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Article

Allison Moore

Nigerian photographer, active also in Britain. Fani-Kayode’s father was both a political leader in the Nigerian parliament and a chief (Balogun) of the city of Ife. He was descended from priests who cared for the shrines at Ife, the spiritual heartland of Yoruba culture. In ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Zagazig, Dec 20, 1906; d Cairo, Feb 21, 1963).

Egyptian historian, sociologist, playwright, literary critic, linguist and art historian. He attended secondary school at the Jesuit Collège de la Sainte-Famille, Cairo, and then pursued his higher education under Ahmad Zaki Pasha in Cairo and at the Sorbonne in Paris under the Orientalists Louis Massignon and Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes. In 1932 he completed two doctoral theses on pre-Islamic Arabia, one on the concept of honour, the other on the nature of linguistic exposition. He travelled widely in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey, and in the 1940s began to dedicate more time to writing plays, short stories and literary criticism. He was also editor of the literary journal Al-Muqtaṭaf and researched Egyptian folklore. From 1948 he was consultant to the Egyptian delegation to UNESCO and from 1958 secretary-general of the French Institut d’Egypte. From 1942 he wrote about Islamic art, especially illustrated manuscripts of the 12th to the 14th century from Iraq and Syria, from the point of view of aesthetics and Christian and Muslim iconography. He also wrote about the lawfulness of painting in Islam. He discovered several important Arabic manuscripts with illustrations, and his interpretation of Arab painting was enriched by his extensive knowledge of history and literature. He published academic works and drama in French and Arabic and was one of the first Arab historians to write about Islamic art. He also supported modern art movements, publishing an open letter to the Soviet president Khrushchev in ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(b Potchefstroom, Transvaal, April 21, 1910; d Johannesburg, June 18, 1971).

South African architect and educator of Swiss parentage. His outstanding draughtsmanship brought him early prominence as a student under G. E. Pearse at the University of the Witwatersrand and led to a teaching appointment in 1934, a year after graduating. His intimate contact as student and colleague with Rex Martienssen and his circle was the dominant influence on his career. His early affiliation with the Modern Movement was balanced by a love of architectural history: his design, in Pearse’s office, of the University Library (1933), with its classical portico and restrained modern interior, was prophetically ambivalent.

In 1934 Fassler began a brief association with Martienssen and Bernard Cooke, which in an intense burst of creativity produced some of Johannesburg’s pioneer major modern works, notably House Stern and Peterhouse (1934–5). His Joubert Park project for a block of flats (1934) was a striking contribution. Fassler first visited Europe in ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

(b Alexandria, March 23, 1900; d Cairo, Nov 30, 1989).

Egyptian architect, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture (1926) from the High School of Engineering, University of King Fuad I (now University of Cairo), and then worked at the Department of Municipal Affairs, Cairo (1926–30). He subsequently began to teach at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the university (1930–46 and 1953–7) while working independently as an architect. Fathy’s work can be considered in five main phases (see Steele, 1988). His early projects (1928–37) reveal his interest in the classical Beaux-Arts tradition, Art Deco and other trends fashionable in Europe at the time. In his second phase (1938–56) he developed the interest in indigenous building that made him internationally known. Starting with villas, the use of mud-brick and a preoccupation with the rural poor, Fathy evolved a new aesthetic that irrevocably linked him to local vernacular building traditions. This new direction was expressed in a series of beautiful gouaches and coloured pencil drawings (see Richards, Serageldin and Rastorfer, pls 1–8) exhibited in Mansoura and Cairo in ...

Article

Simon Njami

(b March 26, 1946; d Dakar, Nov 6, 1984).

Senegalese painter and teacher. He studied under Iba N'Diaye, and received three prizes from the Ecole du Arts du Senegal before he was 18. After receiving an MA in art education, he supported himself out of necessity by teaching, for his paintings were concerned with European Modernism rather than state sanctioned notions of Negritude. In this work can be seen the influence of Picasso, Braque and Klee, among others. He worked primarily in gouache and India ink, creating different textures on canvas or paper; sometimes the paint was thick, at other times simply a light wash of colour. Faye's paintings are bright, colourful and energetic. He tended towards abstraction, but figurative elements remain in all his works. He was a prolific painter, and despite the fact that he stopped exhibiting in the mid-1970s, he continued to paint until his death from malaria. A major retrospective, reinvigorating interest in this dynamic artist, was organized in ...

