Title: ACASA newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00103115/00024
 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: March 1990
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).
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Bibliographic ID: UF00103115
Volume ID: VID00024
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 Arts Council
of the African Studies Association

Number 26
March 1990

~ I I I I

~ 1


Cover design inspired by pyro-engraved motifs
originally worked by women on a Dera gourd,
Northeastern Nigeria.

ACASA Board of Directors

Mary Jo Arnoldi, President
Lisa Aronson Secretary-Treasurer

Maria Bems
David Binkley
Barbara Frank
Frederick Lamp
Philip Ravenhill
Doran Ross
Mikelle Smith-Omari
Fred Smith

Lisa Aronson
Art Department
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs. NY 12866
(for membership information)

Newletter Editor
Maria Bems
University of Minnesota
Goldstein Gallery
250 McNeal Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Word Processing
Chris J. Ohmer
Graphic Design
Barbara Martinson


ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990


Mary Jo Arnoldi
President, ACASA

ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990 1

Letter from the President:

I would like to take this opportunity as we move
into a new year and new decade to welcome both
old and new members to the organization. Over
the past decade ACASA has grown in numbers
and in programs. We have worked to make
ACASA a truly international organization of people
committed to the study of African arts. As we
move into the 1990's we hope that our members'
commitment remains strong and that we can move
forward on new project initiatives.

ACASA has always made an impressive showing
at the African Studies Association meetings, and
we want to continue this tradition at the Baltimore
meeting of the ASA (November 1-4, 1990). The
deadline for panel and paper submissions is
already upon us, so please submit your completed
panels or paper abstracts now to Frederick Lamp,
Baltimore Museum of Art, Art Museum Drive,
Baltimore, MD 21218.

I would also like to remind members to take the
time to fill out the questionnaire about the Visual
Resources Project that was included in your last
newsletter and send it on to Raymond Silverman,
Art Department, Michigan State University, East
Lansing, MI 48824. We need members' feedback
and support if we are to go forward with the
planning stages for this project.

As we have grown, the ACASA Newsletter has
become one of the organization's strongest
outreach vehicles for communicating information
about exhibitions, seminars, meetings,
publications, films, and projects. We depend on
you, the members, to be our field
correspondents, so please take advantage of your
publication to reach your colleagues in Africa,
Europe, and North America, and send your news
and announcements to Maria Berns, our editor,
without delay.

ACASA Business Meeting Minutes
College Art Association
Thursday Feb. 15, 1990
Hilton Hotel, New York, N.Y.

Convened by Fred Lamp (for Mary Jo Amoldi)

1. There are two meetings coming up. ASA
meeting in Baltimore, November 1-4 and CAA in
1991. For the next ASA meeting, thus far there
have been no follow-ups to the suggested
panels. March 15th is the deadline for panel
abstracts and names of those who will participate
on them. Fred pointed out that each person may
only do one thing at the meeting -- i.e., give only
one paper, chair one panel, etc. Panel abstracts
should be sent to Maria Bems, ACASA newsletter
editor for publication and to Fred Lamp for
submission to ASA.
2. Two new panel topics for ASA were suggested:
Suzanne Blier, "African Palace Architecture" and
Eve Crowley and Peter Mark, "Processes of
Cultural Change."
3. CAA meeting is coming up in 1991 in
Washington D.C. Panels have been selected and
May 15 is the deadline for paper submissions.
October 1 is the deadline for panel proposals for
the 1992 CAA.
4. There were no responses to Ray Silverman's
slide questionnaire. The concern of many ACASA
members was that unpublished slides would be
submitted; we are now suggesting that you submit
already published slides.
5. A new edition of Janson is coming out, placing
non-western art in the first chapter. It was
suggested that someone write a letter about this
issue for the next ACASA newsletter.
6. Suzanne Blier had been elected to the CAA
Board of Directors. The Board is pursuing
politically activistic issues. It is seeking panels
dealing with NEA and NEH funding problems.

Respectfully submitted
Lisa Aronson
Secretary Treasurer, ACASA



1990 33rd Annual ASA Meeting -
Baltimore, Maryland November 1-4, 1990
Omni Inner Harbor Hotel


Completed paper and panel abstracts should be
sent immediately to Fred Lamp; completed panel
and paper proposal forms, provided in the
January/March issue of ASA NEWS, should also be

[Editor's Note: The following are panel suggestions and
are subject to final selection by the ACASA board.
Persons interested in participating on a panel should
contact the organizer listed below the abstract or title.
Please note that ACASA can nominate African scholars
participating in panels for the ASA international visitors
program. Chairs should contact Fred Lamp with
nominations and paper abstracts.]


This roundtable projects a series of ten minute
presentations dealing with indigenous African ideas
relating to the ownership of property generally
defined in the Western World as "art." This includes
song, music, dance, and theatrical froms in addition
to the graphic and plastic art. Attention should be
paid to how these concepts affect the use, loan,
gift, or sale of expressive culture both within a
society and to outsiders. Social, ethical, and legal
ramifications should also be considered. It is
anticipated that this roundtable will immediately
precede the ethics panel addressing the acquisition
of intellectual property in fieldwork situations.

