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Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

Shannen Hill

Apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning ‘separateness’, was a system of racial segregation in South Africa that curtailed the economic, political, and social rights of black, coloured, and Indian people. Enforced through the legislation of the National Party, apartheid was the rule of the land between 1948 and 1994. Apartheid affected art and art-making in three primary areas: expressions of nationalism; limited access to education and commercial art markets for black, coloured, and Indian artists; and articulations of political resistance to this system of governance.

Although apartheid is equated with the 20th century, its notions of segregation predate this period. As descendants of Dutch settlers who first settled in southern Africa in 1651, Afrikaners were long at odds with people indigenous to this region and with British and German imperialists who sought to colonize it in the 19th century. In Afrikaner lore, the Great Trek (1835–52) represents the spirit of struggle to claim a land in the name of God. The pilgrimage was driven by a desire both to civilize a so-called heathen place through the introduction of Christianity and to establish a republic free of English intrusion in the heartland. This spirit is embodied by Pioneers (...

Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Constantine, Algeria, Jan 23, 1913; d Paris, Feb 12, 1960).

French painter, lithographer and writer. The Jewish intellectual milieu in which he grew up led to his interest in philosophy and religion, and from 1930 to 1934 he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, however, he was confronted with modern painting for the first time, and his interest in poetry was awakened. Recognizing a means of expressing his interest in magical phenomena, in 1941 he began to paint and write poetry. His activity in the Résistance and his Jewish ancestry led to his arrest in 1942; by pleading insanity he was able to save himself but was confined to the Sainte Anne asylum, where he wrote poetry and painted. In the autumn of 1944, shortly after leaving the asylum, his first and only collection of poems, Le Sang profond, was published, and he exhibited drawings at the Galerie Arc en Ciel.

During the immediate post-war years Atlan’s work was well received in Paris. He had a one-man show in ...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Dec 8, 1956).

Ethiopian painter, installation artist, graphic designer, and writer, active in the USA. She grew up in Addis Ababa in a family of painters before moving to the USA. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, with a BFA in painting (1975) and returned in 1994 for an MFA. Her early works, based on dreams or visions, have richly textured surfaces. In the 1980s she abandoned her early palette of reds, ochres, and greens for one of purples and blues. Later paintings depict an urban environment and frequently evoke the feeling of dislocation and nostalgia that comes from living in a country that is not one’s own. Her use of themes and motifs from myriad cultures (including those of Ethiopia and Latin America) comes out of her experiences as a diasporic subject as well as the lives of the women around her. Her pieces often tell their stories, as in the Dream Dancers series (...

Article

South African, 20th century, male.

Painter, writer.

Breytenbach was an anti-apartheid militant and was imprisoned for seven years in Pollsmoor near the Cape. Since he was not allowed to paint, he wrote novels and drew secretly with matches and soap. His painting, both before and after his imprisonment, shows remarkable continuity, as though he had simply taken up the brush again with increased violence and greater irony. His use of colour makes the images more incisive in a Surrealist style....

Article

James P. W. Thompson

(b La Rochelle, Oct 24, 1820; d Saint-Maurice, Aug 27, 1876).

French painter and writer. The wide skies and sweeping plains of his native Charente region left him with a love of natural beauty for which he later found affinities in Algeria and the Netherlands. From his youth he showed academic intelligence, literary talent and artistic aptitude. In 1839 he was sent to Paris to study law, but he became increasingly interested in drawing. Although his father, a skilled amateur artist who had studied with Jean-Victor Bertin, never became reconciled to his son’s desire to pursue painting as a career, Fromentin was sent to study with the Neo-classical landscape painter Jean-Charles-Joseph Rémond (1795–1875); however, he preferred the more naturalistic Nicolas-Louis Cabat. Fromentin developed slowly as an artist and began to show real promise as a landscape draughtsman only in the early to mid-1840s. He published his first important piece of criticism on the Salon of 1845.

