Sunday, August 17, 2014

Johannesburg Art Fair 2014

Africa's premier contemporary art fair, the FNB Johannesburg Art Fair will take place this week (Aug. 22-24) at the Sandton Convention Cenre, Jo'burg. Congrats to the organizers of this very important event. While a few of the more established galleries that came from the US and Europe in the past are apparently absent this year, there is a strong presence of Nigerian dealers (Arthouse, Art 21, and Omenka), which is a clear indication that Lagos--like the Nigerian economy since the re-calibration a few months ago--is hot now, at least when it comes to buying and selling art. The fair organizers are quite aware of this, as they are featuring two Nigerian art forums on the opening day:
  • "Current tendencies of the Nigerian Art Scene": Speakers: Joseph Gergel (Curator at African Artists' Foundation and Co-Curator at Lagos Photo Festival), Oliver Enwonwu (Director of Omenka Gallery, founder of Omenka Magazine and Head of the Society of Nigerian Artists); Moderator: Bronwyn Law-Viljoen

  • "Collectors Forum: Focus on Nigeria": Speakers: Sammy Olagbaju (Collector), Prince Yemisi Shyllon (Collector and founder of Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation, Lagos), Kavita Chellaram (CEO of Arthouse Contemporary, Lagos); Moderator: Bomi Odufunade

Here is the plan/layout of this year's fair:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

African Scholars and Scholars of African in Solidarity with Palestine

In the wake of the incredible carnage and utter devastation of life and property in Palestine by the Israeli military, African scholars have now weighed in on the contentious BDS campaign. Might African experience of colonization fund a near-unanimous support of the Palestinian independence cause; or will there be a counterposition by African scholars who see the situation in the Middle East differently, and who will support the ongoing 8-year siege of Gaza, and deferment Palestinian independence? Surely, there will be a backlash from outside Africa, but this is an move on the part of Africans who until now had not found a platform for expressing their view on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. One thing is clear. While it may be politically expedient to watch by the sidelines or tacitly endorse the status quo, it is no longer morally defensible to keep quiet about what is happening to the stateless people of Palestine. Please read the text of the petition and make up your mind whether or not to support it.

Palestine Solidarity
African scholars and scholars of Africa

We, the undersigned African scholars and scholars of Africa, hold that silence about the latest humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israel’s new military assault on the Gaza Strip—the third and most devastating in six years—constitutes complicity. Member states of NATO which mounted an air war on Libya ostensibly to protect civilians in Benghazi have been by and large quiet about the fate of civilians in Gaza. World governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. We, however, as a community of scholars have a moral responsibility to do so.
Neither the violation of international law nor the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza, however, began or will end with the current war[1]. The suffering of Palestinians is not limited to Gaza: the occupation and dispossession in East Jerusalem, the Naqab (Negev), and the West Bank; the construction of walls and fences around the Palestinian population, the curtailment of Palestinian freedom of movement and education, and the house demolitions, all have long histories that will have to be addressed.
As employees in institutes of higher learning we have a particular interest in and responsibility to respond to the obstacles to the right to higher education that the Israeli state has created for Palestinians both inside Israel and in the occupied territories. In the past two months alone, Israeli forces have raided Al Quds University in Jerusalem, the Arab American University in Jenin, and Birzeit University near Ramallah.[2] In the current attacks, Israeli aerial bombardment has destroyed the Islamic University of Gaza. More generally, the Israeli state discriminates against Palestinian students in Israeli universities;[3]and it isolates Palestinian academia by, among other tactics, preventing foreign academics from visiting Palestinian institutions in Gaza and the West Bank.[4] We are also alarmed by the long history of confiscations of Palestinian archives and the destruction of libraries and research centers.[5]
The ongoing Israeli massacres in Gaza have been ghastly reminders of the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University, Haifa University, Technion, and Ben Gurion University have publicly declared their unconditional support for the Israeli military.[6]More generally, there are intimate connections between Israeli academic institutions and the military, security, and political establishments in Israel.[7]  To take but one example: Tel Aviv University is directly implicated, through its Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in developing the Dahiya Doctrine,[8]adopted by the Israeli military in its assaults on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza today. The Dahiya Doctrine advocates the extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure and “intense suffering” among the civilian population as an “effective” means to subdue any resistance.[9]
We applaud the few dozen Israeli academics who have protested against their government, and the several dozen who signed a petition calling for an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.[10]Alarmingly, they have faced disciplinary measures from their own universities.[11]We stand by these academics and support them.
We feel compelled to join the growing number of academics in Israel and around the world who support the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. This call responds to Palestinian civil society organizations’ long-standing appeal for the comprehensive implementation of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and is supported by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE).
Following in the footsteps of the growing number of US academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions,[12]we call on our colleagues to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. We call for doing so until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians by calling on Israel to:
1.End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;
2.Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and
Respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
For more information, please contact:

Palestine Solidarity
Dakar, Senegal
Phone: +221338259822/23

Here is the link  to the petition:

Should have any difficulty signing in online, please send an email to:
[1] Associated Press, "Israel used calorie-count to limit Gaza food during blockade, critics claim," The Guardian, 17 October 2012,
[2] See incident report on Academic Freedom Monitor of Scholars at Risk Network,
[3] The Arab Cultural Association, Annual Summary Report 2011-12, November 2012,
[4] Campaign for the Right to Enter the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Academia Undermined: Israeli Restrictions on Foreign National Academics in Palestinian Higher Education Institutions, May 2013,
[5] Gish Amit, "Salvage or plunder? Israel's 'collection' of private Palestinian libraries in West Jerusalem," Journal of Palestine Studies 40 (July 2011): 6-23.
[6] Also, see the following: for Haifa University, Technion,
; for Bar Ilan,
[7] Gil Eyal, “Military Establishment and Middle East Studies,” in The disenchantment of the Orient: Expertise in Arab Affairs and the Israeli State (Stanford University Press, 2008), 185-236. See also: Keller, Uri Yacobi. “The Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories.” Alternative Information Center (
[8] See The Goldstone Report, 24, and
[10] reported here:
[12] These associations are: the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA), African Literature Association (ALA), Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), Association for Humanist Sociology (AHS), Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS), and American Studies Association (ASA).
"This is an adaptation of a letter calling on scholars and librarians within Middle East studies to boycott Israeli academic institutions"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Book: Rowland Abiodun's "Yoruba Art & Language: Seeking the African in African Art"

Rowland Abiodun, the Paul C. Newton Professor of History of Art and Black Studies, Amherst College, and an indisputable authority in Yoruba and African art, has come out with a new book, Yoruba Art & Language, published by Cambridge UP. I have only browsed the book, the e-book edition of which is out--the print version is due next month. And I can say that it promises to be a game-changer in the way we think and write about classical and traditional art of the Yoruba. A key argument in the book, one which seems so obvious that--with hindsight, we had been waiting for the someone to make it so compellingly, since Babatunde Lawal's Gelede book--is that it is impossible to appreciate the complexity and depth of the Yoruba artistic imagination, stylistic conventions and critical discourse, without recourse to that vast body of verbal text called oriki. Now, it takes someone who has an impeccable mastery of the language to make sense of oriki, and then to apply it to the kind of aesthetic analyses evident in Abiodun's book. But who says that such scholarship belongs to what one might call the "academic everyman"!
Anyway, I eagerly look forward to reading the whole book, and hopefully to  robust debate about its place in our scholarship.

The book can be found on Amazon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Doctor in search of patient

This afternoon, I received this mail below. I post the mail here in toto:

My name is Dr. Aborisade Akande. I am a native of Ogun- State, Sango Ota. Am a member of ARABA herbalist Group {AHG} Ogun-State. I contacted you because i am a native doctor and i can be able to solve one or two problems you might be going through by the Special Grace Of God Almighty. 

If you are going through Pains in life such as POVERTY, Barreness, You want Promotion in your work place,Diabetes, Stroke, Romatism, Spinal Cord problem or a little Brain problem,Hypertension, Sleepless nights,BAd nightmares,Cancers. Pregnant With Cancer,Miscarriages OR Pregnancy After Miscarriage,Fibroids and Uterine Fibroids,Abdominal pain,Anemia,Bladder cancer,Blood Pressure,Chicken Pox,Diarrhea,Depression,Eczema,Epilepsy Seizure. Heart Attack,Kidney cancer (renal cell),Leprosy,Leukemia cancer,Obesity, Paralysis,Asthma Attack,Syphilis,Tuberculosis,Tuberculosis,Ulcer  .E.T.C. 

If you lack any of this deseases or you want me to pray for you, Kindly CALL me on any of my mobile numbers below OR you can reply me back on my EMAIL ADDRESS. 

PHONE: 09097259016 or  08106787020
Email address:
Dr. Aborisade Akande 

The only illness for which I might seek out this Dr. is the one called "E.T.C."!  I am surprised he does not  claim to cure the disease du jour EBOLA.  Maybe Ebola is too new, which makes the pool of possible candidates very small for this doctor's dragnet. Beware of the healer!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Symposium for newly published Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Friday-Saturday, September 19-20, 2014
Pratt Institute

Generously co-sponsored by the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts, The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, The Edwin H. Case Chair in American Music at Columbia University, and Oxford University Press.