Doran Ross
Associate Director
Museum of Cultural History
Los Angeles, CA 90024


(ACASA Board Sponsored Panel on Ethics)

We are seeking five 10-minute papers on one or
more aspects of this topic which are based on real
(in contrast to theoretical) ethical dilemmas
encountered in the field situation. The papers
should critically address the ethical issues involved
in the practice of acquiring information in the field
and/or the ethical concerns which underlie the
relationships between the researcher and local
colleagues: the researcher and field assistants;
and/or the researcher and local informants. In
developing the presentation, authors should take
into account specific local beliefs, attitudes, and
practices about the ownership of words and ideas
and discuss how these complement or significantly
differ from Western notions about the ownership
and transfer of knowledge. Following the short
presentations, the remaining hour will be devoted
to an open discussion.

Mary Jo Arnoldi
Department of Anthropology NHB 112
Smithsonian Institution
Washington D.C. 20560


(ACASA sponsored panel on Museums)

The panel will explore how African art history is
implicitly or explicitly defined in both permanent and
temporary exhibitions. I plan on presenting an
overview paper dealing with 390 African Art
exhibitions organized in North America over the
past 25 years. Papers are solicited on other topics
relating to museums worldwide that exhibit African
art. It is hoped that the panel papers will ultimately
be published in a special issue of African Arts.

Philip Ravenhill
National Museum of African Art
Washington, DC 2060


2 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990




Explorers' accounts contain not only
geographical data, but also, more often than not,
information about various aspects of the culture
of the people through whose territories they
passed. Explorers made copious notes on: cities
and towns; types of buildings; the people and
their modes of dress and self adornment;
occupations, commercial activities; art and
material culture; as well as rituals and ceremonies.

Purged of the writers' personal prejudices and
the theoretical presuppositions of the epochs in
which the writers lived, these writings constitute
the earliest written records of African culture and
can provide a useful backdrop against which
present day material can be studied.

Following closely on the footsteps of these
explorers, we have the writings of missionaries
and the published works, often illustrated with
photographs, and with the imprimatur of scientific
societies, of the earliest crop of colonial
administrators. These two categories of writings
are also vertiable mines of information, and with
the explorers records, contain material for studies
in the change or resilience of various aspects of
African culture, especially art and material culture.

John R. 0. Ojo
Dept. of Anthropology
Rice University Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251


Nowhere else in Africa are the societal changes of
the 1980's as monumentally and pervasively
affecting as in South Africa today. In the face of
the massive forced relocation of indigenous
peoples in the "tribal homelands," and the
attempts by the White government to squelch
both dissent and the hopes of the Black peoples
for a share in the control of their future, art has
persevered and has developed its own national
and ethnic character. This is seen in forms from

ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990 3

the powerful protest of South African theater to
the identification of a South African painting and
sculpture in the recent exhibition," The
Neglected Tradition", to the astonishing
persistence of Ndebele women architectural
painters and beadwork artists defying their newly
imposed alien environment.

The purpose of this panel is to examine the
"tradition" of Black South African art in the context
of the disturbing political climate. To what extent
have ethnic traditions been continued, modified,
or destroyed? Is there an identifiable Black art that
has grown out of the unique Black experience? Is
there a "dialogue" between the arts of African and
European South Africans that responds to the
relationship in which they find themselves? Has
there evolved an identity to South African art that
contrasts with the art of the rest of Africa? In the
transitions that have taken place, what is the
importance of ethnic heritage? What can be
predicted for the immediate future on the basis of
an analysis of the current situation?

"Black South African art" will be taken to apply to
any of the arts, either taken separately or as an
ensemble. It is hoped that the discussion would
include a range of forms, styles, media, traditions,
transitions, gender, and African ethnic origins.

Topics may range from "art of protest," and
"contemporary art" made for an international
market, to older, ethnically defined, artistic
traditions and cultural continuities, such as
initiation ritual, or apparel. While the focus
excludes White South African art, the panel may
want to consider the current feeling in the South
African art community that contemporary Black
and White artists address the same political issues
and face similar problems, despite the vast
differences in social background. Fundamentally,
however, it is the Black experience that concerns
us here, as it finds its voice and its visual
manifestation in the arts of today. We earnestly
seek a dialogue that would include scholars and
artists of Black African descent.

Frederick Lamp, Curator
The Baltimore Museum of Art
Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21218



Throughout Africa, particular objects may be used
to convey threatening or malignant intent to
cause physical or psychic harm to individuals or
groups, to challenge existing social or political
relations, or to affect nature in unfavorable ways.
While attention has been paid to some of these
objects in the contexts of masquerades, the
objective of this panel is to consider objects which
may threaten or confront in less dramatic ways but
which are nonetheless powerful.

