Form and Meaning in African Art

Helmet Mask, 19th-20th century, Sierra Leone, Moyamba region, Mende or Sherbro people, wood, metal, 47.9 x 22.2 x 23.5cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) By Dr. Christa Clarke / 10.09.2016 Senior Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas Newark Museum Abstraction and Idealization Realism or physical resemblance is generally not the goal of the African artist. Many[…]

The ‘Oral’ Nature of African Unwritten Literature

The significance of performance in actualization, transmission, and composition. Audience and occasion. Implications for the study of oral literature. Oral art as literature. By Dr. Ruth Finnegan Emeritus Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology The Open University Introduction Africa possesses both written and unwritten traditions. The former are relatively well known—at any rate the recent[…]

Thinking, Researching, and Writing Africa: Insights from Nigeria’s Tutuola

Amos Tutuola’s work is enjoying renewed interest and support. Flickr/vanderfrog, Creative Commons By Dr. Francis B. Nyamnjoh / 01.18.2018 Professor of Social Anthropology University of Cape Town For many years, Amos Tutuola, the Nigerian author who was born in 1920 and died in 1997, was despised, ridiculed and made to appear exotic and primitive. He was dismissed[…]

Forgotten Failures of African Exploration

A native of the Kayaye village, dressed head to toe in boughs and leaves as part of the Kongcorong ceremony. Featured in Major William Gray’s account of his doomed expedition in Africa – Internet Archive Dane Kennedy reflects on two disastrous expeditions into Africa organised by the British in the early-19th century, and how their lofty ambitions[…]

Aesthetics: The Role of Visual Expression in African Art

Pair of Diviner’s Figures, Côte d’Ivoire, central Côte d’Ivoire, Baule peoples, wood, pigment, beads and iron, 55.4 x 10.2 x 10.5 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) By Dr. Christa Clarke / 10.09.2016 Senior Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas Newark Museum The Role of Visual Expression in Africa Because many tradition-based African artifacts serve a[…]

The AMNH ‘Man in Africa Hall’ at 50: Exploring African Ethnographic History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in NY circa 2000. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.    By Dr. Enid Schildkrout (left) and Jacklyn Lacey (right) / 10.14.2017 Schildkrout: Curator Emerita of African Ethnology, Division of Anthropology Lacey: Museum Specialist II, African Ethnology, Pacific Ethnology American Museum of Natural History The “Man in Africa Hall”[…]