The Shift in Contemporary African art

From Emergent Africa Mon Jan 14 2013, 06:00:00

Nana Oforiatta-Ayim in Frieze:

'From Pierneef to Gugulective' South African National Gallery, Cape Town

...The idea of the work of art as part of a process - as moving and living rather than static and fixed - pervades many of the histories of both visual and performing arts in different African contexts. For example, the value of the 19th-century Nigerian Gelede masquerade mask displayed in The British Museum was in its animation. The philosophies implied in the Ayan - the poetry told through the language of the drums of the Akan of Ghana - are of creation-in-process, of the layering of different forms, of visual arts, language and music, of ellipsis rather than elucidations. The understanding of what gave forms their meaning and value in their original context, the witnessing of the challenges, struggles and achievements of individuals and organizations on the continent today, expand all our understanding of how different peoples meet, interpret and explain the world. The statues are no longer dead in their cases. Our histories are no longer mute. The ...

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