Monday, November 27, 2006

Chris Abani

Chris Abani

Chris Abani`s novels are GraceLand Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004 and Masters of the Board Delta, 1985. His poetry collections include Dog Woman Red Hen, Fall 2004, Daphne’s Lot Red Hen, 2003, and Kalakuta Republic Saqi, 2001. He teaches in the MFA Program at Antioch University, Los Angeles and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside. A Middleton Fellow at the University of Southern California, he is the recipient of the 2001 PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the 2001 Prince Claus Award and a 2003 Lannan Literary Fellowship.


2003 - Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, USA.

2003 - Hellman/Hammet Grant from Human Rights Watch, USA.

2002 - Imbonge Yesizwe Poetry International Award, South Africa.

2001 - PEN USA West Freedom - to - Write Award, USA.

2001 - Prince Claus Award for Literature & Culture, The Netherlands.

2001 - Middleton Fellowship, University of Southern California, USA.

1983 - Delta Fiction Award, Nigeria.

Alex La Guma | Time of the Butcherbird

Time of the Butcherbird


Out on the flat, featureless South African veld, a small mining town is waiting for rain. As the oppressive summer wears on, the white Afrikaner townspeople seem to be unaware of the storm brewing out on the plain. Out in the bush, a shepherd recalls the riddle of the butcherbird.


Review by Lexi Wades from United Kingdom

La Guma mixes white decadence with black injustice in this story of segregation and the changing face of South African society in the middle of the twentieth century. Our sympathy is shared between a young white woman bored with her life and the sequence of events that have led her to where she is and a pair of black brothers who are naive to the ways of an unjust society.
TOTB is an interesting an enlightening novel and defiantly worth reading if you are interested in African society.

Alex La Guma | Time of the Butcherbird

Time of the Butcherbird


Out on the flat, featureless South African veld, a small mining town is waiting for rain. As the oppressive summer wears on, the white Afrikaner townspeople seem to be unaware of the storm brewing out on the plain. Out in the bush, a shepherd recalls the riddle of the butcherbird.


Review by Lexi Wades from United Kingdom

La Guma mixes white decadence with black injustice in this story of segregation and the changing face of South African society in the middle of the twentieth century. Our sympathy is shared between a young white woman bored with her life and the sequence of events that have led her to where she is and a pair of black brothers who are naive to the ways of an unjust society.
TOTB is an interesting an enlightening novel and defiantly worth reading if you are interested in African society.

Alex La Gama | In the Fog of the Season's End

In the Fog of the Season`s End

The story of Beukes - lonely, hunted, determined - who works for an illegal freedom organization, and of Elias Tekwane, captured by the South African police and tortured to death in their cells.

Alex de Gama | A Walk in the Night

A Walk in the Night

This is a collection of short stories set in Cape Town`s notorious District Six. The stories look at issues of poverty, with characters such as Willieboy, Mikey, Miss Gipsy and Raalt.

Alex La Guma | South Africa

Alex La Guma
La Guma was a writer, a leader of the South African Coloured People`s Organisation SACPO and a defendant in the Treason Trial. Born in 1925 in Cape Town, the son of James La Guma. After graduating from the Trafalgar High School, he joined the Young Communist League in 1947 and became a member of the Communist Party a year later. He helped organise the Congress of the People. He was chairman of SACPO in the Western Cape in the 1950s and an executive member of the SACPO later called the South African Coloured People`s Congress in the 1960s. He wrote for New Age from 1955. He wrote many articles for Fighting Talk in which he captured the atmosphere of the trial proceedings. He was placed under 24-hour house arrest in 1962, and then detained again in 1963. He left South Africa in 1966. He wrote four novels and many short stories, and received the 1969 Lotus Prize for Literature, awarded by the Afro-Asian Writers` Conference. He edited Apartheid: A Collection of Writings on South African Racism by South Africans 1972.
`Alex La Guma is considered one of South Africa`s major twentieth century writers. His first book, A Walk in the Night 1962 was followed by And a Threefold Cord 1967, The Stone Country 1969, The Fog at the Season`s End 1972 and Time of the Butcherbird 1979. A native of District Six, Cape Town, La Guma was also an important political figure. Charged with treason, banned, house arrested and eventually forced into exile, he was chief representative of the African National Congress in the Caribbean at the time of his death in 1985.

