Title: ACASA newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00103115/00029
 Material Information
Title: ACASA newsletter newsletter of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association
Alternate Title: Newsletter
Physical Description: v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: African Studies Association -- Arts Council
Publisher: The Council
Place of Publication: S.l
Publication Date: August 1991
Subjects / Keywords: Arts -- Periodicals -- Africa   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 2 (winter 1982)-
Numbering Peculiarities: Vol. designation dropped with no. 3 (spring 1983).
General Note: Title from caption.
General Note: Vols. for Aug. 1992- include Directory of members: addendum.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: No. 34 (Aug. 1992).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00103115
Volume ID: VID00029
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 09794003
lccn - sn 92017937
 Related Items
Preceded by: Newsletter of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association

Full Text



Newsletter of the African Arts Council
of the African Studies Association

Number 31, August 1991

Cover design by Acha Debela

ACASA Board of Directors

Maria Berns, President
Lisa Aronson, Secretary-Treasurer

Mary Jo Arnoldi
David Binkley
Acha Debela
Margaret Drewal
Barbara Frank
Simon Ottenberg
Mikelle Smith-Omari
Janet Stanley

Membership Information
Lisa Aronson, ACASA Secretary/Treasurer
Art Department
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Janet Stanley, ACASA Newsletter Editor
National Museum of African Art Library
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20560

ACASA Newsletter

August 1991


Letter from Dr. Maria Berns,
ACASA President:

We will hold our annual business meeting
during this year's African Studies Association
meetings in St. Louis on Saturday, November
23rd at 5:30 p.m. Mark this date on your
calendars and look for the room location in
your ASA program. This will be an important
meeting because many details concerning the
1992 Triennial Symposium will be discussed.
This issue of the newsletter lists the panels that
have been proposed so far for the Triennial to
be held April 23-25 in Iowa City. Please respond
promptly to the call for papers and send your
abstracts directly to the panel chairs and to the
program chair, Allen Roberts, as indicated on
page 2. The ACASA Board and our University
of Iowa hosts are depending on your
participation to make this Triennial a great
success. We will also be sponsoring the third
ACASA all-day Museum Workshop on
Wednesday, April 22nd preceding the Triennial
for all those interested. At the Triennial awards
banquet we will announce the recipients of the
Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award
and the ACASA Leadership Award.
One final reminder: in the last ACASA
newsletter we asked all of you whether your
institution could host one or more scholars from
Africa or the African Diaspora for a visiting
lecture following the Triennial. Your institution
would pay the scholar's one-way travel (within
his or her United States tour schedule), per
diem, and honorarium. We have only heard

President's Letter 1
1991 ASA in SL Louis 2
1992 Iriennial Symposium 2
1992 ASA in Seattle 3
Arnold Rubin Book Award 4
Book Distribution Program 4
Membership Roster 4
People in the News 4
Obituaries 5
Job Announcement 5
New PhD Program 5
Exhibitions 6
Journal Notes 6
Bibliographic Notes 7
News Round-Up 8
Features from Nigeria 9
Conference Notes 11
Film & Video Notes 13
End Notes 15

from a few of you. To enhance the participation
of our African colleagues in the Triennial (only
two of whom can be subsidized directly
through ACASA funds) and to assure the
financial contributions of the USIS, we need
your prompt action and response. Thank you. I
look forward to seeing you in St. Louis in

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991 1

1991 ASA in St. Louis

ACASA is sponsoring six panels at the African
Studies Association meetings in St. Louis this
coming November. Here is the final line-up of
the panels (see ACASA Newsletter, April 1991
pages 3-4 for the names of presenters):
Recent Research in African Art I
Sunday, November 24th. 9:00 a.m.
Chair: Robert T. Soppelsa
Washburn University
Recent Research in African Art II
Sunday, November 24th. 3:00 p.m.
Chair: David Binkley
University of Missouri
& Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Old Forms, New Settings: African Artists
Respond to Past and Present
Monday, November 25th. 1:00 p.m.
Chair: Barbara Frank
SUNY at Stony Brook
Interpreting Images from Africa: Historical
Photographs and Their Makers
Saturday, November 23rd. 3:00 p.m.
Chair: Christraud M. Geary
National Museum of African Art
Structure and Agency in African Art
Monday, November 25th. 9:00 a.m.
Chair: Joseph Nevadomsky
California State University, Fullerton
What Constitutes History in African Art?
Tuesday, November 26th. 9:00 a.m.
Chair: Patrick McNaughton
Indiana University.
The ACASA Business Meeting is scheduled for
Saturday, November 23rd at 5:30 p.m. Send
agenda items to Marla Berns, University Art
Museum, University of California, Santa
Barbara, CA 93106, (805) 893-2951.

1992 Triennial Symposium
The provisional list of panels for the 1992
Triennial Symposium of African Art to be held
at the University of Iowa, April 23-25, 1992 is
presented below. These panels are still being
formed, and colleagues are encouraged to
continue to submit proposals for papers,
especially those that would be appropriate to
one of these panels. Please regard all of these


The Arts of the Cross River Basin,
the Cameroons
Chair: Ekpo Eyo
Discussant: Christraud Geary

Nigeria and

Women into Men: Art and Esthetic Anatomy
of Power in African Societies
Chairs: Mikelle Smith Omari
Roslyn Walker
Panelists: Esi Kinni Olusanyin
John R. 0. Ojo
Mikelle Smith Omari
Linda Rose Day
Discussants: Rowland Abiodun
Ilona Szombati
Kalabari World View as Reflected in Dress
and Textile Arts
Chair: Joanne Eicher
Panelists: Manuella Petgrave
Sandra Lee Evenson
Susan 0. Michelman
Joanne Eicher
& Tonye V. Erekosima
Memory, Language and Art
Chair: Polly Nooter
Panelists: Suzanne Blier
Wyatt MacGaffey
Polly Nooter
Nii Quarcoopome
Idea and Form: Interdisciplinary Approaches to
African Expressive Culture
Chair: Allen Roberts
Panelists: Hans Breder
Allen Roberts
Neglected Themes in the Study of African Art
Chair: Ray Silverman
Panelists: Ray Silverman

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

panels as still open. Contact: Allen Roberts,
Program Chair, Anthropology Department,
McBride Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City
52242, USA or the panel chairperson. A more
complete program will be announced in the
December newsletter.
Work as Symbol in Art and Ritual Action
Chair: Chris Mullen Kreamer
The Phony, the Trendy, and the Authentic
Searching for the 'Real Thing' in Africa and
the Diaspora
Chair: Sidney Kasfir

Artist as Rebel: or the Moral Imperative of Art
Chairs: Janet Stanley
Acha Debela
The Esthetic of Secrecy
Chair. Clarke Speed
Panelists: Clarke Speed
Simon Ottenberg
Alma Gottlieb
Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of
Expressive Culture in the Upper Guinea Coast
Chair: Peter Mark
The Arts of Malawi" [and South-central Africa?]
Chair. Laurel Faulkner
Panelists: Laurel Faulkner
Michael Conner
Interdisciplinary Approaches in Africanist Art
History and Archaeology
Chair: William Dewey
Panelists: William Dewey
Peter Garlake
American Natural History Museum Exhibitions
of African Expressive Culture
Chair: Debra Mack
Panelists: Debra Mack
possibly African scholars
visiting the Field Musuem


Art in Africa
[not set]
Barthosa Nkurumeh
Dele Jegede.

