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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

Joanna Grabski

(b Mbour, June 13, 1965).

Senegalese sculptor and painter. He graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Dakar (1993). As a student, he was inspired by the popular social movement Set Setal, which emphasized the role of Dakar’s citizens in cleaning up their surroundings and transforming used objects rather than abandoning them. His work focuses on the aesthetic interplay of recovered materials, as exemplified in Environnement 2 (...

Article

Charles C. Van Siclen III

[Egyp. Per-Bastet; now Tell Basta, nr Zaqāzīq, Egypt]. Site in the eastern Nile Delta 77 km north-east of Cairo. It flourished c. 2575 bcc. ad 300. The ancient city of Basta (Gr. Bubastis) was the home of the feline goddess Bastet (Egyp.: ‘She of Basta’), often associated in the later periods of Egyptian history with the cat. Both the city and the cult of Bastet date back at least to the beginning of the Old Kingdom (c. 2575 bc). Bubastis was a significant political, economic and religious centre, and during the 22nd Dynasty (c. 950–c. 730 bc) it was home to a family of pharaohs named Osorkon and Shoshenq, who ruled the whole of Egypt. The importance of the city declined with shifting trade routes, changing political structures and above all the appearance of Christianity and later Islam, when the site was abandoned. The great temple to Bastet and her joyous festival are both described by Herodotus (...

Article

Bucheum  

Elizabeth L. Meyers

Site of an ancient Egyptian animal necropolis on the west bank of the Nile, immediately to the north of Armant, about 15 km south of Luxor. From the 30th Dynasty (380–343 bc) until ad 340, the Bucheum was the burial site of the Buchis (Egyp. bekh) bulls, sacred to the war-god Montu. The site was discovered by Robert Mond in 1927.

The burial preparations of the Buchis bulls differ in several ways from those of the Apis bulls at the Saqqara Serapeum (see Saqqara). Judging from the excavated remains of the Buchis bulls and the documentary evidence provided by the Vienna Papyrus (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.), their viscera were not removed. Whereas the burial chambers at the Serapeum were elaborate and carved from the living rock, those in the Bucheum were built structures, varying greatly both in architectural size and in quantity of burial equipment (only a few of them incorporating a sarcophagus). As at the Serapeum, records were kept of the dates of birth and death of the sacred bulls. Just as the Apis bulls were identified by particular markings, the Buchis bulls were credited with the ability to accomplish hourly changes in the colour of their hides (which are supposed to have grown in the opposite direction to those of normal bulls, according to the Classical writer Macrobius)....

Article

dele jegede

(Olatunji)

(b Oshogbo, 1943).

Nigerian mixed-media artist, printmaker and sculptor. He was trained as an electrician and provided stage lighting for the Lapido theatre group before training at the Mbari Mbayo workshop in Oshogbo in 1964. His first exhibition was at the Goethe Institute in Lagos in 1967, the same year that he was commissioned to create a mosaic for the India Loom House, Lagos. In 1974 he completed a certificate course at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with a sculpture emphasis. Although he began as a painter and experimented with linoleum cuts in the 1960s, he soon began to incorporate beads into his work, using multicoloured commercial beads to produce striking pieces. Using a palette that fully explores the vibrancy of primary and secondary hues, Buraimoh draws on themes derived from the human and animal worlds. He also draws on contemporary scenes and Nigeria's religious pluralism (Islam, Christianity and indigenous religions) to develop themes from Yoruba myth, as in ...

Article

Iain Browning

[John Lewis; Johann Ludwig]

(b Lausanne, Nov 24, 1784; d Cairo, Oct 15, 1817).

Swiss explorer. He was born into a distinguished Basle family and attended the university at Leipzig (1800) and subsequently at Göttingen (1804). He arrived in England in 1806 where, through the influence of Sir Joseph Banks, he was adopted by the African Society to search for the source of the River Niger. In 1809 he departed for the Middle East where, at Aleppo, he perfected his Arabic and undertook a protracted induction into Muslim theology, practice and culture. In 1812 he set out for Cairo, en route discovering the ancient city of Petra. His subsequent exploration of the Upper Nile led to his discovery of the Great and Small Temples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel. Accepted as a Muslim after rigorous cross-examination, he visited Mecca and Medina in 1814, the first European to have done so. Further travels ensued, but after his return to Cairo in ...