Liberation Chabalala: The World of Alex La Guma.
From Protest to Challenge, Political Profiles Volume 4, p52

Maroon Arts: Cultural Vitality in the African Diaspora

Maroon Arts: Cultural Vitality in the African Diaspora
by Sally Price, Richard Price

A stunning record of African-American history and culture through anthropological and artistic eyes - Sally and Richard Price`s groundbreaking work put the history back into the art history of the African diaspora, carefully documenting three centuries of struggle, debate, imitation, and innovation in one of the world`s most beautiful artistic traditions. - J. Lorand Matory, professor of Afro-American Studies and Anthropology, Harvard University - Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 images - Will appeal to art lovers, historians, those interested in museum studies, African American history and culture, and collectors of African Art

From the Publisher

Advance Praise for Maroon Arts

Sally and Richard Price`s groundbreaking work puts the history back into the art history of the African Diaspora, carefully decumenting three centuries of struggle, debate, imitation, and innovation in one of the world`s most beautiful artistic traditions. --J. Lorand Matory, professor of Afro-American studies and anthropology, Harvard University

Maroon Arts is a tribute to the continued power of ethnography and careful attention to the people who are anthropology`s subjects. This is a true marriage of anthropology and art history, and there is nothing in the anthropology of art yet like this kind of placement of expression in sociohistorical context. --Fred Myers, chair, department of anthropology, New York University

Another marvelous achievement by the Prices. Building upon years of intimate contact with the Saramaka, they have produced a work that is at once informative, sympathetic, insightful, and richly illustrated. It is a major contribution to our understanding of the cultural systems of the African Diaspora. --Colin Palmer, distinguished professor of history, The Graduate School, City University of New York

The Maroon peoples of Suriname are decended from slaves imported from West and Central Africa who escaped from Dutch plantations in the 18th century. Their art is a rich mix of African American aesthetics and the strong spirit of individual creativity. The authors who share the Dittman Chair in American Studies at the College of William and Mary examine textiles, woodcarving, calabash decorations, and ritual performance with an anthropologist`s regard for historical and cultural context. . . . An important contribution to the literature of anthropolgy and art. --Library Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Kentecloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora : the Oral Tradition Comes to the Page

Kentecloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora : the Oral Tradition Comes to the Page
Edited by Jas Mardis

From the Publisher

Kente Cloth editor Mardis wins Pushcart Prize
From the Dallas Morning News

Dallas writer James Mardis` poem Invisible Man has been selected as one of the 28 poetry winners of the 24th annual Pushcart Prize.

The Pushcart Prize honors the best of small literary presses the winning works are selected by 200 contributing editors.Chosen from 5.000 nominations, the 62 selections--including poems, short stories and essays--will be published in November in the anthology The Pushcart Prize XXIV. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Reviewer: Karen Celestan from New Orleans


From a full-length performance poem in script form to a teen-ager`s image-laden perception of self, Kente Cloth: Southwest Voices of The African Diaspora University of North Texas Press revives on paper the ancient tradition of griots or storytellers. James Mardis, an award-winning poet and radio commentator in Dallas, has compiled an anthology that features mostly unpublished writers. Collecting the work of more than 45 scribes primarily from Louisiana and Texas, Mardis has succeeded in capturing the rhythm-and-blues lives of people in a common-folk vernacular. Simple, earnest and true. Kente Cloth is divided into four basic categories: Witnesses, Performers, Tellers and Signifiers, with a range of styles and tales that tantalize the reader into jumping into a pool of griots. Jesse Truvillion`s A Stray Dog`s Great Day, Nadir Bomani`s Someone`s Knockin` at My Door and Phyllis Allen`s The Red Swing run the gamut from tribute to modern-day vignette. The poetry of Monica Denise Spears, Bertram Barnes, Zenaura Melynia Smith, Gayle Bell, Freddi Evans, Glenn Joshua, Mawiyah Bomani and Kalamu ya Salaam are lyrical emotion-rides, while the prose of Bernestine Singley, Charley Moon, and James Thomas Jackson invoke fiery responses. Lovve/Rituals & Rage by Sharon Bridgforth brings the joy of performance art to the page and the gentle Soul Soother by Zenaura Smith, a freshman at John Ehret High School in New Orleans, offers a touch of innocent love. Even editor Mardis slips in a folktale and a couple of poems, most notably Sting, an ode that balances lemonade and death. A dozen New Orleans writers add their unique perspectives to this collection, including Michael Ollie Clayton, saddi khali, Cassandra Bailey, Nadir Bomani, Barnes, Evans, Joshua, Perkins, Salaam, Smith, Spears and Mawiyah Bomani. The African-American literary scene is a steadily evolving and expanding landscape, and Kente Cloth turns the spotlight around to shine on the South. Mardis wanted this collection to represent the joy of the oral tradition, The elders may be gone in body, but their lessons linger in the living and sharing of these stories, poems and plays. Listen for the voices...the oral dance of tongue to teeth and song to heart. Kente Cloth is a visual tribute to the legions of unscripted griots and a worthy addition to any shelf that holds African-American literature.

Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora

Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora
by Elizabeth Harney

In the global arena, African artists have contributed significantly to the inventiveness and creative vitality of the contemporary art world. This impact has been more immediate and pronounced for Western audiences as African artists move into the growing and significant diaspora in America and Europe. This study introduces audiences to the importance of the arts in the African diaspora and tells of the important histories of migration and the myriad negotiations of artistic, cultural, group and personal identities among African artists in the diaspora. The book brings together artists from across several generations, who have addressed issues of identity, experienced displacement and created new homelands. The evidence of these encounters and personal experiences can be seen in the works of art that are included, which demonstrate the magnificence and arresting power of contemporary African art.

Diaspora and Visual Culture

Diaspora and Visual Culture
by Nicholas Mirzoeff Editor


This text marks the importance of diaspora as a means of understanding the new modes of postnational identity. In examining the visual culture of the classic African and Jewish diasporas, contributors address different aspects of the multiple viewpoints inherent in diasporic cultures. Two introductory essays by Stuart Hall and the painter R.B. Kitaj highlight the intersections of diaspora and cultural identity. The subsequent essays examine individual instances of diaspora as diverse as homosexuality in the Dreyfus Affair, the Caribbean-Jewish Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, Yoruba diaspora art and performance in Brazil and New York, identity in the art of African-American women in the 19th and 20th centuries, the formation of American, European and Israeli artistic identity and the possibility that queer culture is diasporic.

Borders, Exiles, Diasporas

Borders, Exiles, Diasporas
by Elazar Barkan Editor, Marie-Denise Shelton Editor

How do the concepts border, exile, and diaspora shape individual and group identities across cultures? Taking this question as a point of departure, this wide-ranging volume explores the ways that people create and represent a home away from home. Throughout, the authors emphasize the multiple subjectivities, cultural displacements, and identity politics that have characterized the postcolonial and post-World War II eras. They simultaneously affirm and challenge previous understandings of these three terms, and they investigate their malleability the extent to which they apply to diverse communities. Once the idea of diaspora is dissociated from the historical experiences of a particular group of people, it becomes a universal designation, applicable to all displaced groups. This understanding of diaspora also allows for the creation of a nonnormative intellectual community, one experienced by many contemporary critics and with which they identify. In the postcolonial context, a global middle voice emerges that incorporates the critic and his or her identity as the participant-observer of the discourses on identity. As personal narratives transcend the autobiographical, they become indispensable guarantors of a free theoretical field, without a priori boundaries. The diaspora s voice is thus national and cultural, but it lacks the nation or the geographical definition that would constrain its subject.

New Talent | Anagossi Gratien | Grek

Grek | Anagossi Gratien
Republic of Benin
b.1974 - Present
Grek Art

Grek is one of the exciting young talented artists of West Africa from the Republic of Benin. Originally from the Republic of Togo he moved to neighbouring Benin in his teens and is now in his early 30`s. He has worked for the French Cultural Centre in Cotonou and most recently, has set-up a design group in the Port of Cotonou.

His work is similar to Alberto Burni and Antoni Tapies of the Art Informel Movement of the 1950`s but I believe this is more by accident rather than design. I use the term Art Informel from the French informe, meaning unformed or formless to refer to the antigeometric, antinaturalistic, and nonfigurative formal preoccupations which is so obvious in Grek`s work, stressing his pursuit for spontaneity, looseness of form, and the irrational. His work is pushing forward new ideas of seeing and using whatever materials are closest at hand. His work is extensively about the plight of the empoverished and his inventive techniques of leaving painted canvas in the sun for weeks on end is extremely effective. The end product is a painting that looks like it`s about to fall to pieces, which is purposefully symbolic in the way in which he chooses to reflect his own condition.

Grek`s work leans towards the gestural and expressive, with repetitive anticompositional formats related to Abstract Expressionism. If ever there was an artist who represented African modernity it is Grek.

He is a dedicated artist and we are delighted to represent him on the site.

New Talent | Krisito Assangni

Krisito Assangni
b.1975 - Present


2005 Galerie Pierre-Michel Dugast, Paris

2004 Sela Gallery, Leeds, United Kingdom
Galerie 43, Paris

2003 Mondiaal Centrum, Maastricht, Netherlands
Galerie Mailletz , Paris

2002 Galerie du Médoc, Bordeaux, France


2005 Lines on paper, Oö Landesmuseum, Linz, Austria
Limited, Toast Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

2004 Foire internationale des arts derniers, les Afriques, Musée des
Arts Derniers, Paris
15 th, Kolb Halle, Cologne, Germany
Atout coeur d’artiste, Musée du collage, Sergines, France
Symposium Art Kollage , Proldiv, Bulgaria