Stanley Plenary Roundtable African
National Museums: African Viewpoints on
Appropriate Collaboration
Chair: [not set]
Panelists: PASALA is inviting three
museum colleagues from
Africa with the expectation
that other African museum
professionals will be invited
by other means. Roundtable
could/should include several
non-African counterparts
Dicussant: Joseph Adande
Several scholars wishing to attend the 9th
Triennial Symposium on African Art have
contacted the Triennial organizers to inquire
about the possibility of offering lectures that
would be compensated with honoraria plus
expenses. Such support would allow them to
come to the U.S., as it help would pay for their
trips with money earned here.

Peter Garlake, whose archaeological work in
Zimbabwe and in Nigeria is well-known to
Africanist art historians and archaeologists, is
one such colleague who is seeking lecturing
opportunities while in the U.S. for the Triennial.
His resume briefly: trained at the University of
London (archaeology, art history); held research
appointments in eastern Africa (1962-64),
Zimbabwe (1964-70, 1988- 91), Nigeria (1971-73);
teaching appointments at University College,
London (1975-81); major publications: The Early
Islamic Architecture of the East African Coast
(1966); Great Zimbabwe (1973); Kingdoms of Africa
(1978); The Painted Caves (1987); an encyclopedic
study of African rock art (forthcoming); current
research interests: rock art in Zimbabwe and
central/Southern Africa. Proposed lectures: rock
art, Great Zimbabwe, early east African
architecture, Ife terracottas. Address: P.O. Box
BW 238, Borrowdale, Harare, Zimbabwe. U.S.
contact: William Dewey, University oflowa Art
History, Iowa City IA 52242.

1992 ASA in Seattle
The theme for the African Studies Association
meeting in Seattle in 1992 will be "Africans,
Africanists, Advocates and Critics: Rethinking
Perspectives and Policies." ACASA members are
encouraged to begin thinking about panel
suggestions which would fall within this broad
rubric. Often the ASA "theme" is ignored by
ACASA members planning panels because it
seems irrelevant to our rather specialized
interests. The 1992 theme is different because it
will apply to all areas of Africanist research
regardless of discipline.
There will be an open meeting at this year's
ASA in St Louis to hear ideas for specially
sponsored panels and roundtables which would
address this topic. Possibilities which ACASA
members might wish to take up or participate
in could include: a panel or roundtable to
discuss the ethics of field photography (and its
subsequent publication); a panel to discuss
"informants," "field assistants" and their role in
collaborative research; a panel on the selective
perception of African art caused by skewing of
field research toward West Africa. These are just
suggestions: Let's hear some ideas from ACASA
members. Contact: Sidney Kasfir, 1992 ASA
National Panels Committee, c/o ASA
Secretariat, Credit Union Building, Emory
University, Atlanta, GA 30322.

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

Arnold Rubin Book Award 1992 memberships are extended to any scholar or
museum curator interested in the field of
The Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication African art and material culture and in the
Award in African Arts will be awarded for the programs of ACASA. To join ACASA as a
second time at the Triennial Symposium on complimentary member, one must be resident in
African Art in April 1992. The award is offered Africa or the Caribbean. Write: ACASA,
to a work of original scholarship and excellence National Museum of African Art Library,
in visual presentation which makes a significant Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
contribution to the discipline of African art. 20560, USA.
English-language monographs and exhibition
catalogs by one or two authors published in
1989, 1990 or 1991 are eligible. In addition, four __ th Ne__ __ __
Honorable Mention awards will be made.
Publishers are invited to nominate titles by In Ma Sylvia Williams, Director of the
submitting one copy each to the three members In May, Sylvia Williams, Director of the
of the ACASA Book Award Committee: Dr. National Museum of African Art, visited South
of the ACASA Book Award Committee: Dr. Africa under the auspices of the United States
David Binkley, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Information Agency's American Cultural
4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111; Dr Info aon Agencs Amecan Cultural
. .. Oak Stt K a C, MO 6 specialist program. She visited museums and
Suzanne Blier, Department of Art History &rt centers Preto a, Johannesburg, Cape
Archaeology, Schermerhom Hall, Columbia rt centers in Pretoria, Johannesburg Cape
University, New York, NY 10027. Town and Durban. In Cape Town, she was the
committee member will be announcedsoon keynote speaker at the South African Museums
contact Dr. David 15inkley for more information.
Authors who would like to have their books Robert Farris Thompson, Master of Timothy
considered should urge their publishers to Dwight College and professor of the history of
submit copies for review. The deadline for art, was awarded an honorary Doctor of
nominations is December 31, 1991. Humane Letters degree bv Yale University on
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -n

ACASA Book Distribution Program
There are plans to expand the ACASA Book
Distribution Program from 100 recipients to 125.
Through this program, libraries and museums
in Africa (not individuals) receive African Arts
and other publications on African art. A
supplementary list of 25 libraries and museums
is now being drawn up. For suggestions of
additional recipients or further information,
contact Janet Stanley, National Museum of
African Art Library, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, DC 20560, USA. (202) 357-4875.
In May 1991, the following publications were
distributed under this program: (1) Pattern and
Narrative, courtesy of Frieda High Tesfagiorgis,
University of Wisconsin, Madison; (2) Patterns of
Life by Peggy Gilfoy, courtesy of the National
Museum of African Art; and selected
publications courtesy of Arnold Rogoff of
Ethnographic Arts Publications.

ACASA Membership Roster 1991:
Africa and The Caribbean
African and Caribbean memberships in ACASA
for 1991 total 260. These complimenatry

June 1, 1991. The citation accompanying the
award noted Professor Thompson's ability to
lead students to "the appreciation of the
philosophical, moral and ethnic reassessment of
the impact of classical African peoples in the
modem world."
Dominique Zahan, retired from the Sorbonne,
was in residence at the University of Iowa from
October 1990 to February 1991 as the first
Stanley Senior Fellow of the Project for the
Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa
(PASALA). Professor Zahan, a student of Marcel
Griaule, worked for more than ten years in West
Africa from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. He
is the author of such important books as Les
Antilopes du Soleil, The Religion, Spirituality, and
Thought of Traditional Africa, La Viende et la
Graine: Mythologie Dogon, and Socit&s d'Initiation
Bambara as well as several edited collections and
dozens of articles on Bambara, Dogon, and
Mossi ethnography.
Professor Zahan had several purposes in
coming to The University of Iowa: to study and
write about objects in the Stanley Collection of
African Art at the the University of Iowa
Museum of Art (UIMA), to develop
collaborative research based upon his field

