach
UI Stanley Museum of Art
It is difficult to speak about Bisi in the past tense! Bisi Silva was born in Lagos in 1962 and died on the 12 of February, 2019. She was the founder and artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Lagos established in 2007. In the 11 years of its existence, her Centre became ‘the’ Centre of art in Nigeria. Bisi centred the discourse on contemporary African art on the continent and brought several international scholars, artists and curators to Nigeria. Her Centre became a gateway for establishing connections between local artists and international audiences. It brought joy, laughter and professional fulfilment to many. Bisi lived a short but purposeful life. She brought to the art scene a high-level of professionalism and impacted both young and old artists through her unique exhibitions and artists talks/programmes. She was a scholar and curator extraordinaire and internationally recognised for her immense contribution to art scholarship. She developed the art of photography, video art and other aspects of new media which were largely underserved in Nigeria at the time.
She transformed the careers of a good number of artists and curators from all over the world. She will be fondly remembered for the Asiko curatorial school. At home, Bisi made it possible for young art graduates to think of establishing careers as curators. She supported several art programmes in different parts of Nigeria and endowed prizes for the best entries in the arts at national competitions. She made donations to many art programmes and projects. Bisi curated several local and international exhibitions and biennales, too numerous to mention here.
Bisi was simple, kind hearted and generous. She was beautiful, well spoken, talented, focused, bold and fearless. She spoke strongly against mediocrity and disrespect for women and expressed her views freely. She was a lover of books. She developed the most comprehensive library of art books in the country. The Centre and library located in Yaba, Lagos was in close proximity to the major art schools in Lagos which made it accessible to many college students. Indeed, the Centre benefited from this pool of students who served in different capacities in administering it. Despite her busy schedule, she found time to give lectures in schools, carry out portfolio reviews and visit exhibition and talks. Here was a scholar who gave her all to the development of art in Nigeria.
What a life full of achievements! She will be missed by the global community of artists. Asiko, the name of her curatorial project means time. Her time is up, but her legacy continues!
Olabisi Silva, Odigba, Sun re o. Rest in peace.
By Peju Layiwola, ACASA Board President Elect / VP
Friends, by now you may have heard the very sad news: Polly Nooter Roberts has passed. She went peacefully in her sleep the night of September 11-12 after living with stage four metastatic breast cancer (MBC) for more than eight years. She is mother to three and grandmother, daughter of Nancy and Robert H. Nooter, and the loving wife of Dr. Allen Roberts, with whom she regularly forged new research. We extend our deep sympathies to the Nooter and Roberts families.
A recipient of ACASA’s 2017 Leadership Award, Dr. Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts was a giant in the field of African Arts. She was Professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA and Consulting Curator for African Arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She brought a deep appreciation for artistic achievement to her work and great sensitivity to the weight of history on people’s lives. Her brilliant research spanned the continent and its diasporas, but she is best known for concentrated studies of Luba art in the DRC and Sufi arts in Senegal. Institutions and even nations awarded Polly’s ability to translate philosophy, history, and art; strikingly, in 2007 she was decorated as a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France for her promotion of francophone African art. She served ACASA as President and brought our Triennial to the island of St. Thomas, our first venue outside of North America, in 2001. The volume and value of her work is so great that it is impossible to summarize here. Her legacy to critical curatorial practice is profound.
Polly lived a life of purpose and was widely known for her generosity. She described her illness as a “detour” in life and saw it as an opportunity for growth. A leader by nature, Polly embraced the opportunity to advance the research of Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Oncology and aid the community of women living with MBC in Los Angeles. She brought the same positive energy to those endeavors that she brought to our wide community.
Polly radiated warmth. She gave each person her undivided attention, respecting the moment that an encounter offers, and she brought out the best in each of us. She was a woman of grace, poise, and elegance. We will miss her.
ACASA Board Past President
The Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) is inviting members to submit items for the Fall 2018 association newsletter. Items may include announcements for conferences and symposia, calls for papers and proposals, exhibitions, current publications and resources, member news, and upcoming events. DUE DATE: COB September 14, 2018.
Note:Candidate Statements for new Board positions will be available in this issue.
Keywords: acasa newsletter
CAA has announced a Call for Participation in Sessions Soliciting Contributors for the 2019 Annual Conference. See here for panels that directly mention Africa in the abstract. View the entire CFP here. 250-words abstracts to be sent to the panel chairs by August 6th. All speakers notified by August 30th.
Due date: March 15, 2018
The Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) seeks expressions of interest from members whose institutional contacts can host our Eighteenth Triennial Symposium on African Art in 2020. Institutions can be a university, museum, research center, or other venue appropriate for a conference of about 450 participants. Read more…