From 3 March to ...

Article

Betsy Cogger Rezelman

(b Cahirconlish, Co. Limerick, Aug 28, 1847; d Penzance, Cornwall, June 22, 1926).

Irish painter and writer. He attempted various professions, including diamond-mining and journalism in South Africa (1872–7), before becoming an artist. At the Koninklijke Academie, Antwerp (1878–80), under Charles Verlat, in Paris (1881–4) as a student of Carolus-Duran and in Venice (1885) Garstin became friends with future Newlyn school painters. Saint’s House and Field, Tangier (1885; Plymouth, City Mus. & A.G.), a small oil panel painted en plein air, exemplifies both the medium and the suggestive approach he preferred throughout his career. In 1886 he married and settled in Newlyn and then Penzance (1890). Financial pressures forced him to produce portraits and such large anecdotal genre scenes as Her Signal (exh. RA 1892; Truro, Co. Mus. & A.G.) for which his talents for simplified forms and surface design were less well suited. Though he exhibited widely, he received little recognition. Garstin supplemented his income by writing, lecturing, teaching and, from ...

Article

Anne-Marie Delage

(b Paris, March 25, 1840; d Paris, March 14, 1887).

French painter and writer. He was a student of François-Edouard Picot, Alexandre Abel de Pujol and Félix Barrias. After failing to win the Prix de Rome in historical landscape in 1861, he impulsively visited Algeria the following year; this journey, which he repeated ten times, determined his development as an Orientalist painter. He was a regular exhibitor at the Salon from 1861 where his combination of picturesque realism and academic composition was positively received by the State as illustrative of its Algerian policies (e.g. Evening Prayer in the Sahara, 1863; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay).

The Sahara (1867; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay), which depicts a camel skeleton in a desolate desert landscape, is an important 19th-century example of vanitas painting and evinces a philosophical strain in Guillaumet’s work. In the Labours series (1869–76) he brought out the poetic quality of the remote duars of Algeria and imbued his Orientalism with unusual naturalistic touches. After ...

Article

Moroccan, 20th century, male.

Born 25 February 1951, in Casablanca; died 15 June 2006, in Casablanca.

Painter, engraver, art critic.

Abdelmajid Hannaoui studied economic science at the University of Casablanca. He painted bold figurative motifs in gouache in an expressionist style. He also produced large-scale works including a fresco of 5 metres by 2 metres for the 1er Salon de la Jeune Peinture Marocaine in Mohammedia in ...

Article

Mary Ann Braubach

(b Cape Town, 1948).

South African painter, printmaker, curator, lecturer, and art critic. Jantjes graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 1969. Classified as coloured under apartheid and living a restricted life in South Africa, he accepted a scholarship in 1970 to study art at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg, graduating in 1972. A founder of the German anti-apartheid movement, Jantjes remained in Hamburg after his training. His artwork refers to the struggle against apartheid.

Jantjes’s best-known work, A South African Colouring Book (1974–5) is a vehement critique of apartheid. The series of 11 prints mimics a child’s colouring book as a means of criticizing apartheid’s race classification system. The print Classify this Coloured makes use of the artist’s own passbook, a required identity card for all coloureds and blacks. His hand-written text explains apartheid’s three racial classes—black, coloured, and white. The print Colour these People Dead...

Article

Bolaji V. Campbell

[dele]

(b Ikere-Ekiti, April 19, 1945).

Nigerian painter, cartoonist and art historian. He attended Yaba College of Technology (1965–9) and received his BA from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1973), winning the Nigerian Arts Council Prize for Best Final Year Student. He was art editor for the Daily Times of Nigeria from 1974 to 1977 and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Lagos in 1977. His early paintings depict scenes from Nigerian life and villages and reveal emotional and psychological insights into his subjects. He obtained an MA (1981) and PhD (1983) in art history from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and in 1982 won first prize for the Evan F. Lilly Memorial History of Art Lecture Series there. In the late 1980s he served as president of the Society of Nigerian Artists, and in 1996–7 he was president of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association.