Such objects may include items of dress or
adornment, sculpture, wrapped objects or
bundles, pieces of cloth, or threads. These
papers consider how particular visual qualities of
these objects might express different kinds of
confrontation e.g., whether they are openly
threatening or more oblique in tone. What
combination of materials, actions, and words
activate these powers? What is the significance
of the color, texture, density, and shape of these
objects? What are the implications of processes
such as wrapping, twisting, and tying? How might
the display of these objects (draped, hung, sewn,
buried, etc.) contribute to their meaning?

The significance of these objects is often ignored
because of the context of their use. In order to be
efficacious, such objects must to some extent
reflect shared cultural beliefs about the nature of
power and about the particular visual and
aesthetic qualities of objects which convey
threatening messages.

Co-chairs: Robin Poyner and Elisha Renne

Elisha Renne
New York University
100 Rufus D. Smith Hall
25 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003
phone: (212) 998-8550


Past studies of "contemporary" art (i.e.
post-colonial) in Africa have been primarily
synchronic in nature with an extraordinary stress
on artists' biographies as methodological tools.
Conspicuously absent from the record are
studies which are diachronic or which present
clearly delineated theoretical frameworks
elucidating the relationship of contemporary art to
the larger society.

It is the purpose of this panel to address these
issues as well as to attempt a clearer definition of
contemporary art in Africa. Since the focus is
theory and methodology, papers may be based
on bibliographical research and analysis as well as
field work.

The intent is for each presenter to summarize a
position paper in (ten to fifteen minutes) in which
s/he addresses the problems stated above and
suggests alternative theoretical frameworks and
methodologies for studying contemporary African
art. Two discussants will comment on the papers
in five to seven minutes and the remainder of the
time will be devoted to dialogue with the

Current participants include: Freida
High-Tesfagiorgis, Sharon Pruitt, Sidney Kasfir,
Acha Debeleh, Salah Hassan. The discussants
will be announced. Other participants are
encouraged in the hopes of organizing a double
panel to grapple with these issues.

Mikelle Smith Omari
Department of Art
California State University
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840
Home phone number: (213) 296-6661

4 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990


The fundamental characteristic of a culture is the
highly dependent and reciprocal nature of its
linkages with the social and economic reality of
the environment with the level of productive
forces and the mode of production of the society
which created it. Suffice it to say that the study of
the development and contribution of the
contemporary African artist is inextricably linked to
the understanding of the social and economic
dynamics of his background and or environment,
in other words, understanding the artist and his
work in a historical context. Understanding
change, tradition and continuity and the role of
the contemporary African artist, his development
and contributions, means understanding the
artist and his creative work within the context of
the social, political, cultural and other contributing

Dynamic changes in tradition and continuity and
the state of Contemporary African Art is
understood when social, political, cultural,
religious, and economic changes are looked at as
part and parcel of the phenomenon. The African
artist today is part of the on-going local, national,
and international (global) change and as such any
study that claims to present the African artist
today would necessarily consider to look at
his/her development and contribution in a
historical context.

This I believe would prevent quick and easy but
erroneous approaches to pigeon holing and or
misleading analysis of artists and their work. I
hope this panel among others will encourage
study of works by individual artists, both in Africa
and abroad as well as contribute towards the
extensive studies already existing in traditional
African Art.

Send paper proposals to:
Chair: Acha Debela
Ohio State University
Advanced Computing Center
for the Arts and Design
Co-Chair: Dr. Mikelle Smith Omari

Panelists: Salah Hassen, Gavin Jantjes, Acha
Debela. Discussant: Henry Drewal


Proposals should strive to expand the
understanding of African Dress by focusing on
the limits of "propriety" within which aesthetic
arrangements in African dress are based. Special
attention should be given to aspects of dress
which are overlooked in textile oriented
discussions. For example, body painting, the
cache-sex as public jewelry; the form and
decoration of prepuce covers; change-over-time
in response to Western definitions of
"respectable"; situations where the minimum
actually seems to be synonymous with maximum,

Michael Conner
821 West Sixth St.
Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 334-0131


Anyone interested in giving a paper on this topic,
please contact:

Marian Ashby Johnson
Department of History
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602
Office: (801) 378-3247
Home: (801) 224-9456


In the "romantic" past, each artistic expression
worked in lock-step with the others. Each was
bonded to the others, helped to identify the
others, and contained elements of the others.
Does evidence of a similar fusion exist among the
works of artists, poets, and filmmakers today? Or
does individualism, art for profit, and influence

ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990 5

from the West rip apart the seamless fabric,
denying this organic intermingling and, in so
doing, efface specificity in favor of a false

Send paper proposals to:
Jean Kennedy
California College of Arts and Crafts
996 Oak Street
San Francisco, CA 94117


Anyone interested in giving a paper on this topic,
please contact:
Dunja Hersak Address: 38 Edith Road
London W14
(w) 01 836-6633 ext. 2525
(h) 01 602-7882