Article

[Premier Festival mondial des arts nègres; FESMAN]

International cultural festival celebrating artists of African descent held from 1 April to 24 April, 1966, in Dakar, Senegal. The organizing premise of the First World Festival of Negro Arts was to provide an international platform for black artistic expression, including music, dance, theatre, and literature as well as displays of contemporary and traditional art, from around the world. Global in ambition, the First World Festival of Negro Arts was the first cultural festival of its size to take place on the African continent. It sparked debates about the Negritude philosophies proposed by its organizers and formulated in part by Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor.

The festival was greatly shaped by the political context of post-independence Africa. In fact, its organization was first conceived at the eve of independence during the Second Congress of Negro Writers and Artists, held in Rome in 1959 (the first congress was held in Paris in ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Kumba, July 17, 1962).

Cameroonian photographer, active in the Central African Republic and France. Fosso is internationally known for his self-portrait photographs, described by Stuart Hall as ‘carefully staged, ironic self-performances’. Fosso was born in Cameroon and his mother, of Igbo origin, took him to Nigeria as a young child to stay with his grandfather. As a 13-year-old, during the Nigerian Civil War (1967–70), Fosso fled that country due to the ongoing violence against the Igbo peoples and went to the Central African Republic to live with an uncle in Bangui. Fosso trained briefly with a local photographer in Bangui, but apart from this he was entirely self-taught. In 1975 he opened his own studio, the Studio Photo Nationale.

Fosso earned a living taking black-and-white passport photos and studio photographs of individuals and groups. During his time off work he used up any extra film shooting portraits of himself. Ostensibly, these were to send back to his mother in Nigeria to show that he was well. From the outset, however, it was clear that he considered these images to be artworks, staged as they were with props from his studio, implicit theatrical narratives, dynamic compositions, and the calculated intensifications of blacks and whites in the finished prints....

Article

Susan de Villiers

revised by Lorna Hansen

(Albert Ellis)

(b Durban, Sept 20, 1924; d Cape Town, Dec 13, 2004).

South African architect and urban planner. He studied architecture (1942–8) at the University of Cape Town, then worked (1951–2) for Ivar Tengbom in Stockholm. Fox returned to South Africa in 1952 and set up a variety of partnerships first in Worcester and later Cape Town. He first concentrated on domestic buildings that express a clear personal aesthetic, with their attention to detailing and adaptation to the environment (see fig.). The Wilson house, Worcester (1954), and La Cock house, Cape Town (1961), among others, are functional in nature but with visual references to the traditional domestic architecture of South Africa. His interest in housing traditions became the basis of his involvement in the restoration of Cape Dutch homes, for example Meerlust (1959) and Morgenster (1982 and 1997) in Somerset West. He also worked on housing projects, for example Montebello Apartments, Newlands (...

Article

L. Glynne Davies

(b Amsterdam, Feb 24, 1897; d London, July 16, 1954).

Dutch archaeologist and cultural historian. After studying at the University of Amsterdam and under Flinders Petrie at University College, London, he directed the Egypt Exploration Society’s excavations at Akhenaten’s city of Amarna, (Tell) el- and elsewhere (1925–9). He was Field Director of the Iraq Expedition of the Oriental Institute of Chicago from 1929 to 1937 and conducted excavations at the Assyrian site of Khorsabad and in the Diyala region; the latter made an important contribution to knowledge of the art of the Sumerians, particularly of their architecture and of the Early Dynastic period (c. 2900–2500 bc). He held professorships at Chicago, Amsterdam and London and was Director of the Warburg Institute from 1949 to 1954. In 1954 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and he was also Corresponding Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

Frankfort was a scholar of immense range, insight and artistic sensibility, with an abiding concern for the interrelations of the cultures of the ancient Aegean, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and he was instrumental in defining a structure for the integrated study of early Near Eastern civilizations. It was characteristic of his approach to see artefacts as works of art that could lead to a deeper understanding of ancient cultures, rather than merely as sources of historical data: his ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(b 1911; d Haenertsburg, Northern Transvaal, July 19, 1971).