Trends in Contemporary Nigerian Art: A Historical Analysis...

Article

Shannen Hill

(Nthubu)

(b Alexandra, June 5, 1938).

South African painter, draughtsman, and curator. He studied art at Bill Ainslie Studios, Johannesburg (1974–7), and earned a diploma in 1985 in museum studies at the University of London. The Vaal University of Technology awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 2008. Energized by the South African Black Consciousness movement, he co-founded The Gallery in 1977 with Hugh Nolutshungu and Zulu Bidi. He was Head of Fine Arts (1982–3) and curator (1986–8) at the Federative Union of Black Artists (FUBA). Inspired by his 1983 participation in New York’s Triangle Workshop, he and Bill Ainslie (1934–89) founded the Thupelo Art Project in 1985, an annual workshop that provided space for artists and enabled the exchange of ideas and experimentation with new materials. In 1991 he co-founded Fordsburg Artists’ Studios (aka The Bag Factory), an important artists’ collective in Johannesburg, where he is Honorary Director. Originally a representational artist, his work of the 1970s critically examined the lives of township residents in an abstract style that departed from the sanitized versions popularly collected at the time. His drip paintings of this period, such as ...

Article

Mozambican, 20th century, male.

Born 6 June 1936, in Matalana.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, potter, sculptor, poet. Murals.

Valente Ngwenya Malangatana is a major figure in 20th century Mozambican culture. He was initiated into traditional healing practices when he was a young man, beginning to draw in ...

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(José Sobral de)

(b Cape Verde, April 7, 1893; d Lisbon, June 15, 1970).

Portuguese painter, draughtsman and writer. His early caricatures attracted the attention of the poet Fernando Pessoa whose posthumous portrait he painted in 1954 (Lisbon, Câmara Mun.; replica, 1964, Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). He choreographed, designed and danced in a number of ballets (1915–19), before spending a year (1919–20) in Paris. In 1925 two of his paintings were among those chosen to hang in the Lisbon café A Brasileira. After returning to Lisbon from a sojourn in Madrid (1927–32), he married in 1934 the painter Sara Affonso with whom he portrayed himself in a double portrait (1934–6; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). He retained the sinuous, elegant quality of his line which in the 1930s and 1940s owed a great deal to Picasso.

Almada’s most important pictorial projects were frescoes (see Portugal, fig.) for the two principal quays of the port of Lisbon: the Gare Marítima de Alcântara (...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Khemis Miliana, 1948).

Algerian painter, installation artist and poet, active in England. She studied art and music in Algeria and at the Camden Art Centre and Croydon College of Art, both London, after moving to England in 1979. Her politics were informed by the Algerian war for independence and her experiences in Europe. Her work, exhibited in the USA and Europe, addresses European artistic treatments of African peoples, for example the Orientalist paintings of Delacroix and French colonial postcards; she reworked Delacroix’s figures, for instance, presenting a different reading of the female body. In an effort to engage her audience fully, she has produced multi-media and multi-sensory works. Her installations included video, sound recordings and photographs, and she often recited poetry and sang traditional songs at her exhibitions. Her paintings present layers of bright colours, with the darkest, top layer often scraped off to reveal those beneath. This scratching creates vital, dynamic lines that produce powerful effects on the viewer. She combines the visual traditions of West Africa, Algeria, Egypt and Europe in a critique of colonial and post-independence rule; her subject-matter also included representations of women and their treatment....

Article

Chika Okeke

(b Aba, 1964).