2003 Mail art, Cultural center of Sucy-en-Brie France,
Belgrade Serbia, Bietighem-Bissigen Germany
Les signes, Galerie Pierre-Michel Dugast, Paris

2002 Africavui, Galeria Greca, Barcelone, Spain

2001 8 artistes, Galerie du Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Grands et Jeunes, Galerie Am Tunnel, Luxembourg

2000 Grands et Jeunes, Espace Eiffel-Branly, Paris
Le Phare Togo-Bretagne, Assemblée Nationale, Paris
1/2000 , Galerie Jacques Cartier, Chauny, France

1999 Journées Photographiques de Lome



2002 Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

1999 Atelier of Beat Presser, Goethe institut, Lome, Togo

New Talent | Kossi Ankude | Laka

Kossi Ankude | Laka
b. 02/08/1970
The Republic of Togo
Personal Details

Christian Name: Kossi
Artistic Name: Laka
Date of Birth: 02 August 1970 in Lomé TOGO
Adresse : BP 4806 Lomé TOGO
Formation : Self Taught Painter
Genre : Painting, Drawing, sculptures, installations
Education: Diplômes : BAC série C - DEUG in Economie


2003 Exposition collective GODODO, au siège du PSIC à LoméTogo
Exposition collective, galerie METISSAGE, Manosque France

2002 Exposition collective, galerie LA TOUR D`ARGENT, Lisle sur la SorgeFrance

2001 Résidence de créations de peintures et exposition collective à l`ATELIER NOMADE ALOUGBINE DINE, Cotonou Bénin

2000 Expositions avec Claude MAKELELA
Restaurant le MAQUIS, MontpellierFrance
Soirée organisée par HANDICAPS SANS FRONTIERES, Laval France

1999 Exposition au GOETHE INSTITUT de Lomé Togo
Musée Municipal d`Art Contemporain de Cocody, Abidjan Côte d`Ivoire
Exposition collective « Grande célébration », Hôtel SARAKAWA, Premier Prix du Concours UAC-WAX-VLISCO intitulé « Le pagne de l`An 2000 » Lomé Togo

1998 Expositions à l`Hôtel MERIDIEN RE-NDAMA de librevilleGabon: . Avec Claude MAKELELA . Avec la galerie LE LUTRIN

1997 Foire Internationale de Libreville, exposition collective à l`occasion du Sommet ACP-UE
Salon de thé le CAFE CHAUD, Libreville Gabon

1996 SALON D`OCTOBRE au CCF de Libreville Gabon
Exposition avec Mr Simon MIZERE au CCF de Libreville
Exposition collective à l`Hôtel INTERCONTINENTAL de Libreville
Exposition collective à la galerie OLIMA de Libreville

1995 18e Foire Internationale de Libreville, salon VIP de Shell- Gabon

1994 Galerie OLIMA, Libreville Gabon

Permanent Exhibition
Galerie OLIMA, Libreville Gabon

Other Events
Logo de la Fêtes des Cultures de Libreville Gabon

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Suzanne Ouedraogo

Suzanne Ouedraogo
Artist from Burkina Faso
Features in Anthology of Contemporary African Art
Revue Noire Suzanne Ouedraogo born in 1973, Bestiary no1, 1999

Photo by Joe Pollitt

From Library Journal

Editors with the Paris-based publisher Revue Noire, Fall and Pivin have put together a volume that will inspire and inform experts and neophytes alike. Including 500 color and 51 black-and-white images, this book provides a depth and breadth no other volume can boast of on the subject of contemporary African art. Breathtakingly thorough and overwhelming in its comprehensiveness, this volume contains a representative selection that covers all genres and reaches into every region of sub-Saharan Africa. The undertaking is enhanced by the penetrating insights of several distinguished writers, whose masterly essays recall history, provide context, and interpret uniquely African phenomena while also revealing the universality of selected works, presenting them as expressions of a modernity that is concretely African but has roots in the interconnectedness of all humans. The brief descriptions and histories accompanying each work are invaluable guides. Recommended for public and academic libraries and indispensable for any African studies collection.
Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, CUNY Coll. of Staten Island Lib.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author
N`Gone Fall is the editor of Revue Noire.
Jean Loup Pivin is the cofounder and director of publications of Revue Noire.