South African architect, writer and teacher of British birth. He worked first as junior partner in the firm Kallenbach, Kennedy and Furner (from 1928; later Kennedy, Furner, Irvine-Smith and Joubert). His early work included the Plaza chain of cinemas in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town (1930–31), and the Arundel Court and Heath’s Building flats (before 1934), both Johannesburg. These pioneer modern buildings, elegant and restrained, were perhaps closer to Austrian architecture than to the European avant-garde. The later work of his firm included many landmarks of Johannesburg, such as the railway station complex. Furner’s reputation was also built on the significant role he played in the development of modern architecture in South Africa as a writer and teacher. He gave the Transvaal Group its initial impetus and its sense of direction. He became a senior lecturer in architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand under G. E. Pearse in ...

Article

Walter Smith

(b Oran, Algeria, Sept 15, 1929).

French architect and teacher. She moved to France in 1947 and after study at the Sorbonne and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, she opened her own practice at Ivry-sur-Seine, near Paris. During the 1970s and early 1980s she was involved primarily with social housing, most of her projects being located in densely populated urban centres. She advocated bringing nature into urban housing, through the use of garden-balconies and courtyards. Many of her projects have been extremely large in scale, such as the social housing and community development (1968–87; with Jean Renaudie) at Ivry-sur-Seine, comprising 800 flats and maisonettes, together with shops, nursery, medical centre and library. Between 1975 and 1986 she designed 180 balcony flats at Saint-Denis, which betray formal ties to Le Corbusier; a severe, planar geometry is relieved only by the outwardly jutting triangular balconies and cylindrical columns raising the flats above a lower level of shops. Gailhoustet later moved away from urban social housing, frustrated with the restrictions of zoning rules and other regulations. In the late 1980s and after she was involved in housing projects outside France. One of the most ambitious is a housing development (...

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

Joanna Grabski

(b St Louis, February 6, 1953).

Senegalese glass painter, potter and teacher. She earned an MA in literature at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar (1980), then graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure d'Education Artistique (1983). Her early work in both literature and fine arts dealt with the social role of women in colonial Senegal. In the 1980s and 1990s, she worked primarily with glass painting or sous verre, a medium with a long history in Senegal. Her work advances well-known conventional glass paintings that depict colorful quotidian and religious scenes. She works with a palette of intense hues, applying them across the glass support so as to maximize the expressive potential of the medium. Although she created figural works in the 1980s, her work in the 1990s became increasingly abstract. Her glass paintings, such as Nature (1998; priv. col.), are characterized by their luminescence and large scale. In addition to exhibiting her work in Africa and Europe, she has been involved in a number of educational and humanitarian projects. Her achievements have been recognized by two prestigious awards from the government of Senegal, including the Chevalièr de l’Ordre du Mérite (...

Article

(b Alexandria, March 1925; d March 7, 1966).

Egyptian painter. He showed an early interest in art, and at the secondary school of al-Halmiyya in Cairo was taught by the Egyptian painter Hussein Youssef Amin. While at this school, he won a prize for his poster for a government health programme. In 1944 he began to study at the School of Fine Arts in Cairo, and was one of the younger members of the Contemporary Art Group founded in 1946 by Amin. By the late 1940s he was introducing in his paintings literary and philosophical references, as well as highly original and nightmarish images. In 1949 he was arrested with Hussein Youssef Amin because his painting Hunger (retitled Theatre of Life, 1948; artist’s col., see Karnouk, p. 31) was considered an attack on the government. Both were released following the intervention of the Egyptian painters Muhammad Nagy and Mahmud Said.

In 1950 al-Gazzar completed his degree and began to teach at the School of Fine Arts, and from ...

Article

Russell Gullette

(b Johannesburg, May 1968).

South African installation, performance, and video artist and photographer. Geers is part of a generation of African artists who emerged during the global expansion of the art world in the 1990s. Born into a white working-class family, he studied fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from 1985 to 1987. Geers was exiled for refusing to serve in the South African Defence Force in 1989. With the threat of imprisonment removed after the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in 1990 he returned to Johannesburg. Then in 2000 he moved to Brussels.