4 ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

studies, and to advise graduate students
interested in conducting field research.
After leaving Iowa, Professor Zahan was to
spend spring semester as a visiting professor in
Kluj-Napoca in his native Romania. Sadly, his
tenure there was cut short when he was
diagnosed as having cancer. He is very ill, and
we invite his many friends to write Dr. Zahan
and his wife and family. His home address: 13,
rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris.
Maria's moving. Maria Berns has left Minnesota
and returned to California to become the
Director of the University Art Museum at the
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
93106. Her new telephone number is: (805)
Nii Quarcoopome, art historian and
archaeologist, has accepted a faculty position at
the University of Michigan and will begin
teaching in the fall semester 1991. Nii holds a
joint appointment between the Department of
Art History and the Center for Afro-American
and African Studies. Prior to moving to Ann
Arbor, Nii spent a year as a graduate fellow at
the National Museum of African Art while
completing his doctoral program at UCLA. His
new address: Center for Afro-American and
African Studies, 200 West Engineering
Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
MI 48109-1092. Telephone: (313) 763-4520.
Congratulations, Nii!
Sidney Kasfir recently spent five months in
Kenya on an SSRC-sponsored project comparing
"traditional" and "modern" artist/artisans, their
modes of production and their attitudes toward
innovation. The project focuses on Samburu
blacksmiths in northern Kenya, Swahili
silversmiths and woodcarvers in Lamu, and jua
kali artisans in the streets and markets of
Nairobi. In connection with this project she
would be very grateful if any ACASA reader
could provide a current address for Harry Silver
(Asante carvers) or Dolores Richter (Kulebele
carvers). Please write to her at the Art History
Department, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
30322 or phone 404/727-6282.
Girma Kidane of the Institute of Ethiopian
Studies Museum, Addis Ababa University, was
in the United States in May and June 1991
working in collaboration with Ray Silverman at
Michigan State University on plans for an
exhibition of Ethiopian art. During Dr. Kidane's

stay in the U.S., he and Ray traveled to Boston,
New York and Washington to survey Ethiopian
art in museum collections.
Jeremy Coote of the Oxford Institute of Social
and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University,
has taken over from Dunja Hersak as Africa
area editor at the Macmillan Dictionary of Art. Dr.
Coote teaches at the Pitt Rivers Museum and
edits JASO (Journal of the Anthropological
Society of Oxford). He has curated several
exhibitions of African and other non-Western
art. Dunja meanwhile will devote more time to
her teaching at the Universit6 Libre de
Bruxelles, where she has been for the past year
since the retirement of Marie-Louise Bastin.
Jeremy Coote would like to remind contributors
to the Macmillan Dictionary of Art who have not
yet submitted their articles to please do so
promptly, especially those whose deadlines have

Zdenka Volavkova, University of Toronto, has
died following a long illness.
Jacqueline Delange Fry of Ottawa died in an
automobile accident in June 1991.

Jo Anc

Harvard University has an opening in the
Department of Fine Arts for an art historian to
teach & conduct research in African and/or
Pacific art. Full professor; tenured; salary &
benefits competitive; to begin July 1, 1992. PhD
or equivalent required, substantial publications
& teaching experience graduate &
undergraduate. Application deadline: October 1,
1991. Send CV and three references to: I. J.
Winter, Department of Fine Arts, Sackler
Museum, Cambridge, MA 02138.

I New hD Prgram

Emory University in Atlanta announces the
inception of its new PhD program in art history.
The department of 13 art historians (plus High
Museum of Art adjuncts) includes specialists in
ancient Egypt (Gay Robbins), sub-Saharan
Africa (Sidney Kasfir) and the African Diaspora

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991 5


(David Brown) with fieldwork experience in
Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Cuba, Brazil
and the United States. Colleagues who teach in
departments which do not currently offer the
PhD in African or Diaspora art are encouraged
to have your BA or MA students interested in
continuing their studies contact us. Because our
intake is small eight to ten new PhD
students a year we are able to offer solid
financial support as well as excellent personal
supervision. Additional funds are available for
minority students. For further information write:
Professor Sidney L Kasfir, Director of
Graduate Studies, Art History Department,
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322,
USA. (404) 727-6282.

The Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin held
an exhibition entitled "amaNdebele: Farbsignale
aus Siidafrika" from May to August 1991,
organized by Wolfger Pihlmann. A catalogue
accompanied the exhibition: amaNdebele:
Farbsignale aus Siidafrika = Signals of Color from
South Africa (Tiibingen: E. Wasmuth, 1991.
(173pp.), DM 38. The address of the center is:
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 1000 Berlin 21,
Federal Republic of Germany.
The World Bank Art Society sponsored an
exhibition of "Works by A Group of African
Artists" from May 20 to June 21, 1991 in
Washington, D. C. It featured 12 artists from six
countries including, among others, Ablade
Glover (Ghana), El Anatsui (Ghana/Nigeria),
Moyo Okediji (Nigeria), Olu Amoda (Nigeria),
Billy Molokeng (South Africa) and Brighton
Songo (Zimbabwe). A small catalog is available;
write: Ms. Claudette DuCran, 1818 H Street,
NW, Room E6-046, Washington, D. C. 20433,
USA. (202) 458-2256.
In March-April, the Edward Thorp Gallery (103
Prince Street, New York City) held a small
exhibition of Dogon and Gurunsi ladders.

I Journal Noes

Art Bulletin has appointed Henry Drewal to the
re-organized editorial board for a three-year
term. The board has been charged to study the
future direction of the Art Bulletin and its

monograph series and to make
recommendations by the fall of 1993. It seems
clear that this is a most appropriate moment for
Africanist and African Diaspora art historians to
contribute to this effort by submitting (1)
suggestions (both general and specific) on the
future form, scope, and content of the Art
Bulletin, and (2) manuscripts for consideration
by Art Bulletin. Please contact Henry Drewal at:
Department of Art History, Elvehjem Museum
of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Madison, WI 53706 (608) 263-9362.
African American Archaeology: Newsletter of the
African American Archaeology Network, edited by
Theresa Singleton and Mark Bograd at the
Department of Anthropology, National Museum
of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, is a
lively new forum for archaeology of the Black
experience in the United States, the Caribbean
and South America. It contains news from
archives, regional reports, research notes,
editorial comment, news of forthcoming
conferences and new publications. AAA is free
and is published three times a year. Contact the
editors at the National Museum of Natural
History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,
D. C. 20560. (202) 786-2573.
Transition, that cultural and literary beacon of
the 1960s and early 1970s published in Kampala
and later in Accra, has been reincarnated in
Durham, North Carolina by Oxford University
Press. The tradition is being carried on by
literary heirs Kwame Tony Appiah and Henry
Louis Gates, Jr. under the editorial
chairmanship of Wole Soyinka. The first issue
(no. 51) in the new series wrestles with the
paradoxes of Mandelamania. See Richard
Bernstein's "African Oriented: Reviving a
Magazine of Change and Ideas," The New York
Times May 14, 1991, page C13. Charter
subscription prices: in the U.S.: $19
(individuals); $39 institutionsns; outside the U.S.
$33 (individuals); $53 (institutions). Address:
Oxford University Press, Journals Department,
2001 Evans Road, Cary, NC 27513.
Computers and the History of Art, a new
international journal, will publish articles
dealing with the application of computers to the
history of art. Some articles will look at how
installations have developed in the creation of
museum databases, or the development of
software to manage a videodisc of
reproductions of art works. It will promote

6 ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

I Exhib ^^^

relationships with other humanities disciplines,
such as history and archaeology. Published by
Harwood Academic Publishers, P. 0. Box 786,
Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276 or in
England, P.O. Box 90, Reading, Berkshire RG1
8JL. Subscription price is $40/26 (individuals);
$66/44 (libraries).
Culturen (Amsterdam) ceased publication with
no. 6, 1989.