Book Description
The term Modern African Art is not an abuse of language. The 20th century has seen, but not properly documented, the birth, development, and maturation of contemporary art in sub-Saharan Africa, an art which was not simply imported in the 1950s but which finds its sources both in colonial realities and in local cultures and civilizations. Anthology of African Art: The Twentieth Century does not propose to document any one African art, but rather to open up this vast but underexplored field to include a diverse theoretical, historical, geographical, and critical map of this dense and ancient region. Contributions by more than 30 international authors recount the birth of art schools in the 1930s, the development of urban design and public art, and the importance of socially-concerned art during the Independence movements. From Ethiopia, Nigeria, and the Belgian Congo to Ghana, Senegal, and Angola, through the works of hundreds of artists working in every conceivable medium and context, this anthology manages the continental and unique feat of providing a thorough, expansive, diversified, and fully illustrated history of African art in the 20th century. Since 1991, Paris-based Revue Noire Editions has dedicated itself to the multidisciplinary artistic production of the African continent and the African diaspora. Publishers of the critically-acclaimed An Anthology of African Photography, a comprehensive chronicle of African photography from the mid-1800s to the present, Revue Noire also produces a self-titled magazine devoted to contemporary African art and culture. With his proverbial cynicism, Henry Kissinger said some time ago that Africa was for the 21st century to solve. Well, now we`re there. --Josep Ramoneda, Director of the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona
Edited by Jean Loup Pivin & N`Gone Fall. Essays by Francisco d`Almeida, Marie-Helene Boisdur de Toffol, Joelle Busca, Sabine Cornelis, Elsbeth Court, N`Gone Fall, Etienne Feau, Till Forster, Joseph Gazari Seini, Joanna Grabski, Sigrid Horsch-Albert, Bennetta Jules-Rosette, George Kyeyune, Alexandra Loumpet-Galitzine, Marylin Martin, Elikia M`Bokolo, Adriano Mixinge, Simon Njami, Sylvester Ogbechie, Richard Pankhurst, Blaise Patrix, Thierry Payet, John Picton, Jean Loup Pivin, Sunanda K. Sanyal, Konjit Seyoum, Ousmane Sow Huchard, Yvonne Vera, Jean-Luc Vellut, Sue Williamson and Gaving Younge.
9.25 x 12.5 in.

Olu Oguibe

Olu Oguibe
The Culture Game
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
In self-congratulatory tones of tolerance and open-mindedness, the Western gatekeepers of the contemporary art world-gallery owners and museum curators, patrons and promoters-take great pains to demonstrate their inclusive vision of world culture. They highlight the Latin American show mounted a few years ago or the African works featured in a recent exhibition of non-Western artists. Non-Western artists soon discover that this veneer of liberalism masks an array of unwritten, unspoken, and unseemly codes and quotas dictating the acquisition and exhibition of their works and the success of their careers. In past decades, cultural institutions and the critical establishment in the West resisted difference today, they are obsessed with exoticism. Both attitudes reflect firmly entrenched prejudices that prescribe the rules of what Nigerian-born artist, curator, and scholar Olu Oguibe terms the culture game.
In the celebrated, controversial essays gathered here, Oguibe exposes the disparities and inconsistencies of the reception and treatment afforded Western and non-Western artists the obstacles that these contradictions create for non-Western and minority artists, especially those who live and practice in the Western metropolis and the nature and peculiar concerns of contemporary non-Western art as it deals with the ramifications and residues of the colonial encounter as well as its own historical and cultural past. Ranging from the impact of the West`s appetite for difference on global cultural relations and the existence of a digital Third World to the African redefinition of modernity, Oguibe`s uncompromising and unapologetic criticism provides a uniquely global vision of contemporary art and culture.

Olu Oguibe is a visual artist, writer, scholar, and curator. He is associate professor of art and art history at the University of Connecticut.

Jimoh Buraimoh

Jimoh Buraimoh
The Heritage: My Life and Arts
by Jimoh Buraimoh

Ingrid Mwangi

Ingrid Mwangi
Your Own Soul: Ingrid Mwangi
by Ingrid Mwangi, Gislind Nabakowski, Jan Hoet

Book Description

Ingrid Mwangi is an artist of Kenyan origin, living in Germany since she was fifteen. In her videos, installations, performances, and photo works, Mwangi incessantly explores her blackness as well as her biracial heritage. Her works document the journey to herself, dealing with deeply rooted patterns of behavior and attitudes that lead to social, political, and cultural stigmatization. As a self-confident -person, the young media performer explores and presents her own corporeality determined by her body, her skin, her dreadlocks, and her voice. The unmediated experience of cultural differences has allowed Mwangi to develop a special sensitivity that generates an artistic prism through which she view herself and the world.