Article

Christopher D. Roy

[République Démocratique Populaire de Burkina Faso; formerly Upper Volta, Haute-Volta]

Country of c. 274,200 sq. km in West Africa, bordered by Mali to the west and north, Niger to the east and Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin to the south. The capital is Ouagadougou. Conquered by the French in 1896, it remained under their control until 1960, when it became independent. Until 1984 it was called Haute-Volta or Upper Volta. Its population (c. 8,509,000; UN estimate, 1988) is made up of c. 30 distinct ethnic groups. Although the official language is French, large numbers of people use Moore, the language of the Mossi people (the most numerous group in the country); Jula, the language of traders from the north-west; or Fulfulde, the language of the Fulani herders, as common languages. The peoples of Burkina Faso can be divided into two major language groups: the peoples in the centre and east, including the Bwa, Gurunsi and Mossi, speak ...

Article

Pierre Haffner

[République de Burundi]

Small, densely populated and mountainous country in eastern Africa, formerly part of Ruanda-Urundi. Burundi is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and Zaïre to the west; Lake Tanganyika defines its south-eastern border. The capital is Bujumbura (formerly Usumbura); its national languages are Kirundi and French, while Swahili is also spoken. A poor infrastructure and a long history of civil turbulence have made Burundi one of Africa’s poorest nations. The population (5,302,000; UN estimate, 1989) is made up of Hutu (85%), Tutsi (14%) and Twa (1%). The peoples of Burundi have lived together according to a model of social organization established by the Tutsi monarchy at the end of the 18th century, which lasted until its abolition in 1966. The resulting strong cultural unity and geographical protection enabled Burundi to resist not only the raids of Arab slave traders but also German occupation (following the Treaty of Kiganda in ...

Article

Christopher D. Roy

Group of Voltaic-speaking peoples living in Burkina Faso and Mali. There has been much confusion in literature about the identity of these peoples and the relations between them. They are discussed together in this entry because of the similarity of their art forms. Ideally, however, their traditions should be discussed separately and the pseudo-ethnonym ‘Gurunsi’ abandoned.

The Gurunsi, who live between the Red Volta and Black Volta rivers in the centre of the country, are the most prolific and influential sculptors in Burkina Faso. They have also heavily influenced the mask traditions of their neighbours to the west, the southern Bwa, who carve the largest wooden masks in Black Africa.

The name ‘Gurunsi’ is a pejorative name applied by the neighbouring Mossi to a number of peoples who call themselves Nunuma, Nuna, Winiama, Lela, Sisala and Kasena and who together number c. 200,000. Their lands are sparsely inhabited, with large areas of dry, uncultivated bush separating small villages. Their major crops are millet, sorghum and maize. Their political systems are very democratic, with all decisions made by a council of male elders, in contrast to the stratified, centralized kingship system of the Mossi. Most Gurunsi retain no traditions of immigration into the area and claim to be the first inhabitants of the land. The ...

Article

Cairo  

Wladysław B. Kubiak, Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Caroline Williams and Bernard O’Kane

[al-Qahira; Fr. Le Caire, Ger. Kairo; colloquial Arab. Miṣr, Maṣr]

Capital city of Egypt. Founded in ad 641 as al-Fustat, it was successively the seat of the Tulunid, Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk family dynasties. Following the Ottoman conquest in 1517, it remained one of the pre-eminent centres of Arab culture and is now the largest metropolis in the Arab world.

Cairo is strategically sited at the meeting of Lower and Upper Egypt, at the head of the Nile Delta and at the crossing of ancient routes that linked Arabia and Syria–Palestine with North Africa and Mediterranean coastal centres with inner Africa. The main urban area of Fustat, the old city, extended about 6 km along the eastern bank of the Nile between its course and the scarp of the desert plateau (al-Muqattam) overlooking the valley (see fig.). The later satellite towns of al-‛Askar, al-Qata’i‛ and al-Qahira extended several kilometres further north. Western and northern parts of the city were located on low and flat alluvial grounds created as the course of the Nile moved to the west over the centuries, while the eastern and southern quarters were rocky and gradually rose eastwards towards the slopes of the Muqattam (h. 200 m), the lower extensions of which were the hills of the citadel and the Istabl ‛Antar....

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b Dakar, July 29, 1958).

