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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

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

Morgan Falconer

(b Nigeria, 1963).

Nigerian photographer, film maker, installation artist and writer active in Scotland. He studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1981–85), before completing an MA in Media, Fine Art, Theory and Practice at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1996–8). Bamgboyé’s earliest work was photographic: The Lighthouse series (1989; see 1998 book, p. 65) initiated his interest in the representation of black masculinity by depicting his own naked body in often theatrical contortions, amid mundane domestic rooms; the frames of the photographs are attached to coat hangers, underlining the theme of domesticity and pointing to his interest in the changeable character of subjectivity. These themes were further explored in films, which he began to make in 1993: Spells for Beginners (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 74) explores the breakdown of his long-term relationship with a woman through a broken mix of confessional dialogue and fleeting images of their home. The installation of which this film is a part takes the form of an ordinary living room and is typical of Bamgboyé’s technique of adumbrating his imagery with sculptural motifs that emphasize his themes. In other films he explored the issue of migration: ...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Johannesburg, 1972).

South African multi-media artist, active in the USA. She received a BA in fine arts (University of Witwatersrand, 1993), an MA in art history (University of Chicago, 1995), and an MPhil in art history (Columbia University, New York, 1997). She was a fellow of the Whitney Independent Studio Program, New York (1996–7). Her work has been regularly included in biennials (including among others Johannesburg 1995, São Paulo 1998 and Venice (2005)), has been shown extensively in international solo and group exhibitions, and is owned by museums and private collectors throughout the world. In 2007 she was awarded the Prix International d’Art Contemporain by the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco. In photography, video, and installation, Breitz turns an insightful, playful, and critical eye towards issues of representation, identity, media, global capital, consumerism, celebrity, fandom, and language. Her work stretches from the problem of the cult of the individual to the question of how cultural and other forms of identity are established and maintained. In ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958).

Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in 1992 and in 2012 became of Head of Photography at the University of California, Berkeley.

The primary themes in deSouza’s work are those of colonial encounter, seen in Indigena/Assimilado (1998), a photographic series of migrant workers in Los Angeles; migration, as explored in Threshold (1996–8), his early photographic series of airports empty of people; exile, which he explored in ...

Article

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Johannesburg, Sept 7, 1938).

American architect, teacher, historian, and writer of South African birth. Greenberg’s quiet, gentlemanly demeanor reflected the time-honored traditional and classical architecture he created over four decades. His stylistic choices are rooted in research and aesthetics. His fascination with 18th- and 19th-century American architecture is related to its genesis in the American Revolution and the commitment of those architects to expressing American democratic ideals in architectural form.

Greenberg graduated from King Edward VII School, a private preparatory school in Johannesburg, in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1961. Unlike American architecture schools of the period, his training was classically based and included drawing the historic models of Classical and Gothic architecture from memory. During his apprenticeship, he worked with Jørn Utzon in Hellebæk, Denmark, in 1962 during the design phase of the Sydney Opera House. In 1963, he continued his apprenticeship working with both ...

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

Susan Kart

(b Umlazi, Durban, July 19, 1972). South African photographer and video and installation artist. Muholi has identified as a black Zulu lesbian and her artworks engage with her own identity at the same time as they seek to integrate LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) identities into mainstream acceptance in South Africa and elsewhere. Muholi is part of a generation of African artists for whom photography remains a powerful tool for socio-political commentary in the post-colonial and post-apartheid era. In ...

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

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 5 February 1958, in Pretoria.

Printmaker, sculptor, watercolourist, curator.

Joachim Schönfeldt spent his childhood in Windhoek, Namibia, and graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1980. He began his career as a researcher into old African art and curios and spent time during the 1980s as a curator of the Meneghelli Holdings. His work in the field of African curios was seminal to the development of his art, which explores the idea of casting mythical realities on African value systems, involving found objects, multiple-headed animals, and peri-urban local landscapes drawn from photographs of his childhood holidays....

Article

(b Glasgow, Sept 17, 1960).

Scottish photographer and writer, of Ghanaian descent. In 1985 she came to prominence as one of eleven women artists exhibited in The Thin Black Line at the ICA, London, curated by Lubaina Himid. This show marked the first significant breakthrough for contemporary Black and Asian art in a British public gallery. Sulter’s subsequent presentations gained her international recognition: she was awarded the British Telecom New Contemporaries Award 1990 and the Momart Fellowship at the Tate Gallery of Liverpool in 1990. She employed a variety of media in her work, including text, photography, sound recordings and performance. A frequent traveller and a prolific writer as well as artist, she focused her activity on a critical reappraisal of received histories and an assertion of Black cultural heritage. Noted works by Sulter include Zabat (1987; London, V&A), a series of Cibachrome photographic portraits of contemporary Black artists, musicians and writers, posed as a theatre of ancient muses. In ...

Article

Joanna Grabski

[ El Sy ]

(b Dakar, Sept 9, 1954).

Senegalese painter, installation artist, curator and writer. After graduating from the Institut National des Arts du Senegal (1977), where he specialized in painting, he travelled in Africa, Europe and the United States. He played an active role in Dakar’s artistic community, serving as president of the Association Nationale des Artistes Plasticiens du Senegal as well as co-founding the Village des Arts, a cooperative studio space, and Tenq, an artists’ workshop. He won first prize for his mosaic at the Stadium of Friendship, Dakar (1986). Intending to provoke dialogue and commentary, his work challenges conventional modes of production and display. In addition to painting with his feet in the 1970s and 1980s, he painted on such innovative materials as jute sacks and fibreglass cloth used for making kites. His work is characterized by its emphasis on the gestural movement of painting, as seen in the sweeping brushstrokes and curvilinear forms of ...

Article

Chika Okeke

(b Onitsha, June 4, 1946).

Nigerian painter, graphic artist, illustrator and poet. After studying at Central Art School, Onitsha, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1965–6), he received his BA (1972) and MFA (1977) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he studied with Uche Okeke. He worked as a commercial artist and graphic designer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Enugu, and the Ministry of Information, Aba. Among his many honours are the Department of Fine Arts Prize (University of Nigeria, Nsukka), the T. A. Fasuyi Prize for painting, the Commercial Art Cup, the Shell d’Arcy Cup for painting, and the 1990 Association of Nigerian Authors Cadbury Poetry Prize. His interest in artistic communities was a major factor in the foundation of the AKA Circle of Exhibiting Artists (1986). The Biafran Civil War (1967–70) greatly impacted his life and art. At that time he abandoned mimetic naturalism as a style, turning instead to the linear forms and symbols of ...

Article

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Lichfield, Staffordshire, Jan 22, 1941).

South African multimedia artist, art critic, and art historian of English birth. Williamson immigrated to South Africa in 1948. She studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1965 to 1968 and received an Advanced Diploma from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 1983. One of South Africa’s most distinguished artists, she has also served a critical role as an interpreter and disseminator of information about the country’s art scene.

Williamson’s work has consistently engaged with South Africa’s social and historical circumstances. In the 1980s she endeavoured to reveal through images the people and ideas that the apartheid regime worked to suppress. In the series A Few South Africans (1983–5), for example, she produced postcard-sized prints of women engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle, such as Winnie Mandela and Helen Joseph, which could circulate at a time when the women themselves were often prohibited from doing so. ...