Claude Faique & Otto Hollenweber. Tissus
d'Afrique. Paris: Syros-altematives, 1991. 250 FF.
George Onyeke. Masquerade in Nigeria: A Case
Study in Inculturation. St. Ottilien: Eos-Verlag,
1900. (Dissertationen: Theologische Reihe, 42).
DM 29.
J. David Lewis-Williams. Discovering Southern
African Rock Art. Cape Town: David Philip, 1991.
Rand 32.45.
Marcilene Wittmer is author of the catalogue,
Visual Diplomacy: Art of Cameroon Grassfields, to
accompany an exhibition organized by the
Hurst Gallery in Cambridge, MA, which ran
from June 7 to July 27, 1991. Address: 53 Mount
Auburn, Cambridge, MA 02138. Telephone:
(617) 491-6888. $15.00.
Marie Jos6 Opper has written and published
Scented Magic Beads in Africa Made of Aphrodisiac
Paste; Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali,
Senegal. 26pp. It is available from the author:
1023 Cross Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302 for
G. K. Hall has published the Catalog of the
Library of the National Museum of African Art
Branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. 2
vols. $550/outside U.S. $650.
Two recent books on modem Zairian art:
Bamba Ndombasi Kufimba & Musangi Ntemo.
Anthologie des Sculpteurs et Peintres Zafrois
Contemporains. Paris: Nathan, Agence de
cooperation culturelle et technique, 1987. 109pp.
Reviewed: "Peinture et sculpture modeme au
Zaire," Balafon (Abidjan) no. 86: 48-49, janvier
60 ans de peinture au Zafre by Joseph-Aurelien
Comet, Remi de Cnodder, Ivan Dierickx & Wim

Toebosch. Bruxelles: Les Editeurs d'Art Associes,
1989. 212pp. Reviewed by Jean-Luc Vellut in
Journal of African history 31(3): 507-508, 1990.
And in case you missed these articles:
Lisa Aronson, "African women in the visual
arts: review essay," Signs: Journal of women in
culture and society (Chicago) 16(3): 550-574,
Spring 1991.
African Studies Review (volume 32, no. 2, 1989)
contains two overview papers on African visual
arts, one written by Paula Girshick Ben-Amos,
"African Visual Arts from a Social Perspective";
the other by Monni Adams, "African Visual
Arts from an Art Historical Perspective."
Available from the African Studies Association,
Emory University, Atlanta GA 30322. $10.00
softcover. Reviewed by Mary Jo Amoldi in
African Arts 24(2): 24-31, April 1991.
Coquet, Mich6le. "Quiproquos: A propos
d'esth6tique," Journal des Africanistes (Paris)
60(2): 53-64, 1990. As interest grows in the
so-called primitive arts, African art has a
prominent place, but several questions are
raised about how it has been exhibited,
analyzed and understood. Coquet critically
analyzes discourses about African art in the
light of recent exhibitions and conferences.
Maria Kecskdsi, "Ikonographie eines Turreliefs
der Yoruba," Miinchner Beitrige zur Vdlkerkunde
Band 2: 233-248, 1989. On the Yoruba carved
door in the Staatliches Museum fuir
V61kerkunde in Munich.

Noteworthy New Books From Africa
African Art in Southern Africa: From Tradition to
Township / edited by Anitra Nettleton & David
Hammond-Tooke. Johannesburg- Ad. Donker,
1989. 252pp. The 12 contributions range over
"traditional," "transitional," "ethnic," and
"modem" art, including tourist art; they cover
San rock art, Zulu thrones, Venda court arts,
Lobedu arts, Ndebele wall decorations,
contemporary Zulu beadwork, township art,
public art in Zimbabwe, street art ("People's
Parks") and the Polly Street Art Centre.
African Blade, a new book on handcrafted knives
from southern Africa written by Owen Wood
with photographs by Dewald Reiners, is now
available from Clarke's Bookshop, 211 Long

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991 7

Street, Cape Town 8001. Published by Southern
Book Publishers. The price is Rand 110.
Contemporary Ceramics in South Africa / text by
Wilma Cruise; photographs by Doreen Hemp.
Cape Town: Struik Winchester, October 1991.
208pp. The price is Rand 150. Also available in
special limited Sponsors' Edition and Collectors'
Edition at higher prices.
Liliane Karnouk. Modern Egyptian Art: The
Emergence of a National Style. Cairo: American
University in Cairo Press, c1988. 89pp. Modern
artistic expression in Egypt coincided with the
nationalist movement in the 1920s and was the
key to unlocking the essential dilemma for the
modern artist: how to respect the Egyptian
cultural heritage (whether Islamic, Coptic or
Pharaonic) without being overwhelmed by it
and so risk being marginalized internationally
and how to translate that same heritage into a
truly modern nationalistic, individualistic
expression that rises above the parochial. In this
first of a projected two-volume work, Karnouk
explores this dialectic through the work of three
generations of artists from 1900 to 1956.

Books on the African Diaspora
Brown, Karen McCarthy. Mama Lola: A Vodou
Priestess in Brooklyn. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1991. $24.95.
John Vlach's The Afro-American tradition in
decorative arts: basketry, musical instruments, wood
carving, quilting, pottery, boatbuilding,
blacksmithing, first published in 1978, has been
reprinted by Brown Thrasher Books/University
of Georgia Press (1990). For those of you who
failed to get it the first time, the price in
hardback is now $50.00.
The second volume of Martin Bernal's Black
Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical
Civilization has now been published by Rutgers
University Press. $60; $16.95 paperback.
Eagle on Iroko: Papers from the Chinua Achebe
International Symposium 1990 / edited by Edith
Ihekweazu. Published by Heinemann
Educational Books Nigeria PLC, 1991. The cost
is $60 / 31.50 / DM90 / SF80 / FF320.
Contact: Achebe Symposium Editorial Board,
Professor Edith Ihekweazu, Department of
Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka,
Anambra State, Nigeria. An art exhibition held
in conjunction with this symposium is reviewed

below by Osa Egonwa, Department of Fine and
Performing Arts, Bendel State University,
Abraka, Nigeria. See page 10.