9:30 AM-11:30 AM  
“Conceptualism, Conceptual Art, & Aesthetics”
            Chair: Edward Dimendberg (UC Irvine)
            Jacob Stewart-Halevy (Yale), Eve Meltzer (NYU), Jorge Otero-Pailos (Columbia)

1:00 PM-3:00 PM
“Aesthetic Computing, Digitization, & Data Visualization”
            Chair: Daniel Herwitz (Michigan)
            Christiane Paul (Whitney Museum), Boris Groys (NYU), Amber Frid-Jimenez (Emily                    
            Carr), Christopher Sula (Pratt)

3:30 PM-5:30 PM    
“Decolonizing Aesthetics, Migratory Aesthetics, & Diaspora Criticism”
            Chair: Gregg Horowitz (Pratt)
            Miguel Rojas-Sotelo (Duke), Chika Okeke-Agulu (Princeton), Karen Lang (Warwick),               
            Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia)

9:30 AM-11:30 AM 
“Participatory Aesthetics, Art, & Social Practice”
            Chair: Catherine Soussloff (University of British Columbia)
            Tom Huhn (SVA), Michael Kelly (UNC Charlotte), Mel Chin (North Carolina), 
            Martha Rosler (NYC)

1:00 PM-3:00 PM   
“Race, Art, & Aesthetics”
            Chair: Whitney Davis (Berkeley)
            Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia), Monique Roelofs (Hampshire College),
            Paul Taylor (Penn State)

3:30 PM-5:30 PM  
“Improvisation, Embodiment, & Experimental Art”
            Chair: George Lewis (Columbia)
            Eva Diaz (Pratt), Carrie Noland (UC Irvine/Clark), Lydia Goehr (Columbia),
            Brian Kane (Yale)

The symposium is free and open to the public.

All Panels will be held in Engineering 307 at Pratt Institute.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Nka Journal's new website

Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art
has a redesigned website.  The URL is still Check out especially the new manuscripts submission platform.
For online access to journal content, subscriptions, permissions, advertising, etc, I recommend our Duke University Press website  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Gaza's tragedy

Jon Snow, one of UK's Top Journalists Says Gaza Has Left Him 'Deeply Scarred'

I cannot fathom why on earth the world can see what is happening to the Stateless people of Palestine and keep quiet. Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies the maiming and killing of other people's children. NOTHING. The other day, President Obama said it "breaks my heart". About the same time the US Senate passed resolution S. 498 which read:

Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.
Whereas Hamas is a United States-designated terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel;
Whereas Hamas continues to reject the core principles of the Middle East Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia)--recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements;
Whereas Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis and dozens of Americans in rocket attacks and suicide bombings;
Whereas, since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other terrorist groups have fired thousands of rockets at Israel;
Whereas Hamas has entered into a unity governing arrangement with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority;
Whereas the unity governing agreement implies Fatah's and the Palestinian Authority's support for Hamas' belligerent actions against Israel, potentially contributing to a false perception of legitimacy for Hamas' belligerent actions;
Whereas, since June 2014, Hamas has fired nearly 300 rockets at Israel;
Whereas Hamas' weapons arsenal includes approximately 12,000 rockets that vary in range;
Whereas innocent Israeli civilians are indiscriminately targeted by Hamas rocket attacks; and
Whereas 5,000,000 Israelis are currently living under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the Senate--
        (1) reaffirms its support for Israel's right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel;
        (2) condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel;
        (3) calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and
        (4) calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.

Notice that throughout this resolution, the Senate of the United States did not see the need to acknowledge the carnage and utter destruction of Gaza, the killing by Isreali War machine of hundreds (the figure has since topped 1000), a majority of them, according to the UN, civilians. And yes the deaths of many, many children a few of whom Jon Snow visited at Gaza's Shifa Hospital. Not one single acknowledgment of the destruction of human lives by their ally. Yes, the US has every right to support their ally; but to ignore the disproportionate "Israeli ruthlessness" (as Max Hastings calls it on Mail Online), is nothing short of astonishing, and unconscionable. Do these politicians, and their Israeli counterparts believe that whoever among the people of Gaza survives this massacre will forget what happened to their families and community this summer of hell? What does History tell us?

Watch Jon Snow's account of reporting from Gaza