Iba N`Diaye

Iba N`Diaye
by Franz Kaiser and Okwui Enwezor

- For full details contact the Publisher below -

A new book on Iba Ndiaye entitled Primitive? Says Who? - Iba Ndiaye, Painter Between Continents was brought out in January 2002 by renown french publisher, Adam Biro. This well illustrated monograph -- in French and English -- focuses on Iba`s new work, from 2000-2001. The books` authors are Okwui Enwezor, Curator of The Short Century and Director of Documenta XI, and Franz-W Kaiser, Director of Exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

The book`s dust jacket sums up the it`s orientation:
Contemporary art is in fashion, particularly if it comes from faraway lands like Africa. But who decides what is art? Who controls the quality of artists? According to which criteria? It is clear that, almost a half-century after decolonization, in order to be recognized, Africans must in one way or another produce art that is primitive, meaning naïve, picturesque, lacking in technique, colorful, tribal, exotic.
The European inventions of primitivism and the noble savage are difficult to overcome. Iba Ndiaye sees himself as neither noble nor savage. He sees himself simply as a painter. One can only be a painter through one`s relationship with the history of painting -- by borrowing, rejecting and innovating in order to build a personal style. Ndiaye knows this, and he rejects the dubious ideology of the clean slate. Like any true artist, he sees painting for what it is: the means of finding his own personal identity, which lies between Africa, where he was born, and Europe, where he lives.

- soft-cover
- 22 x 28 cm
- 40 images, 30 in colour
- 64 pages
- ISBN : 2-84660-332-2
- On Sale : January 2002
- price : 18 €.

Adam Biro publishers
28 rue de Sévigné, 75004 Paris
Contact :
Aleksandra Sokolov
Fax : 01 44 59 87 17
Mobile : 06 08 32 10 39

Representations of Blackness and the Performance of Identities

Representations of Blackness and the Performance of Identities
by Jean Muteba Rahier Editor

This anthology offers a comparative approach for the study of performances of African diaspora identities in various locales of the Black Atlantic. Articles discuss the spatial dimensions of blackness the relations between blackness, gender constructs, and social classes Native American views.

The essays in this volume deal with representations of blackness and the performance of black identities in various historically determined societal contexts of the Americas, Benin and Spain. The book is grounded on the premise that representations constitute, in part, the world in which we live.

Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

Souls of Black Folk
by William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois 1868--1963 is the greatest of African-American intellectuals--a sociologist, historian, novelist, and activist whose astounding career spanned the nation`s history from Reconstruction to the civil rights movement. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Fisk, Harvard, and the University of Berlin, Du Bois penned his epochal masterpiece, The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903. It remains his most studied and popular work its insights into Negro life at the turn of the 20th century still ring true.

With a dash of the Victorian and Enlightenment influences that peppered his impassioned yet formal prose, the book`s largely autobiographical chapters take the reader through the momentous and moody maze of Afro-American life after the Emancipation Proclamation--from poverty, the neoslavery of the sharecropper, illiteracy, miseducation and lynching, to the heights of humanity reached by the spiritual sorrow songs that birthed gospel and the blues. The most memorable passages are contained in On Booker T Washington and Others, where Du Bois criticises his famous contemporary`s rejection of higher education and accommodationist stance toward white racism: Mr. Washington`s programme practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races, he writes, further complaining that Washington`s thinking withdraws many of the high demands of Negroes as men and American citizens. The capstone of The Souls of Black Folk, though, is Du Bois` haunting, eloquent description of the concept of the black psyche`s double consciousness, which he described as a peculiar sensation....One ever feels this twoness--an American, a Negro two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. Thanks to WEB Du Bois` commitment and foresight--and the intellectual excellence expressed in this timeless literary gem--black Americans can today look in the mirror and rejoice in their beautiful black, brown and beige reflections. --Eugene Holley Jr --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

First published in Arpril, 1903, Souls of the Black Folk was one of Modern Librarys 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the 20th Century.

The Birth of Cool: Dress Culture of the African Diaspora (Materializing Culture)

Getahun Assefa | Arab 4 | Ethiopia

Focusing on counter- and sub-cultural contexts, this volume investigates the role of dress in the creation and assertion of Black identity. Tracing the home-dressmaking of Jamaican women, through to the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary street styles such as Hip Hop and Raggamuffin, the book identifies Black Britons, African Americans and Jamaicans as being at the forefront of establishing a variety of Black identities through dress.

From the zoot suit and Black dandy through to Rastafarianism and beyond, Black style has had a profound influence on the history of dress in the twentieth century. Yet despite this high profile, the dress styles worn by men and women of the African diaspora have received scant attention, even though the culture itself has been widely documented from historical, sociological and political perspectives. Focusing on counter - and sub-cultural contexts, this book investigates the role of dress in the creation and assertion of Black identity. From the home-dressmaking of Jamaican women, through to the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary streetstyles such as Hip-Hop and Raggamuffin, Black Britons, African Americans and Jamaicans have been at the forefront of establishing a variety of Black identities. In their search for a self-image that expresses their diaspora experience, members of these groups have embraced the cultural shapers of modernity and postmodernity in their dress. Drawing on materials from the United States, Britain and Jamaica, this book fills a gap in both the history of Black culture and the history of dress, which has until recently focused on high fashion in Europe. Because dress can both initiate and confirm change, it provides an especially useful tool for analyzing identity and resistance.

Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora

Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora
Ann Laurie Farrell
Out on the 1 March, 2004

Book Description
This book showcases 12 artists from North, South, East, and West Africa who live and work in Western countries. The title refers to the artists’ practice of looking in the psychic terrain between Africa and the West, a terrain of shifting physical contexts, aesthetic ambitions and expressions.

Exhibition catalogue edited by Laurie Ann Farrell with contributions by Valentijn Byvanck, Allan deSouza, José António Fernandes Dias, Okwui Enwezor, Laurie Ann Farrell, Lauri Firstenberg, Salah Hassan, Kobena Mercer, Steven Nelson, Simon Njami, Edith-Marie Pasquier, John Peffer, Jérôme Sans, and Sue Williamson. Published by the Museum for African Art, New York and Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, Gent, March, 2003. 180 pp.

Islam`s Black Slaves: The History of Africa`s Other Black Diaspora

Islam`s Black Slaves: The History of Africa`s Other Black Diaspora
by Ronald Segal


This work tells the fascinating and horrifying story of the Islamic slave trade. It documents a centuries-old institution that still survives, and traces the business of slavery and its repercussions from Islam`s inception in the 7th century, through its history in China, India, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Libya and Spain, and on to Sudan and Mauritania, where, even today, slaves continue to be sold. Segal reveals the numbers involved in this trade - as many millions as were transported to the Americas - and explores the differences between the traffic in the East and the West. Beginning some eight centuries earlier than the Atlantic Trade, the Islamic Trade was conducted on a different scale, and provided slaves more often for domestic - including sexual - and military service than for plantation labour. Some slaves rose to positions of authority, and a few even became rulers. Because of specific spiritual teachings, Islam was generally more humane than the West in its treatment of slaves and in its willingness to grant them their freedom, although the processes of captivity and transport victimized untold numbers of innocent people, as did the creation of eunuchs for the Islamic market.

Beautiful Nudes

Beautiful Nudes
Marc Baptiste

You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe

You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe
by Michelle Lamuniere, Sidibe Malick
Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
The catalogue of a recent Harvard University exhibition, You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidib‚ chronicles the two portrait photographers` work in Mali. Ke‹ta and Sidib‚ took countless studio portraits of Malinese people before and after the country became independent from France in 1960. Michelle LamuniŠre, a curatorial research assistant at Harvard`s Fogg Museum, includes an essay on the history of West African portrait photography with images dating back to the turn of the century and portions of recent interviews with the two artists. The 79 images ranging from people in strictly traditional dress to friends in hip Westernized get-ups to men posed in a boxing scene are striking for their subjects` arresting gazes and poses as well as for their superior production value.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Photographs have been taken in Africa since the 1840s, but only recently have scholars begun to pay attention to the work of indigenous African photographers, who typically blend Western technology and techniques with an African perspective and aesthetic sensibility. This catalog, which accompanies an exhibition at Harvard`s Fogg Art Museum, focuses on commercial portraits by two Bamako, Mali, photographers, whose photos are drawn from the collection of noted African art collector Jean Pigozzi.

Book Description
Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, two important and widely known commercial photographers from Mali, took mesmerizing photographs of members of their communities during the decades before and after the country`s independence from France in 1960. This book presents a range of these portraits, as well as excerpts of recent interviews with the artists and an essay placing the photographers within the context of the history of portrait photography in West Africa since its beginnings in the 1840s. In contrast to the early photographs of Africans produced by Western colonial powers, Keïta and Sidibé`s photographs represent the work of Africans controlling the camera to create images of African subjects for an African audience. Keïta combined formulas of Western portrait photography with local aesthetics to create images that reflect both his clients` social identity and status within the community and an enthusiastic embrace of modernity. Later, as portrait conventions and societal roles became more flexible, Sidibé`s subjects took a more active part in constructing the images of themselves that they wanted to convey. Africans have valued photography for its unique ability to capture a person`s likeness, which, says Sidibé, was regarded as more eternal than the subjects themselves. This book is a striking collection of such likenesses.