Other panel topics include:
Work/gender roles produced in art Chris Mullen
Headrests or possibly stools Bill Dewey
Commonality in African Art growing out of "Icons"
exhibition, National Museum of African Art -
Bill Mithoefer

Please contact panel organizers if you are interested in


Notice of the 1991 Annual Meeting of the College
Art Association, Washington, D.C., February
21-23, 1991

The following sessions have been accepted by
the CAA Board of Directors for the 1991 meeting.
ACASA members are encouraged to participate
not ony in African art sessions but also in
non-ACASA sessions on themes to which we can
contribute. Remember that participation is limited
to CAA members, although foreign nationals
residing abroad, and persons whose primary
professional identification is outside art history

may also participate without membership. A
person may not participate in the same capacity
two years in a row, and may not participate in more
than one session in any capacity. For further
guidelines, and the full listing of the Art History
sessions for the 1991 meeting, please check the
announcement in the April CAA Newsletter. The
deadline for paper proposals to be sent to
session chairs is May 15, 1990.

Sessions organized by ACASA members, or of
special interest:

The Art of the Personal Object (to be held at the
National Museum of African Art), Philip
Ravenhill and Roy Sieber, National Museum
of African Art, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C. 20560.
The Face of the Gods: Art and Altars of the Black
Atlantic World, Robert Farris Thompson, Dept.
of the History of Art, Box 2009, Yale Station,
New Haven, CT 06520.
Images of Power and the Construction of Gender:
Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Mikelle Smith
Oman, Art Dept., California State University,
Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long
Beach, CA 90840.
Style in Art and Technology: Pre-Columbian
America and Pre-Colonial Africa, (CAA
West Africa B.P. 1000 250: The Disciplines
Meet, Frederick Lamp, The Baltimore
Museum of Art, Art Museum Drive, Baltimore,
MD 21218.
Other sessions of possible interest:
Art in Ritual Context, Irene J. Winter, Harvard
Identity, Society and the Hand-Made Object,
Anthony Cutler, Pennsylvania State
The "Other" History of Art, Tom Freudenheim,
Smithsonian Institution.
Others Viewing Others: The Representation of
Gender and Sexuality (co-sponsored by the
Gay/Lesbian Caucus), Anne Kibbey,
University of Colorado, and Jonathan
Weinberg, Yale University.
The Past Preserved, Frederick M. Asher,
University of Minnesota.
Who is the "We" Who Creates Art History?,
Josephine Withers, University of Maryland.

6 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990




[Editor's Note: Please send information about
activities/programs at your institution that deal with
African art and material culture.]

Midwest Art History Society 17th Annual
Meeting. March 29-31, 1990 University of

Arts Of Africa and the Americas, March 29, 2:00 -
4:00 p.m.
The Dynamics of Style and Creativity in
Northern Ghana, Fred T. Smith, Kent State
Early Akan Gold from the Wreck of the Pirate
Ship Whydah, Martha J. Ehrlich, Southern
Illinois University at Edwardsville
Symbolism in Zapotec Funerary Art, Carey
Rote, Corpus Christi State University.
Yoruba Thunder, Stephens Wicks, Cleveland
State University.

I Cultural Pluralism and National Integration in
Comparative Perspective. June 18 August
10, 1990.

A summer Seminar for College Teachers will be
organized under the sponsorship of the National
Endowment for the Humanities. Under the
direction of Professor M. Crawford Young, the
Seminar will take place at the University of

The proposed Seminar will explore patterns of
cultural pluralism (understood as social affinities
and solidarities based upon ethnicity, language,
race, caste, or region) within the political setting of
the contemporary state. Forms of conflict and
cooperation emerging around these cleavages,
and policy choices conducive to social harmony
and consistent with equity and justice values will
be reviewed. The approach will be broadly
comparative and multi-disciplinary, and will be
global in scope. Both overall patterns and trends,
and particular case studies drawn from different

world regions will be examined.

Applications are welcome from those of any
disciplinary background with an interest in this
topic (for example, anthropology, history,
geography, sociology, sociolinguistics, as well as
political science). Any regional specialization is
equally welcome (Africa, Asia, Middle East,
Eastern or Western Europe, Soviet Union, United
States, etc). The application deadline is March 1,

NEH will provide a stipend of $3,500 for
participants chosen for the Seminar. Those
eligible to apply are faculty at non-doctoral
institutions whose primary duties are
undergraduate teaching and independent
scholars, including both American citizens and
permanent residents.

For further information and application details,
please write: Professor M. Crawford Young,
Department of Political Science, North Hall,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
53711; phone: (608) 263-2040.

First World Third World: Duality and
Coincidence in Traditional Dwellings and
Settlements. October 4 7, 1990.

