UCLA African Studies Center
The 2020 James S. Coleman Memorial Lecture
June 29, 4pm (PDT) ZOOM Webinar
Worrying the Mask
The Politics of Authenticity and Contemporaneity in the Worlds of African Art
UCLA African Studies Center Artist-in-Residence
In this uniquely curated Performance-Lecture-Film, artist Zina Saro-Wiwa navigates the moral, philosophical and cultural conundrums that arise from the very existence of contemporary traditional African art. A large part of Saro-Wiwa’s artistic practice explores the masquerade traditions of Ogoniland, her ancestral ethnic group from the Niger Delta. Yet Saro-Wiwa’s hybrid identity has forced her to consider how African masks live both in the West and in Africa and how these African art worlds impact one another. In “Worrying the Mask,” Saro-Wiwa challenges the call for the restitution of African art by privileging storytelling over geographical location. She exposes the desires and limitations of Ogoni storytelling to ask whether an object can represent a people at all. And she elucidates how contemporaneity informs the genre of “contemporary traditional African art,” suggesting that our attempts to understand and explain it may require a radical ontological turn.
Please join us for this remarkable tour-de-force by registering at:
Andrew Apter, Professor, Departments of History and Athopology, University of California, Los Angeles; Interim Director, James S. Coleman African Studies Center. The purpose of this announcement is to invite scholars to register for our (free) James S. Coleman Memorial Lecture given by Ms. Zina Saro-Wiwa, via ZOOM Webinar, in the format of a performance-lecture-film followed by live Q and A.