I News Round-Up

News from Northwestern University
The Institute for Advanced Study and Research
in the African Humanities, Northwestern
University, has selected the theme "The Politics
of Representation: Struggles for Control of
Identity," for 1991-92 and appointed Ivan Karp
as Preceptor.
In the fall quarter 1991 the Institute seminar will
address official and counter discourses in the
colonial and post-colonial eras; in the winter
quarter, the seminar will focus on the defining
and contesting of identity through the arts; and
in the spring quarter, the seminar will
interrogate the idea of the "post-colonial."
Among the scholars who will be affiliated with
the Institute during its first year: Kofi Ermeleh
Agovi, a senior scholar in African literature and
drama at the University of Ghana, will be doing
research and writing as a Fulbright Scholar-in-
Residence on "A verbal encounter: gender
confrontations in women's song from Ghana."
Adam Ashforth, Department of Political
Science, Baruch College, CUNY, as a MacArthur
Fellow in Peace and International Cooperation,
will be writing on "The forms and forums of
African political representation in twentieth
century South Africa." Paulla Ebron, a visiting
faculty member in the Department of
Anthropology, Reed College, as a Rockefeller
Residency Fellow, will work on "A study of the
role of praise-singers in The Gambia and The
West." Abdullahi Ali Ibrahim, a creative writer
and folklorist, Institute of African and Asian
Studies, University of Khartoum, will examine
"The Qadis and the Sharia in the Sudan."
Corinne Kratz, National Museum of Natural
History, Smithsonian Institution, and a recipient
of an SSRC Post-doctoral Research Fellowship,
will look at the performative aspects of
marriage arrangements among the Okiek of
Kenya. Tejumola Olaniyan, Department of
English, University of Virginia, as Rockefeller
Residency Fellow will be working on "The
poetics and politics of 'othering': contemporary
African, African-American and Caribbean drama
and the invention of cultural identity."

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

For 1992-93, the program will be "The
Constitution of Knowledge, Production of
History and Culture," and David William
Cohen has been selected to serve as Preceptor.
An announcement soliciting applications for
fellowships will be mailed this summer. The
1993-94 theme will be "The Inscription of the
Material World," and that of 1994-95 will be

News from Germany
Marie Kecskesi, African curator at the
Staatliches Museum fiir Volkerkunde in Munich,
writes that the museum will be closed for three
years for major renovations.

News from Italy
The catalogue Forti e Castelli di Tratta: Storia e
Memoria di Antichi Insediamenti Europei sulle Coste
dell'Africa nera (Trade forts and castles: story and
memory of antique European settlements along the
coast of Black Africa) was published on the
occasion of an exhibition recently organized by
the Centro Studi Archeologia Africana in Milan.
The research and the exhibition investigated
"antique knowledge" through a rare and
impressive collection of original documents and
prints, which the Center has been able to
collect. The address of the Centro Studi
Archeologia Africana is: Via Visconti di
Modrone, 19, 20122 Milano, Italy. Telephone
(02) 780440-784208. Fax 784162.

News from the U.K.
The African and Asian Visual Artists Archive
(AAVAA) is the largest, most comprehensive
archive of African and Asian artists' work in
Britain, housing an extensive collection of slides,
catalogues, press cuttings, publicity material,
and posters. In addition, AAVAA contains
biographical files on African and Asian artists
practising and exhibiting in Britain. AAVAA is
also developing a section on African American
AAVAA's objectives are to ensure effective
documentation of works produced and
exhibited by these artists; to develop and
maintain a national archive as a resource center,
and to allow better access to, and use of, such
material and information.

Eddie Chambers, the AAVAA co-ordinator,
would like to hear from any gallery or
organization which is, at any time, exhibiting or
in some way promoting, the work of African
and Asian visual artists. Address: The Coach
House Small Business Centre, 2 Upper York
Street, St Paul's, Bristol BS2 8QN. Telephone:
Bristol (0272) 244492.

Printmaking in the Nsukka School:
An Overview
by Barthosa Nkurumeh
Printmaking as a fine art discipline in Nigeria
became possible with the establishment of
formal art schools at post-secondary level. The
first such school was the Nigerian College of
Arts, Science and Technology (now Ahmadu
Bello University), followed by Yaba College of
Technology, and the University of Nigeria's
Department of Fine and Applied Arts at
Nsukka. Alongside the academics were the
experimental Oshogbo workshops.
Printmaking at Nsukka was introduced by E. 0.
Odita in the early 1960s; Chuka Amaefuna
aroused the interest following his arrival in
1966. The department recorded an influx of
students soon after the Nigerian Civil War as
those of Eastern Nigerian origin transferred
from Zaria to Nsukka, one of which was Obiora
Udechukwu (Sibigam, 1986).
The printmaking themes have been drawn from
Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba traditions, and
rendered in stylized, naturalistic or entirely
abstract formalities to reflect folklore, leadership,
commerce, dance and religion. The conventional
media are wood, hardboard, linoleum, thick
paper, plastic, screen, zink and copper plates.
The school has evolved a printmaking tradition
quite different from Zaria, Yaba or the Oshogbo
schools. At Nsukka Uche Okeke's uli
experiments and traditional Igbo culture were
the primary sources of inspiration; the use of
the uli repertoire affects the choice of theme and
often image rendition.
The Printmaking Workshop organized in 1988
by the British Council and the series conducted
by Goethe Institute (1985-1990) have been
further outlets for Nsukka artists. Over the
years, the ideology has affected prints of Uche

ACASA Newsletter /No. 31, August 1991 9

Okeke, Obiora Udechukwu, P. S. C. Igboanugo,
Ego Uche-Okeke, Victor Chukwujekwu, B. 0.
Uchegbu, and Ngozi Anyakora as well as the
younger artists, Chime Ezeole, Barthosa
Nkurumeh, Salvator Onyeanu, among others.
Akobundu, M. 0. Printmaking in Nigeria: A
Special Survey. B.A. thesis, University of Nigeria,
Fosu, Kojo. 20th Century Art of Africa. Zaria:
Gaskiya Corporation, 1986.
Ogbechie, Sylvester. "The Nsukka School in
Modem Nigerian Art" in Homage, Catalogue to
an Artgrads-UNN exhibition, Nsukka, 1991.
Nsukka, 1991.
Okeke, Uche. Design Inspiration Through LUi.
Nimo: Asele Institute, n.d. (Asele mineograph
Sibigam, E. C. Sixteen years of printmaking: a
survey of the Nsukka school (1971-1980). B.A.
thesis, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1987.
.About the Author
Barthosa Nkurumeh has completed work for a
masters degree in printmaking at the University
of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is a member of
Artgrads-UNN, Society of Nigerian Artists
(SNA) and National Conference of Artists
(NCA). Barthosa is interested in establishing
contacts with artists, scholars, and galleries. His
address: Department of Fine and Applied Arts,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Anambra State,

"Eagle on Iroko"; [exhibition]
Achebe's 60th Anniversary Celebration
Symposium, Nsukka, February 1990
reviewed by Osa Egonwa.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka was the
venue of a unique tripartite showcase of (1)
modem paintings, drawings, sculptures,
ceramics, visual communications and textile
designs, along with uli wall paintings which
gave stylistic inspiration to the modem works;
(2) a photographic expose of the late Duro
Ladipo's innovative theatre of the 1960s; and (3)
Achebe's Books exhibition, all part of the
Achebe 60th Birthday Anniversary Celebration
Symposium, "Eagle on Iroko."