Geers has described his artistic position as a TerroRealist. His work features everyday, vernacular materials such as beer bottles, razor wire, pornography, neon signs, and expletives such as ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’. He employed these materials as a means to challenge various manifestations of power, whether state terror, working-class oppression, history, or, at his most poetic, language....

Article

Allison Moore

(b Randfontein, Gauteng Province, Nov 29, 1930).

South African photographer. David Goldblatt’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. He grew up as a white and therefore privileged South African, but he also experienced anti-Semitism from white Afrikaners. His interest in photography was piqued in high school by magazines such as Life, Look, and Picture Post. After graduation Goldblatt assisted a local photographer, but was unable to break into magazine work. The harsh sunlight of South Africa influenced his aesthetic, while American photographer Paul Strand, whom he met abroad, influenced his printing technique.

Goldblatt worked in his father’s shop for a decade while taking photographs. Apartheid, South Africa’s regime of racial segregation, was officially instituted in 1948 and black oppression intensified in the years that Goldblatt was making South African society the subject of his work. In 1963, after his father’s death, he sold the shop and became a full-time photographer, working for national and international corporations and magazines, such as the British ...

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

(Craven) [Peter]

(b Bradford, W. Yorks, Oct 6, 1887; d Lagos, Nigeria, Feb 10, 1959).

English patron, collector and philanthropist. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School. He then began a successful career in the printing business, becoming Director and then Chairman of the printing and publishing firm of Percy Lund, Humphries & Co. Ltd, Bradford. In the 1920s he began to collect drawings, prints, paintings and sculpture, developing a rare appreciation for contemporary British art, especially sculpture. He became friends with several architects, artists, writers and musicians, and in 1923 met Henry Moore. Gregory is remembered as a philanthropist and as one of the earliest patrons of Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland and Ben Nicholson, buying their work before World War II when they were little known (e.g. Henry Moore’s Woman’s Head and Shoulders, stone, 1932; now London, Tate). In 1947–8 he helped found the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and assumed the duties of Treasurer, maintaining this position for the rest of his life. In ...

Article

Isabelle Gournay

(b Oran, Algeria, Jan 24, 1942).

French writer, teacher and architect. He graduated in architecture (1967) from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, where he was introduced to urban design practice and theory by Eugène Beaudouin. At the same time, he attended Roland Barthes’s courses in linguistics at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. During the 1970s Grumbach, who was influenced by the historian Joseph Ryckwert (b 1926), devoted most of his time to theory and criticism. He published extensively in specialized reviews in France, exhibited and sold his drawings and taught at the Unité Pédagogique d’Architecture 6 in Paris, the University of Toronto and Princeton University, NJ; he also lectured throughout the world. From his typological studies of the traditional urban fabric in Paris and his participation in Rome in the international exhibition Roma Interrota (1977), he became convinced that the integration of new architectural projects within the existing urban fabric was an essential prerequisite for high-quality urban design, and he adopted a polemical and theoretical approach to architectural competitions he entered at the time, such as those for the systematization of the Place Napoléon (...

Article

Timothy Ostler

(d’Alpoim Miranda) [Pancho]

(b Lisbon, May 13, 1925).

Portuguese architect, sculptor and painter, active in Africa. His childhood was spent in Mozambique and its offshore islands. From the age of 14 he was educated in Johannesburg, first at Maritz Brothers’ School and then at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Architecture, from which he graduated in 1949. After a brief period working as a draughtsman, he set up his own practice in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique, in 1950. His timing was fortunate: shortly afterwards a construction boom began that was to continue until the fall of the colonial government in 1974, and the bulk of his work was carried out during the 25 years preceding independence. He completed approximately 500 buildings, including churches, schools, houses, flats, restaurants and office buildings, in all parts of the country. The best of these rank among the finest post-war architecture in Southern Africa. In 1975 Guedes left Mozambique to take up the Chair in Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. With the pressure to build now greatly reduced, Guedes was able to treat later projects in Portugal and South Africa as labours of love....