"First World Third World" is the theme of the
second annual conference for the Study of
Traditional Environments to be held at the
University of California, Berkeley. This exciting
forum will investigate conceptual and
methodological controversies implicit in the
duality of studies of tradition and innovation,
developed and developing, male and female,
coherence and contradiction, secular and
nonsecular, in the evolution of the built
environment. Scholars from African disciplines
are invited to submit a 500 word abstract
specifying topic and inquiries to:

IASTE Conference, Center for Environmental
Design Research, University of California, 390
Wurster Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA;
phone: (415) 642-2896.
Conference Co-Directors: Nezar Alsayyad and
Jean-Paul Boudier.

ACASA Newsletter Volume 26 March 1990 7

Symposium to be held in conjunction with the
exhibition "African Reflections: Art from
Northeastern Zaire." October 12-13, 1990.

Enid Schildkrout and Curtis Keim invite papers
and suggestions for papers for a symposium to be
held in conjunction with the exhibition "African
Reflections" to be held at The American Museum
of Natural History in New York City on Friday and
Saturday, October 12-13, 1990. Three
categories of papers on art history in Zaire are
invited: reflections on particular collectors and
collections, with an emphasis on 19th and early
20th century collections and expeditions; papers
on the relationship between art and the
conceptualization of ethnicity; and papers on the
interaction of Westerners and Africans as related
to the production of art in central Africa. The
symposium will attempt to address several issues
including European and African definitions of
tradition and art; the treatment of objects from
Zaire in the past century by Western museums,
collectors, and literature; influences of colonial
contact on material culture; and effects of
European images of Africa on material culture.

For further information and for the submissions of
papers, please write or call Enid Schildkrout,
Department of Anthropology, The American
Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024;
phone: (212) 769-5432.


As a part of the Dallas Museum of Art's exhibition
"Black Art Ancestral Legacy" (December 3, 1989
- February 25, 1990), a number of special
programs were held.

A distinguished lecture series included
presentations by: David Driskell, Professor of Art,
University of Maryland; Dr. William Ferris, Director
of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture;
Maya Angelou; and Alex Haley.

A symposium entitled "The Legacy Lives:
Reflections on the Impact of the African Diaspora"
also took place on January 20-21. It examined the
most recent research and thought on
African-American culture and its relationship to

African traditions. Participants included: Ms. Alvia
Wardlaw (chief curator), Mr. E. Barry Gaither
(curator), Dr. Regenia Perry (curator), Dr. Robert
Farris Thompson, Dr. Jeffrey Stewart, Dr. Sterling
Stuckey, Dr. Kofi Asare Opoku, Mr. Ademola
Olugebefola, Mr. Gerald Alexis, Dr. John Biggers,
and Ms. Bessie Harvey.



* Babatunde Lawal, Dean, Faculty of Arts,
Obafemi Awolowo University, is seeking a visiting
position at an American university beginning
October 1, 1990 or October 1, 1991. Mr. Lawal
holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University
(Bloomington), and specializes in art history and
graphic design. His c.v. is available at the
following address:

Department of Fine Arts
Obafemi Awolowo University
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

* Alphonse Tierou is seeking to conduct dance
workshops, participate in conferences as well as
organize exhibitions of photographs, masks, and
sculpture describing African dance. Mr. Tierou
has been committed to African art in Europe for
over 20 years; he has worked as a dancer,
choreographer, author, and lecturer. He can be
contacted through Guillaume Caron at:

2, Rue des Broquiers
30000 Nimes France
phone: 33-


* Rodrick and Susan McIntosh, archaeologists
from Rice University in Houston, are Fellows at
the Center for Advanced Studies in the
Behavorial Sciences at Stanford University.
Susan is presently working on a monograph on

8 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990



the excavations at Jenne-Jeno along the middle
Niger in Mali.

* The National Museum of African Art is pleased to
announce that Christraud M. Geary has been
appointed curator of the Eliot Elisofon
Photographic Archives. She will be ably assisted
by Judith Luskey, archivist, and Anita Jenkins,
archives assistant. Chris previously was a
Rockefeller Fellow at the Museum and curated
the exhibition "Images from Bamum." She looks
forward to working with her colleagues in African
art studies in continuing to develop the Elisofon
Archives as a research center for visual images on
African artistic traditions.

* The Curatorial Department of the National
Museum of African Art currently has two new
research fellows in residence. Dr. Michelle Gilbert
has a six month appointment as a Senior
Postdoctoral Fellow. She will be writing a book on
her research in Ghana devoted to "Odwira: Feast
of the Dead." Ebenezer Nii Quarcoopome, a
Ph.D. candidate in art history at UCLA, will be in
residence as a predoctoral fellow working on "Art
and Leadership among the Ga-Adangme and
Ewe of Ghana and Tongo."



Through the Office of Fellowships and Grants of
the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC
20560), the Museum participates in the
Smithsonian's History of Art Fellowship
committee which offers senior postdoctoral,
postdoctoral, predoctoral, and 10-week graduate
student fellowships. The next deadline will be
early 1991.