Central to the three efforts the work of the
Nsukka school of art, the vernacular theatre of
Duro Lapido and the distinctive literary style of
Chinua Achebe is the projection and reliance
on African cultural history and interests in
internationalising human experiences. Coming
into the global stream of the humanities at the
time they did, represented a precocious but
remarkable attempt to assert African identity
and relevance in a world overly blinded by
claims and counter claims of racial superiority.
In the visual arts, what we now see as a trend
owes much to the Zaria Art Society of the
former Nigerian College of Arts Science and
Technology, Zaria. It was indeed the Zaria Art
Society, actually a group of art students,
amongst whom were late Simon Obi Okeke
(1937-69), Uche Okeke, Demas Nwoko, Bruce
Onobrakpeya, and Yusuf Grillo, who reacted
sharply against what they saw as a transplanted
art curriculum that had little relevance to the
Nigerian experience. Instead, they searched for
inspirational meaning and relevance in
traditional cultures.
The Mbari Mbayo workshops of the early 1960s
at Ibadan, which brought together writers,
visual and performing artists, no doubt
provided booster doses for the new thought.
One recalls that Duro Lapido and Uche Okeke,
both of whom later started their own Mbari
centres at Oshogbo and Enugu, were active
members of the Ibadan Mbari. Uche Okeke
pioneered serious studies into the use of uli
motifs and stylistics in the modem context
beginning from the late 1950s. Uli per se refers
to Igbo body drawing and wall painting. It is
the source from which the Nsukka School has
derived inspiration in the last two decades (See
Uli Traditional Wall Painting and Modern Art from
Nigeria. 1990). Overall the impression one is left
with is of a school in which art works are
created with highly sophisticated and simple
tools and devices manipulated like the mma-
nwuli (the traditional stylus for uli body
In their drawings and paintings the most
prominent uli exponents Uche Okeke, Chike
Aniakor, Obiora Udechukwu, and Tayo
Adenaike show a unity in diversity. Uche
Okeke's works show what Udechukwu
described as 'high uli', with compact
compositions and ladened with decorative
elements. Those of Udechukwu are distilled,

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

simplified but sonorous with selected forms that
are strategically deployed. Adenaike's works are
charged with 'venomous' content of labyrinthine
linear-decorativeness, superimposed in most
cases on a watery bold outline. Aniakor's
combine traits of uli with a new tendency -
collage on which as if by accident fluxy lines
overweave. Aniakor's blistered figures, however,
tow a different line, but are remarkable as
relevant social commentary.
In sculpture Okey Ikenegbu's "Ijele" (king of
masquerades) fabricated of steel and polished
galvanized sheets sings the uli song of space,
linear and selective. This works is as evocatively
as El Anatsui's "After The Savannah Bush Fire
No. 5" (the master of the charred wood). After
the now 'legitimized' annual savannah bush
fire, are we not left with mud cakes of top soil
and a mosaic of lost and found or survivor
grass and hut pastiche? Anatsui's new use of
wood is tradition in continuum.
The uli trail is equally distinct in textile design.
"The Spider" as a title is perhaps only very
appropriately analogous to the external roles of
the textile craftsman; interlacing of yarn,
interlooping of bounding of fibres together.
These same operations have been transferred via
uli-ism to surface design on fabrics.
Duro Lapido's theatrical prodigy cannot be fully
re-enacted in photographs. However, the
numerous London and German newspaper
reviews and reportage of the artistic events,
spoke of its composite order, uniqueness and
cultural authenticity. This testifies to the success
of his innovative and relatively short-lived
career. The use of the artistic idioms of the
Yoruba in the song, dance, costume and
especially the so-called "drum talk" is
remarkable. These and the synthetic adaptation
of traditional arena performance to a
proscenium stage are comparable to the Nsukka
uli exploits in the visual arts as well as to
Achebe's artistic use of language imagery and
symbolism. In all three efforts, the daring and
creative use of various media in a tradition
regarding style, which makes the unfamiliar as
realistic as the popular, shows them as three of
a kind.
One must congratulate the Faculty of Arts for
the decision to sponsor this special exhibition
symposium for a distinguished Nigerian writer.
Equally laudable is the curatorial vision of the
staff of the Department of Fine and Applied

Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, home of
the Nsukka School of modern African art.
About the Author
Osa Egonwa is on the Faculty of the
Department of Fine and Performing Arts,
Bendel State University, Nigeria; he has a
masters in fine art from the University of Benin
and is a currently a doctoral candidate at the
University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is the author
of the book Nigerian Art: Introductory Notes

7Cn - I

The plenary sessions of the international
conference "What Museums for Africa?"
organized by the International Council of
Museums (see ACASA Newsletter no. 30, April
1991) will be held in Lom6, Togo, from
November 21st to 23rd, 1991. Unlike the
workshops of invited participants, which will
take place from November 18th-20th, the
plenary sessions will allow the participation of
other persons interested in the topic of African
museums. Anyone wanting to participate must,
however, write to the Secretariat of ICON
asking for an invitation: ICOM, 1 rue Miollis,
Paris 75732, France, PARIS Cedex 15.
The International Conference on Mande
Studies is to be held in Bamako, Mali, February
3-7, 1992. The conference theme is "The Mande:
Past, Present and Future." Panels are now
forming. For more information, contact the
conference coordinator: Dr. Kathryn L. Green,
ICMA Organizer, Department of History, 3211
Humanities Building, University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
(608) 263-1821.
The International Conference on Benin
Studies: The Centenary Years 1892-1992 is to be
held in Benin City, Nigeria, March 1992. The
conference will examine the impact of British
colonial rule on Benin including pre-colonial,
colonial and post-colonial developments. One of
the themes is "Benin archaeology, art and
architecture." A call for papers is now going
out. Contributors are invited to send abstracts
a.s.a.p. to: Mr. Uyilawa Usuanlele, Research
Officer, National Council for Arts & Culture,
Box 2959, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria.

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

The Society of Africanist Archaeologists will
hold their biennial conference at the University
of California, Los Angeles, March 26-29, 1992
hosted jointly by the African Studies Center and
the Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. Contact.
Dr. Peter Robertshaw, Department of
Anthropology, California State University, San
Bernardino, CA 92407-2397.
"African Spirit Possession and the Universal
Religions Worshop at Harvard University, June
1, 1991." Monni Adams, of the Peabody
Museum, Harvard University, writes:
Africanist art historians do not give much
attention to the widespread phenomenon of
spirit possession, perhaps because it is
linked directly with few "artistic" objects.
Nevertheless some points relevant to our
interest came up in the course of this
workshop made up mostly of
anthropologists and historians. At the outset
Harvard historian Leroy Vail raised several
questions on the topic, such as the impact
of the state or the political economy on the
incidence of possession, what history
illuminates of this phenomenon, why it is or
is not institutionalized. Most of the
contributions focused on relationships
between spirit possession and religion in
regions where Islam is strong or dominant.
The work that revived interest in the topic,
I.M. Lewis's Ecstatic Religion, which argued
that possession was an instrument for
women with little access to resources to
gain economic benefit, was for the most
part simply ignored or dismissed as
reductionist. Instead spirit possession was
seen within several different operational
frames: as an expression of resistance to
various forms of unsatisfactory authority, as
a response to individual or group situations
of social ambiguity, and as an acceptable
means of self-expression or reaffirmation of
local values. The last point was explored in
relation to the ancestral city among the
Oyo-Yoruba by J. Randy Matory, drawing
on his recent dissertation at the University
of Chicago.
Some situations combining Islamic
adherence and spirit possession practice
indicated once again that people live with
contradictory practices; societies operate
within what one scholar called "working
misunderstandings." One of the discussants,