Senegalese painter and sculptor. After graduating from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Dakar (1977–81), he attended the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (1987–9). Characterized as an abstract realist, his extensive training is exemplified by his skill at combining visual elements from painting, sculpture and decorative art. Throughout his career he has explored themes of local life in urban Dakar, including car rapides and market venders, as in Rang Bi Dokoul (1999; artist's col.). This portrayal of a tomato-seller demonstrates Camara’s expressionistic application of intense color to convey both sculptural volume and the effects of light. In the 1980s and 1990s his work often incorporated shadows, handprints and looming figures. He has exhibited widely, participating in Africa Explores (New York, 1991), Dak’Art ’92 and Dak’Art ’96, and the Tenq workshops of 1994 (in St Louis) and 1996 (in Dakar). He has also been active in supporting the training and exhibitions of young artists in Dakar. His work has been recognized by national and international awards, including first prize for painting, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (...

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b St Louis, Sept 28, 1948).

Senegalese painter, sculptor and teacher. After graduating from the Institut National des Arts du Senegal, in Dakar (1972–7), he attended the Ecole Nationale Supérieure, Cachan, in France (1988). He took a position as a professor at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Dakar, in 1988 and was named head of the Departement Arts plastiques in 1996. From 1986 to 1996 he produced mainly paper collages, creating abstract, highly patterned works. He began working with accumulative wood and metal sculpture in 1996. His sculptural work, for example Untitled (1998; artist’s col.), makes use of organic materials such as straw, fiber and calabash. Both collages and sculptures are characterized by the notion of accumulation and the lyrical repetition of forms. Camara has participated in several group exhibitions in Africa and Europe, including Dak’Art ’96 and Dak’Art ’98. He received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite from the government of Senegal in ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Product of a technique first used in ancient Egypt and later developed in ancient Rome. The outer of two superimposed layers of glass was ground away to leave a pattern consisting of a pattern standing in relief on a contrasting ground, usually white on dark blue. The finest surviving example is the Portland Vase (early 1st cent. ...

Article

Gloria J. Umlauft-Thielicke

[Cameroun, République du]

Country in west-central Africa, stretching from the Gulf of Guinea in the south-west to Lake Chad in the north. To the west, Cameroon borders on Nigeria, to the east on Chad and the Central African Republic and to the south on the Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The capital is Yaoundé. French and English are both official languages.

Cameroon’s geography comprises the full range of climatic and scenic variations found in Africa: virgin forest in the south, grasslands in the west, scrubby savannah with the Massif de l’Adamaoua in the north, and savannah with the Mandara Mountains in the far north. The population of Cameroon (11,540,000; UN estimate, 1989) is made up of a number of peoples who traditionally followed their own religions, each speaking their own language. Through the Arabs, the north came under Islamic influence at a very early stage, while the south was later converted to Christianity by European missionaries. From ...

Article

R. H. Fitchett

Architectural style developed at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, during the period of Dutch East India Company rule (1652–1795). Despite subsequent British stylistic innovations, its use continued in country districts until the 1880s. The term was first acknowledged, with reservations, by G. E. Pearse in 1933 but was given authority only in 1953 by C. de Bosdari. It covers three main building types: farmhouses, town houses and public buildings.

The early development of both domestic types followed similar lines, with the availability of materials being the major determining factor. Local bricks were under-fired and insufficiently water-resistant, which led to the use of lime plaster on exteriors, creating a white-walled aesthetic. Experiments with tiled roofs were unsuccessful, resulting in the adoption of thatch. Roofs were hipped at first, but were gradually replaced with half-hipped or gabled ends; the latter were given decorative outlines from an early date. Most early houses were rectangular in plan and only one room deep. However, the larger residences of the officials had more complex plans and triple-gabled façades with a central full-height gable flanked by dwarf gables....

Article

Rodney Harber

South African city, legislative capital of the Republic and capital of Cape Province. It is situated at the tip of the continent on Table Bay below the broad plateau of Table Mountain. Cape Town (metropolitan population c. two million) is the second largest city in South Africa and is an important port and rail terminal. It was the first settlement founded by Europeans in Southern Africa and retains a rich heritage of its colonial architecture.