Current Exhibitions

National Museum of African Art -
Smithsonian Institution
"Icons: Ideals and Power in the Art of Africa," on
view through September 3, 1990, explores five
fundamental themes: the couple, the woman and
child, the forceful male, the rider, and the
stranger. The 120 works of art in the exhibition
range from traditional wood, ivory, terra-cotta and
metal sculptures to contemporary paintings and

The Center for African Art
"Likeness and Beyond: Portraits from Africa and
the World" will be on view through August 20,

What do Houdin's bust of Voltaire, a May Ray
photograph of Gertrude Stein, and a group of
three African entertainment masks from the Baule
people of the Ivory Coast have in common?
Although vastly different in appearance, all are
portraits. These and approximately one hundred
other works of art are included in a wide range of
expressions featured in The Center for African
Art's first exhibition of 1990. Conceived by Jean
Borgatti, Visiting Professor of Art History at Clark
University, and Richard Brilliant, Professor of Art
History at Columbia University. Center address:
54 East 68th St., New York, NY 10021-5939;
phone: (212) 861-1200.

The Art Institute of Chicago
"Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and
Thought" will be on view through April 1, 1990.

The art traditions of the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria
and the Republic of Benin are among the oldest
and richest in Africa. This exhibition brings
together more than 100 outstanding artworks
from collections in the United States, Europe, and
Nigeria. The exhibition is organized by the Center
for African Art, New York, with support from the
National Endowment for the Humanities, the
National Endowment for the Arts, the New York
States Art Council on the Arts, and the Anne S.
Richardson Fund.

ACASA Newsletter Volume26, March 1990 9

University of Missouri Kansas City
Gallery of Art
"Fired Brilliance: Ceramic Vessels from Zaire" will
be on view through March 16. The exhibition
features late 19th 20th century ceramic vessels,
both figurative and non-figurative, from the
Republic of Zaire. This is the first U.S. exhibit to
highlight ceramics from Zaire. Gallery address:
5100 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO 64110-2499.

MESA College Art Gallery
"Blades of Beauty and Death" will be on view
through March 7, 1990.
Address: 7250 MESA College Drive D-104, San
Diego, CA 92111;
phone: (619) 560-2878.

Future Exhibitions

National Museum of African Art -
Smithsonian Institution
"Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and
Thought" will be on view from May 16, 1990
through August 26, 1990. (See above listing for
The Art Institute of Chicago.)

American Museum of Natural History
"African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire"
will be on view from June 8, 1990 through
January 6, 1991.
Early in the colonial period, a particular style of
anthropomorphic art portraying the wrapped and
elongated heads then fashionable among
Mangbetu rulers became popular in northeastern
Zaire and with a new European audience.
Produced by Mangbetu as well as neighboring
peoples during a period of intense political
confrontation and upheaval, this art reflected new
social realities. Nonetheless, it developed from a
long-standing aesthetic tradition found
throughout northeastern Zaire. Objects from tiny
arrow shafts to pots, knives, musical instruments,
spears, hats and hat pins, wall paintings, and the
human body were embellished with intricate

peoples collected by 19th century visitors to the
region and by two zoologists with the American
Museum of Natural History Congo Expedition of
1909-15. This and other expeditions at the dawn
of the colonial period not only documented a
period of great change in the art and life of the
region but also influenced many of the objects
themselves through commissions and patronage.
Elaborately decorated sculpture, musical
instruments, pottery, furniture, jewelry, basketry
and feather hats, knives, bark boxes, bark cloth,
and incised gourds are featured along with
archival photographs, music, and a short film
made in Zaire in 1989 of the Mangbetu today.

Designed for traveling, by Clifford LaFontaine,
the exhibition comes with a catalog, exhibition
cases, and with materials for auxiliary programs
including a sixty minute film (Spirits of Defiance:
The Mangbetu People of Zaire) and the script for
a children's play based on a Mangbetu folktale.

"African Reflections" wil also be shown at the
National Museum of African Art, the High Museum
in Atlanta, the San Diego Museum, and two other
venues to be determined. For information
contact Enid Schildkrout, Department of
Anthropology, American Museum of Natural
History, New York, NY 10024; phone: (212)

Galerle Amrad African Arts
"Emotions in Motion Puppets from Africa" will
open on May 24, 1990; a book of the same title
will be available at the end of May 1990.
Address: 1522 Sherbrooke 0., #6, Montreal,
P.O. H3G 1L3; phone: (514) 934-4550.



At the core of the exhibition are some 400 objects
made by Mangbetu, Azande, and neighboring

10 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990

Recent Publications

I Herbert M. Cole. Icons: Ideals and Power in
the Art of Africa.

Icons explores the various ways African peoples
have depicted and interpreted five icons: the
couple, the woman and child, the male hunter or
warrior, the rider, and the stranger or outsider.