Africanist anthropologist Sally Falk Moore,
offered four perspectives on ways that
ethnographic facts were handled in the
papers, yielding varying definitions of
culture: culture as received, that is
"tradition"; culture as constructed from
either what is created, introduced or
imposed; culture as a resource for the
individual, or culture as a content of sets of
It will come as no surprise that all
participants agreed that women were the
main actors in spirit possessions and the
question "why women" was raised
repeatedly. The most intriguing point for
Africanist art historians was the emphasis
on women in a conference on possession in
Africa, without the slightest hint that there
are a large set of rites in which men only
perform in spirit possession. Granted all the
papers except Matory's dealt with regional
cultures that lack masking, nevertheless, the
blind spot was glaring, and it yields a
mistaken message that in Africa it is mainly
women who practice spirit possession.
When I raised this question at a break, I
was assured by several participants that
masking is excluded by definition because
spirit possession refers to a person acting as
a mount or repository for a spirit while in
masking the "person" is not there. At the
summation and question period at the end
of the workshop, Molly Martin who used to
volunteer at the National Museum of
African Art, mentioned masking as an
example of the male practice of possession.
Although it was met with an immediate
return to the previous subject, she felt that
she had implanted an idea that would
produce at least an acknowledgment of this
fact in future discussions.
The Society for Cultural Anthropology held its
1991 meetings (May 17-19) in Boston; the theme
"Culture and Memory," fashionable in
anthropology and philosophy, has potential for
studies in art history, as suggested by enticing
phrases on the program: cultural constitutions
of memory, collective amnesia, embodied
imagery, and memory-history-power. Monni
Adams, who attended, writes:
The ironic message that struck a resonant
chord with studies in African societies came
from Kay Warren (Princeton), known for her

12 ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

work on the Maya of Guatemrla. Lecturing
not long ago to Mayan anthropologists on
current definitions of "culture" among y.S..;
anthropologists by emphasizing an
interactive view ofQ-Mayan ethnicity, as one
defined in action (between Mayans.and ....
diverse others), never coalescing, she was
met with lively arguments against this view.
The Mayan audience, adhering to an earlier
anthropological emphasis on a people's
having a specific cultural identity, argued
that the proper anthropological goal was to
help the continuity of their culture and to
establish what makes them "Mayan." They
had what Warren called an "ideology of
persistence," useful to them in their political
struggles within the modem state, but
contrary to the current notions favored in
U.S. about fluid cultural dynamics. Later
when delivering the same lecture to Mayan
linguists, a group especially involved in
fixing a "Mayan" identity, she was met with
a suspicious silence. Just as Africanists have
increasingly in the past decade come to
acknowledge individuality as significant, it
was gratifying to hear Warren give credence
to a previously dismissed Mayan saying
that recognizes the individual construction
of person: "Each mind is its own world."
Phenomenology reared its fuzzy head and
nodded throughout this conference. The
resulting discourse produced an elaborate
variety of references to the body in ritual. In
a talk on North American Catholic Action
healing sessions, Thomas Csordas (Case
Western) declared "The existential ground of
culture is the body." He referred to
multisensory modalities in the "imaginal
performances" within a session as
"embodied imagery." They emphasize
"bodily memory," recognize the significance
of the body within ceremonies, and consider
the commemorative ceremony not as a
re-presentation of "being in the world," nor
paradoxically a way of forgetting. They
have power when evoked, he proposed,
because they stand in for human bodies and
the activities of those bodies; they are
emblems of the socially inscribed body.
Possibly these ponderings and vocabularies,
if pursued while wide awake, could enrich
approaches to African art and ritual. The
Society publishes a journal called Cultural

Anthropology, an attraction that I surmise
holds the shifting Society self together.

Milestone Filfm &-Video- has acquired' al',North
American rights to the films of director Philip
Haas. A New York-based filmmaker, Haas has
been making films on art and artists for over a
decade. Milestone now represents Haas's films
featuring his latest series on artists working in
traditional cultures around the world,
"Magicians of the Earth." This four-film series
travels around the world to introduce the
viewer to a remarkable group of artists. "A
Young Man's Dream and a Woman's Secret"
(1990) examines a group of men in Papua New
Guinea creating a 'spirit house' and a funerary
sculptor in Madagascar. "Seni's Children"
(1990) introduces an amazingly creative woman
sculptor in Senegal. "Kings of the Water" (1990)
profiles the life and culture of a painter in B6nin
who adorns temples with sacred images.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC
will present a complete retrospective of Haas's
films, including the premiere of "Magicians of
the Earth," in October 1991. The retrospective
entitled "The Magic of Art: The Films of Philip
Haas" will then tour theaters and museums
around the country. For information on the
films of Philip Haas, please contact Dennin
Doros or Amy Heller of Milestone Film &
Video, 275 West 96th Street, Suite 28C New
York, NY 10025. Phone: (212) 865-7499. Fax:
(212) 222-8952.
"A Young Man's Dream and a Woman's
Secret" (1990) Synopsis:
For this film Philip Haas traveled to the
southernmost tip of Madagascar to meet
Efiaimbelo, a man in his mid-sixties who
works as a funerary sculptor. The film
follows Efiaimbelo as he travels to an
isolated area in the countryside to cut down
a special tree for sculpting. He makes it into
a pole of geometric shapes, which he then
tops with a finely honed sculpture of a cow.
This beautiful sculpture is a funerary piece,
designed to ornament a grave. The film
features remarkable footage of huge tombs
covered with cow antlers and poles like the
one we see Efiaimbelo sculpt. The tops of
these poles are decorated with all sorts of

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991 13

animals, people and tableaux associated
with the dead person. Very little has been
known or seen of this funeral and artistic
tradition outside the region and the film
provides and extraordinary rich visual
"Seni's Children" (1990) Synopsis:
Seni Camara lives with her husband and
family in the village of Bigona in the
Casamance region of southern Senegal.
Working outside the local tradition of
making pots and "useful" objects out of
clay, Seni claims that through a "gift of
God" she has been able to create thousands
of bizarre, magnificent creatures clay
sculptures of astonishing originality.
Although the villagers don't know quite
what to make of Seni and her art, she
continues to work to support her family
and to satisfy her own creative urge. The
film follows Seni and her husband as they
prepare the materials of her art. Together
they dig up the hard dirt of the land and
slowly mix it with water and sand until the
clay is ready to be molded (she tells by
taste). While Seni does the intense work of
shaping the wet clay into her truly original
forms, her husband prepares the final dye
bath by harvesting and soaking wild nuts in
water. Finally they fire the sculptures and
dye them. Seni then carries her creations to
the market where she sells them to the
occasional western tourist (for the
equivalent of $100 to $400) who happen to
stumble onto her market stall where her
sculptures share space along with the
vegetables and other odds and ends on her
Seni's work is powerful strange half
human creatures giving birth to other, little
laughing creatures, each stranger than the
last. Heads come out of knees and bodies
grow out of other bodies. They are Seni's
fertility sculptures, her children. "Seni's
Children" provides a wonderful example of
an artist who uses traditional materials to
make strikingly new and original work. The
film has an original music score by the West
African musician Foday Musa Suso.
"Kings of the Water" (1990) Synopsis:
Cyprien Tokoudagba is from the city of
Abomey in Benin, where he paints the