A replenishment station for the Dutch East India Company was established at Table Bay in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck; it consisted of a large market garden protected by a fort, later the Castle of Good Hope (1666–77), built in a star-shaped plan. The outpost grew slowly; early buildings made use of readily available local materials and were influenced by Dutch domestic architecture, leading to the development of the Cape Dutch style (...

Article

J. D. Hawkins

[Lat. Europus; now Jerabis, Jerablus]

Site in Turkey on the west bank of the River Euphrates, now on the Turkish-Syrian border. This ancient city is extensively attested in cuneiform records from the mid-3rd to mid-1st millennia bc and mentioned in New Kingdom Egyptian records, c. 1500–1200 bc, and in the Old Testament. It is the source of indigenous sculpture and associated hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions dating c. 1000–700 bc. Excavations commissioned by the British Museum (1878–81) recovered some inscribed sculptures. Regular excavations under C. L. Woolley (1911–14 and 1920) were broken off by war, and latterly the establishment of the Turkish–Syrian frontier immediately to the south of the site has precluded further excavation. Finds are in the British Museum in London and in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

Carchemish has produced evidence of occupation stretching back to the Chalcolithic period (c. 5300 bc) and has a long recorded history. First attested in the Ebla archives ...

Article

Kimberly Juanita Brown

(b Johannesburg, Sept 13, 1960; d Johannesburg, July 27, 1994).

South African documentary photographer. Carter swiftly became famous after one of his images appeared in the New York Times in 1993. That photograph, captioned A Vulture Watches a Starving Child, won him the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994. He committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning three months later, solidifying his fame in a swirling mélange of international tragedy, racial politics, and personal trauma.

Born in 1960 in Parkmore, a suburb of Johannesburg, into a firmly segregated South Africa, Carter was one of three children and the only son of Jimmy and Roma Carter. When he was later conscripted into the South African Defence Forces, Carter found it difficult to enforce the mandates of racial apartheid. As soon as he was able, he transitioned out of the SADF and into the world of photography. He began his career as a sports photographer and quickly moved into documentary photography. His disdain for the fully structured apartheid system was a matter of public and private record, and this disdain fuelled his desire to document the racial violence engulfing South Africa in the decade before the end of apartheid....

Article

Simon P. Ellis

Ruined city on the North African coast at the end of a narrow peninsula pointing into the Bay of Tunis. Now an archaeological site at the edge of Tunis itself, Carthage was founded, according to legend, by the Phoenician queen Elyssa in 814 bc. It became a major Mediterranean power until its destruction by the Romans in 146 bc. Carthage flourished as a Roman city, Christianity reaching it by the 2nd century ad. The city was revived by Emperor Justinian, but it was finally destroyed by the Arabs in ad 698.

For later history see Tunis.

In the 6th and 5th centuries bc the city’s interventions in disputes between the Greek and Phoenician city states of Sicily made Carthage the leading western Phoenician colony, and it formed a close alliance with the Etruscans. From the 5th century bc the Carthaginians spread into the African hinterland, eventually controlling the area that is today the northern half of Tunisia. They also concluded three alliances with the newly emergent power of Rome. Further conflict in Sicily, however, precipitated (...

Article

Daniel J. Crowley

[République Centrafricaine; formerly Ubangi Shari]

Country in central Africa, bordered by Chad and Sudan to the north, by Zaïre and the Congo to the south and by Cameroon to the west. The total area of the country is 622,894 sq. km and the total population 2,841,000 (UN estimate, 1989). The capital is Bangui. As the French colony of Ubangi Shari, the Central African Republic was part of French Equatorial Africa from 1903 to 1958. It gained full independence in 1960. From 1976 to 1979 the country was a self-declared ‘Empire’ under President Jean-Bedel Bokassa. The country is almost totally featureless semi-desert. The population are mainly descended from 19th-century immigrants who were escaping the turmoil caused by European and Arab slavers in the surrounding countries.

The Central African Republic’s best-known artist was the self-taught painter Clément-Marie Biazin (1924–81). Biazin left home at the age of 22, returning to Bangui only after 20 years of travelling throughout Central, West and East Africa. In the 15 years in which he was active as a painter Biazin completed between 500 and 600 works. Jean Kennedy describes his paintings as ‘spirited mandala-like panels framed by decorative linear patterns that give them the look of embroidery’ (Kennedy, p. 153). Biazin was the subject of a documentary by the French film maker ...