Although these images are found in art
throughout Africa, as well as throughout the
world, each culture accords them unique
religious, social, or political meaning. Icons often
express cultural ideals concerning leadership,
family harmony, ancestral wisdom, and beauty.
They are also unmistakably about the power to
command, invoke, transform, persuade, and

Published in conjunction with a major exhibition
(on view through Sept. 3, 1990) at the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of
African Art, Icons is lavishly illustrated with more
than 200 photographs of superb works of art.
Among the works Cole examines are ancient rock
paintings and engravings, wooden shrine
sculptures, miniature metal castings, public
monuments in clay or cement, shop signs, and
modern glass paintings.

1989. 224 pages. 100 color plates, 115
black-white illustrations. 224 pages. Cloth price:
$45.00 + $2.25 postage/handling. Orders
should be sent to the Smithsonian Institution
Press, Department 900, Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.
17294-0900. A paper edition of this book is
available only at the National Museum of African
Art for $24.95.

SWarren M. Robbins and Nancy I. Nooter. African
Art in American Collections.

African Art addresses several audiences. For the
newcomer to African art, the book can serve as an
excellent primer. Robbins' personal and
thought-provoking introductory essay, "The Two

Worlds of African Art" explains in non-technical
language the social and political role of art in
traditional African societies, as well as its 20th
century significance outside of Africa, as a form of
human creative expression.

For the specialist, the book constitutes a
well-annotated visual encyclopedia of the
principal styles and forms of African art, its
captions and brief regional introductions, written
by Nooter, providing the latest information
available on the usage, meaning, and cultural
origins of the objects illustrated.

For Africans themselves, the book can serve not
only as a comprehensive source of information on
Africa's ceremonial and utilitarian art and the
inventiveness and aesthetic sensibility that it
reflects, but as a means of achieving an overview
of an art form that unites an entire continent.

The publication marks the 25th Anniversary year
of the National Museum of African Art.
Established by Robbins in 1964 in The Frederick
Douglas House and adjacent properties on
Capitol Hill in Washington, the Museum in 1979
was merged with the Smithsonian by special Act
of Congress and in 1987 was opened in its new
quarters on the Federal Mall.

1989. Smithsonian Institution Press. 608 pages.
1600 illustrations representing 230 traditional
African styles and 325 private and public
collections in America. Price: $85.00 + $5.00
postage/handling. Available from: Robbins
Center for Cross Cultural Communication, 530
Sixth St. S.E., Washington D.C. 20003;
phone: (202) 547-0321.

Jean Borgatti and Richard Brilliant. Likeness
and Beyond: Portraits from Africa and the

1990. A fully illustrated 160 page catalogue
accompanies the exhibition on view at The Center
for African Art from February 14 August 20,
1990. In his introductory essay, Brilliant defines
the nature of portraiture in the art of the world, and
provides a framework for its African
manifestations. Borgatti's text describes the

ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990 11


various means by which individuals are portrayed
in Africa and examines in detail the sociaTand
philosophical basis behind the use of portraits.

Man Does Not Go Naked. Textilien und
Handwerk aus afrikanischen und anderen
Landern. Festschrift in honor of Rende
Boser-Sarivax6vanis. Edited by Beate
Engelbrecht and Bernhard Gardi.

1989. Price: $35.00 US + postage/handling. For
more information write to:
Bernhard Gard,
African Dept.
Museum fOr V61kerkunde
Augustinergasse 2
CH-4001 Basel Switzerland

PI at Darish. Fired Brilliance: Ceramic Vessels
From Zaire.

Exhibition catalogue. 1990. Price: $15.00 +
$2.50 postage/handling; checks or money orders
in U.S. dollars only payable to: University of
Missouri Kansas City Gallery of Art. Gallery
address: 5100 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO

Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim, and
contributors. African Reflections: Art from
Northeastern Zaire.

The catalogue accompanying The American
Museum of Natural History exhibition "African
Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire" traces
the art history of northeastern Zaire from before
the first encounters with Europeans to the
present. The author and contributors contrast the
traditional design aesthetic of the region with the
naturalistic and representational art that flourished
after 1990. The Mangbetu people became
known for a style of anthropomorphic art that
portrayed the wrapped and elongated head and
body painting then fashionable among their
rulers; after 1900 these representations took on
new meaning as deliberate expressions of African

Enid Schildkrout, curator of anthropology at The
American Museum, and Curtis A. Keim, associate
professor of history at Moravian College, describe
early European explorations and myths, The
American Museum's Congo expedition, the arts
of kingship, daily life, and personal adornment,
the worldview underlying Mangbetu artistic
expression, and the history of anthropomorphic
art. The book includes contributions by Jan
Vansina on the early history and cultural
complexity of the region; John Mack on art and
tribute among the Azande; Didier Demolin and
Thomas R. Miller describing the social context of
music, musical instruments, and musical change.

More than one hundred new color photographs
of objects collected by The American Museum's
Congo expedition of 1909-15 are included, along
with many fine archival photographs taken by
Herbert Lang on the expedition.

