On Thursday June 18th, Goethe Institut present a new book on art and decolonization “Postcolonial Modernism” written by prominent African art scholar, Chika Okeke-Agulu.
Postcolonial Modernism chronicles the emergence of artistic modernism in Nigeria in the heady years surrounding political independence in 1960, before the outbreak of civil war in 1967.
Chika Okeke-Agulu is a professor of African Art at Princeton University. In this new book, he traces the artistic, intellectual, and critical networks in several Nigerian cities: particularly Zaria, for its major role in modern art from Nigeria. It was there a group of students formed the “Zaria Art Society” in 1958 and inaugurated postcolonial modernism in Nigeria.
Okeke-Agulu explores how these young artists were inspired by the rhetoric and ideologies of decolonization and nationalism in the early and mid twentieth century, and later, by advocates of negritude and pan-Africanism. They translated the experiences of decolonization into distinctive postcolonial modernism that has continued to inform the work of major Nigerian artists.
The book will be reviewed by Toyin Akinosho.
Date: Thursday, June 18th 2015
Time: 3pm – 6pm
Venue: Goethe-Institut Lagos, 4th Floor, Lagos City Hall, 30 Catholic Mission street, Lagos Island.
The book presentation event is free.
Postcolonial Modernism cover was designed at Duke University Press and the cover image is Demas Nwoko’s painting. The book is currently available at the Center for Contemporary Art (CCALagos) Library, in Yaba for interested readers. Dewas Nwoko is one of the founding members of Zaria Art Society.
Buy a copy: Postcolonial Modernism
Written by one of the foremost scholars of African art and featuring 129 color images, Postcolonial Modernism chronicles the emergence of artistic modernism in Nigeria in the heady years surrounding political independence in 1960, before the outbreak of civil war in 1967. Chika Okeke-Agulu traces the artistic, intellectual, and critical networks in several Nigerian cities. Zaria is particularly important, because it was there, at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, that a group of students formed the Art Society and inaugurated postcolonial modernism in Nigeria. As Okeke-Agulu explains, their works show both a deep connection with local artistic traditions and the stylistic sophistication that we have come to associate with twentieth-century modernist practices. He explores how these young Nigerian artists were inspired by the rhetoric and ideologies of decolonization and nationalism in the early- and mid-twentieth century and, later, by advocates of negritude and pan-Africanism. They translated the experiences of decolonization into a distinctive "postcolonial modernism" that has continued to inform the work of major Nigerian artists.
"In this work of prodigious scholarship, Chika Okeke-Agulu draws on a trove of previously unexamined archival resources and subjects the artistic and literary production of Nigeria's pioneer modernists to critical analysis. Redirecting our understanding of the modern art movement in Nigeria, his book will interest a broad range of scholars, including those studying comparative modernism, global art, visual culture, history, and literature. This groundbreaking work affirms Okeke-Agulu as a rigorous critical thinker and interdisciplinary scholar." "With this impressive book, Chika Okeke-Agulu has written an expansive, incisive, and dazzling account of the production of a new spirit of postcolonial artistic modernity in Nigeria at the denouement of colonialism in the 1950s. Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria is perhaps the most important book of its kind to appear in years. In succinct and lucid language, and lavishly illustrated pages, it offers a vigorous analysis of the artistic forces that lend a new understanding of the complex formations of global art history."
About the Author
About the Author