Nigerian painter, installation artist, art historian and poet. He carried out undergraduate studies work (1981–6) and some graduate work (1987–9) at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. There he trained with Obiora Udechukwu, whose influence can be seen in Oguibe's use of uli, nsibidi and mbari motifs (see under Ejagham and Africa §V 3.). From 1986 to 1987 he taught at the Federal College of Education, Abeokuta. He also wrote poetry and in 1992 won the Christopher Okigbo All-Africa Prize for A Gathering Fear. He spent 1990 as an artist-in-residence in Bayreuth, Germany, and 1994 in Friebourg. He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, receiving a PhD in art history in 1992. Between 1995 and 1999 he taught art history at the University of Chicago and the University of South Florida, Tampa.

In the early 1980s his work comprised painted mats and cane meshes, but he returned to watercolour and acrylic while in London, and in the 1990s he moved increasingly towards installation and conceptual art. Compositionally, some of his paintings were inspired by Fante flags and mbari murals, with patterned borders and simple motifs in the centre of the picture plane. Often confrontational, his pieces address the politics of art as well as the Nigerian world. His installation pieces, for example, evoked memories and experiences of the Biafran war (the Nigerial civil war). His work of the mid- to late-1990s is multivalent, its meanings less fixed and its messages less direct. He is also a prolific writer on contemporary African art....

Article

Bolaji V. Campbell

(b Oyo, Feb 25, 1956).

Nigerian painter and art historian, active in the USA. In 1982 he began teaching at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, and was co-founder of Ona, an artist's group in Ile-Ife. While in Nigeria, he experimented with indigenous materials, developing a painting technique that he refers to as ‘terrachroma’, in which local soils are used as pigments, and the images on board are based on Yoruba beliefs and aesthetics. He drew particularly on shrine painting and deities as inspiration and mythology for abstract works. Okediji received an MFA from the University of Benin and a PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1995). In his paintings of the mid-1990s, he changed his palette from subdued earth tones to much brighter colours. Line is still important, helping to maintain the dynamism created by the juxtaposition of complementary hues; multiple figures ‘swim’ in the images. The change in palette as well as subject-matter reflects his experiences in America and contact with African-American artists. These works are largely based in literary sources. Okediji became editor of the journal ...

Article

(b Nimo, April 30, 1933).

Nigerian painter, sculptor, illustrator and poet. After attending Bishop Shanahan Secondary School, Orlu (1950–53), he received a degree in Fine Arts from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria (1957–61). In 1958 he founded the Asele Institute in Kafanchan for research in Nigerian art and culture. In the 1960s he was a member of the Ibadan Mbari Club, and a few years later formed the Enugu branch of Mbari that became a centre for artists of the Eastern region. His interest in Nigerian visual culture, especially that of his own Ibgo people, was most evident in his attention to and use of uli patterns (see Africa §V 3.) in his works, such as Oja Suite (1962; Nimo, Asele Inst.). He employed these organic, gestural lines to depict Igbo folktales as well as to produce the later Munich Suite (1963) during his travels in Germany. He was a founding member of the Zaria Art Society, which sought to create a Nigerian artistic expression based on a synthesis of indigenous and foreign art traditions. In ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Cape Verde, Dec 9, 1909; d Lisbon, Aug 17, 1966).

Portuguese painter, poet, critic and theatre director. Having studied aesthetics under Charles Lalo (1877–1953) and history of art under Henri-Joseph Focillon at the Sorbonne, he returned to Lisbon where, in 1932, he edited the magazine Revolução and became the director of the first Portuguese gallery of modern art, which was known as U.P. He was one of the signatories of the Manifeste dimensioniste in 1935. Between 1926 and 1939 he published 11 volumes of poetry as well as various critical articles.

Pedro’s paintings reflect his literary interests in their stress on the strange, poetic and monstrous, for example Romantic Intervention (1940; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). In 1940 his exhibition in Lisbon with António Dacosta and the English sculptress Pamela Bowden was seen as the first national manifestation of Surrealism. In 1942 he published a semi-autobiographical illustrated text Apenas una narrativa (‘Just a narrative’). Also in 1942, he edited the shortlived magazine ...