Seattle and New York: University of Washington
Press and The American Museum of Natural
History. 1990. 288 pages, 200 illustrations,
cloth: $49.50 hardcover and $32.00 paper
including shipping/handling. Available
May 1990 from the University of Washington
Press, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA
98145-5096 and The American Museum of
Natural History, New York, NY 10024.

E. A. Dagan. When Art Shares Nature's Gift
I(The Calabash in Africa).

Galerie Amrad Press. French/English text. 242
pp., 232 b/w, 27 color illust., map, bibliography.
Softcover price: $45.00 US + $2.50
postage/handling; Hardcover price: $65.00 US +
$3.50 postage/handling.

E. A. Dagan. Spirits Without Boundaries (26
Single Headed Terracotta from Komaland,

Galerie Amrad Press. French/English text. 64
pp., 46 b/w, 1 color, map, drawing, bibliography.
Softcover price: $20.00 US + $2.50

12 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990



I -E. A. Dagan. Tradition in Transition (Mother and
II Child in African Sculpture Past and Present).

Galerie Amrad Press. French/English text. 160
pp., 215 b/w, 4 color, map, drawings,
bibliography. Double softcover price: $40.00 US
+ $2.50 postage/handling.

Galerie Amrad Press, 1522 Sherbrooke 0., #6,
Montreal, P.Q
H3G 1L3; phone: (514) 934-4450


SAHARA Prehistory and history of the Sahara
SAHARA is an international review which intends
to establish a means of exchanging opinions and
to act as a link between scholars of all countries.
Its aim is to spread information and opinions
concerning prehistory and history of the Sahara,
the Sahel, and of neighboring regions when the
subject can be considered relevant to Saharan
questions. Sahara welcomes contributions of
scholars and students of prehistoric art. A
section, open to everybody, will be especially
dedicated to communications about unpublished
or little known rock-art and prehistoric documents.
Articles published will respect principles and
rules commonly accepted in the international
scientific community.

Price: Lit. 20,000 one copy (ca. US $15)
postfree, sent to postal c/a N. 61346201 or by
international mail order payable to Pyramids:
Second Strada 2, San Felice, 20090 Segrate
(Milano) Italy; phone: 02/7533648. For
payments through banks or in a currency other
than Italian lire, please add the equivalent of US
$8 for bank and exchange expenses. For air mail
delivery, add Lit. 5,000.


African Studies in Frankfurt
Submissions can be sent to:
Eke Haberland and Petra Menzl, Editors
Institute fOr Historische Ethnologie
6000 Uebigstrasse 41
Frankfurt am Main


Yaaba, a film by Idrissa Ouedraogo, tells a story of
invincible love and the unique bond between the
very old and the very young, that both typifies and
transcends the film's African setting. In an
expanse of desert outside their native village, a
young boy and girl playing hide-and-seek
befriend an old and lonely woman, "Yaaba"
(grandmother), a pariah who has been rejected by
the villagers. Ouedraogo handles the tale of their
love precisely and delicately, and he skillfully
combines the real and mythological elements of a
great, late-night campfire gathering. The film was
the winner of the International Critics Prize at the
Cannes Film Festival. Available through New
Yorker Films, 16 West 61st St., New York, NY
10023; phone: (212) 247-6110.

Spirits of Defiance: The Mangbetu People of
Zaire is a one-hour film produced by Jeremy Marre
for the American Museum of Natural History
exhibition "African Reflections: Art from
Northeastern Zaire," BBC Television, and Arts
and Entertainment Network; the film reveals how
the Mangbetu interpret the forces that shape their

Nineteenth-century stereotypes persist among
missionaries who still try to convert the Mangbetu
to Christianity; the Mangbetu ironically project
these myths back onto Europeans. Filmed in
Zaire in 1989, the film is available on 3/4 inch
NTSC tape or 16 mm film with the exhibition,
"African Reflections: Art from Northeastern
Zaire." VHS copies are available for home use for
$19.95 pluse $3.50 postage/handling from The
Museum Shop, American Museum of Natural
History, New York, NY 10024.

Danse in Africa includes dances of 13 African
countries performed in the Dakar Festival, April
1966. 58 mins., VHS Video with English
narration. Price: $90.00 US plus
postage/handling/insurance. Available through
Galerie Amrad African Arts (see address under
Recent Publications).

ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990 13


Please remember to fill out and return the
membership renewal form you received with your
last newsletter. Only paid members will receive
copies of the 1990 newsletters. The new 1990
roster will be published with the June newsletter.

All information regarding change of address
should be directed to the ACASA
Secretary/Treasurer, Lisa Aronson, Skidmore
College, Department of Art, Saratoga Springs, NY


Send all news and announcements to Maria C.
Bems, University of Minnesota, Goldstein Gallery,
240 McNeal Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108 by MAY 1,
1990 for inclusion in the June Newsletter.

We encourage colleagues in Africa, Europe, and
North America to send information about
exhibitions, research projects, publications,
conferences and other activities.


14 ACASA Newsletter Volume 26, March 1990

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