religious houses of the vodun. Haas and his
film crew follow Cyprien as he first paints
and then takes part in the ceremony to
open a temple. The painting includes three
vodun figures and several vodun emblems,
including a pipe and a duck. Cyprien
explains his work in the context of the
religion and takes the crew to film other
local ceremonies, one where the dead are
believed to come back to instruct the living
through wild dancing and, another, where
women warriors known in the west as
amazons, perform their war dances.
Rowland Abiodun and Henry Drewal were
consultants on this film.
The University of Calgary presents "Dokwaza:
Last of the African Iron Masters," a 50-minute
videotape that documents the complete process
of iron working, from ore to finished tool,
among the Mafa people of North Cameroon.
"Dokwaza" is presented in three sequences. In
the first, Dokwaza is introduced and we follow
the building of the furnace and the bellows. The
second sequence takes us through the long day
of the smelt as the furnace is fired up, prayers
and sacrifice are offered, ore and charcoal are
added, bellows are furiously pumped to the
accompaniment of harp music and song until
at night an iron bloom 40 cm in height is prised
out of the shaft. The third sequence takes place
at Dokwaza compound where he first refines a
part of the iron bloom and then, with a son's
assistance, welds and forges the metal into a
steel hoe.
Persons interested in the peoples of Africa,
traditional and appropriate technologies,
metallurgy and materials science, and in
archaeology will all find it of value. Its content
and length also recommend it for classroom use
at undergraduate and graduate levels. The video
is available for preview, rental and purchase in
all NTSC (North American) videotape formats.
An English-language version in PAL format and
a French language version in NTSC and
SECAM are also available. Purchases are $325
per tape in any 1/2" or 3/4" NTSC format. To
order material, or for additional information,
please contact: Ann Beckerleg, Department of
Communications Media, Room MLB024, The
University of Clagary, 2500 University Drive,
NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4 Canada. (403)
220-3709, FAX: (403) 282-7298.

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

Zimbabwe stone sculptures were featured on
Charles Kuralt's "Sunday Morning" CBS
television on July 28th in conjunction with a
current exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of
Natural History. The works of fifteen sculptors
are exhibition, and some of the footage showed
sculptors at work. The exhibition was organized
by Roy Cook of Matombo Gallery, Harare. The
TV segment included an interview with Mr.
Cook and with the director of the Museum,
who found that they had to defend showing
African art in a natural history museum (rather
than in an art museum). Thomas McEvilley, for
one, criticized this choice, arguing that it is the
same old Eurocentric approach to art from
Africa. He also queried whether Zimbabwe
stone sculpture was truly modem African art,
since it was driven solely by the market.

Opportunities for publishing
Garland Publishing is seeking scholarly
research-based manuscripts for its new series
Studies in Ethnic Art. This international series
includes monographs and annotated
bibliographies on topics of both contemporary
and traditional arts in non-European cultures.
The parameters of the works must be sufficiently
broad to appeal to a cross-section of scholars
and researchers. A full range of the arts,
including subjects from architecture to the
festival arts to craft production, will be
considered. Send inquires to the series advisor:
Dr. Judith Bettelheim, San Francisco State
University, Department of Art, 1600 Holloway
Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 338-2176.

Smithsonian Board Backs National
African-American Museum
On May 6, 1991 the Smithsonian Institution's
Board of Regents unanimously approved the
establishment of a National African-American
Museum. The museum will be located in the
Arts and Industries Building, adjacent to the
Smithsonian's Castle and is scheduled to open
in 1995. An advisory committee chaired by Dr.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, New York City
Commissioner for Cultural Affairs, has been
exploring "the form and content of an
African-American presence on the Mall" for
more than a year. The study was under the

direction of Claudine Brown of the Brooklyn
The first task will be the development of a core
collection that will come from private collectors.
Collecting and research is to concentrate initially
on four areas: images of Black Americans in
print and broadcasting; material documenting
Black history specifically in the civil rights and
labor movements; art and artifacts documenting
the experiences of Africans in the Diaspora, and
the work of Black artists. The museum will also
develop collaborative educational programs
with cultural and educational organizations in
the United States and around the world.

An unlikely Cuban Santeria drum-maker is
Morton Sander, New Yorker, Jewish, who
became fascinated with Cuban-African culture
when he visited there in in late 1950s. His
exploration of Santeria led him into fabricating
drums (chekere), and he is now deep in orders
for drums from the Santeria devotees in New
York City. See "Talk of the Town" New Yorker
June 24, 1991, pp. 22-23.

The Lexicon of Crafts
Nancy L. Ross, reporter for the Washington Post,
reflects on the new world of meaning of art and
craft in a recent article (April 18, 1991). She
"Historically the distinction between (fine)
art and (not so fine) craft was as clear as
that between a Latin inscription chiseled in
stone and graffiti spray-painted on a
back-lot wall. No more. As the two grow
closer, makers, sellers, collectors and
curators resort to an increasingly complex
vocabulary in an attempt to place people
and their works on the correct step of the
evolutionary scale. Perforce, this
contemporary nomenclature implies value
judgements as well as definitions...
"Today, if 'crafts' are the work of amateurs,
'craft' is the work of professionals. The
singular form is preferred by the
professionals themselves and by those who
show and sell their works. 'Craft' refers to
the whole whereas 'crafts' implies objects,
according to the American Craft Council

ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

End Notes^

(ACC), which dropped the plural form from
its name in 1979 ...
"In the lexicon of the 90's crafter denotes an
amateur; an artisan is a technically skilled
worker capable of executing but not
designing. The ACC prefers the term
craftsman or craftsperson (craftspeople).
(The central 's' is added only to make the
world euphonious.) Artist is not used alone,
to avoid possible confusion with those who
produce paintings and sculpture, but as a
compound term, as in clay artist or metal
artist. The addition of the word artist raises
that person a step above the skilled but not
particularly innovative ceramist or smith."
And we thought we had trouble with

African Art Syllabi
The National Museum of African Art Library is
soliciting class syllabi from those of you
teaching African art survey courses or advanced
seminars. Please send to Janet Stanley, National
Museum of African Art Library, Smithsonian
Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560

The Editors thank contributors to this issue of
the newsletter including: Monni Adams, Jeremy
Coote, Henry Drewal, Osa Egonwa, Sidney
Kasfir, Barthosa Nkurumeh, and Allen Roberts.
The next ACASA Newsletter will be December
1991. Deadline for submitting news items is
November 15, 1991.

Janet L. Stanley
National Museum of African Art Library
Smithsonian Institution

Mary Jo Arnoldi
Department of Anthropology
Smithsonian Institution

16 ACASA Newsletter / No. 31, August 1991

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