Veil: Veiling,Representation and Contemporary Art

Veil: Veiling,Representation and Contemporary Art
David A. Bailey Editor, Gilane Tawadros Editor

No single item of dothing has had greater influence on Western images of Middle Eastern and North African women than the veil. The fascination of Western writers, artists, and photographers with the veil reflects the voyeuristic nature of our interest in what is strange and other. Veil, which accompanies an exhibition organized by the Institute of International Visual Arts in London, explores the representation of the veil in contemporary visual arts. Providing a context for the commissioned essays are a number of classical historical texts crossing religions, cultures, genders, and ages - from Greek myths to articles published in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Some of the contemporary artists and scholars write autobiographically about the meaning of the veil in their lives. Others take a more political approach, discussing, for example, how the events of September 11 changed the use and reception of veil imagery throughout the world. Still others take a historical approach, examining how nineteenth-century technological developments in travel and photography led to photographic depictions of both the veiled and unveiled body in relation to landscape.

Touhami Ennadre: Moira

Touhami Ennadre: Moira
by Okwui Enwezor, Lauri Firstenberg
Book Description

As early as 1978, critics have compared the striking works of French photo artist Touhami Ennadre to the intensity of Van Gogh, and others have since identified affinities with Caravaggio and the poetry of Rimbaud. In the words of author Tilman Spengler, Ennadre presents images that appear and disappear at the same time. Often insistent to the point of obsession, these works imitate Creation in their own unique fashion, posing the question of how light and shadow become form and figure in a dialogue of equals. Author François Aubral coined the term black light with reference to this aspect of Ennadre`s work. Moïra features an impressive selection of Ennadre`s beautifully modeled photographs, and presents for the first time his recent Danse series, shot on the New York City club scene.

Essays by Okwui Enwezor, Lauri Firstenberg and Nancy Spector.

Hardcover, 10.5 x 13.75 in./144 pgs / 110 duotone.

Touhami Ennadre: Black Light

Touhami Ennadre: Black Light
by Francois Aubral

This work is a monograph on Touhami Ennadre, an artist whose visionary photographic depiction of life and death has made him the focus of attention in international photographic circles. His work, especially the Hands and Parisian Suburbs series, has become increasingly popular. Works by Ennadre were included in an exhibition at New York`s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1996, and his pictures are now to be found in major collections of contemporary photography throughout the world. By intense concentration on the subjects depicted, submerged in a background of deep black, Ennadre excludes superfluous narrative elements. He insists that he is not a photographer, and the unusual methods he uses certainly resemble those of a painter more than those of a conventional photographer. His works are often deeply disturbing and have a strong impact on the viewer. They take us aside into the shadows of our civilization and draw us closer and closer to the subject of birth and death - the extremes of human experience.

The Black Female Body: A Photographic History

The Black Female Body: A Photographic History
by Deborah Willis, Carla Williams

Searching for photographs of black women, the authors of this text were startled to find them by the hundreds. This work offers an array of familiar and many virtually unknown photographs, showing how photographs reflected and reinforced Western culture`s fascination with black women`s bodies.

Photography`s Other Histories Objects/Histories

Photography`s Other Histories Objects/Histories
by Christopher Pinney Editor, Nicolas Peterson Editor, Jack Kramer

Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Christopher Pinney is Reader in Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College London. He is author of Camera Indica: The Social Life of Indian Photographs and coeditor of Pleasure and the Nation and Beyond Aesthetics. Nicolas Peterson is Reader in Anthropology at the Australian National University. He is coauthor of Aboriginal Territorial Organization.

Book Description
Moving the critical debate about photography away from its current Euro-American center of gravity, Photography’s Other Histories breaks with the notion that photographic history is best seen as the explosion of a Western technology advanced by the work of singular individuals. This collection presents a radically different account, describing photography as a globally disseminated and locally appropriated medium. Essays firmly grounded in photographic practice—in the actual making of pictures—suggest the extraordinary diversity of nonwestern photography.

Richly illustrated with over one hundred images, Photography’s Other Histories explores from a variety of geographic, cultural, and historic perspectives the role of photography in raising historical consciousness. It includes two first-person pieces by indigenous Australians and one by a Seminole/Muskogee/Dine` artist. Some of the essays analyze representations of colonial subjects—from the limited ways Westerners have depicted Navajos to Japanese photos recording the occupation of Manchuria and from the changing nature of the contract between Aboriginal subjects and photographers to the surprising range of cultural influences evident in the photographs colonialist F. R. Barton took in New Guinea in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Focusing on photographic self-fashioning and the development of vernacular modernisms, other essays highlight the visionary quality of much popular photography. Case studies centered in early-twentieth-century Peru and contemporary India, Kenya, and Nigeria chronicle the diverse practices that have flourished in postcolonial societies. Photography’s Other Histories recasts popular photography around the world, as not simply reproducing culture but creating it.

Contributors. Michael Aird, Heike Behrend, Jo-Anne Driessens, James Faris, Morris Low, Nicolas Peterson, Christopher Pinney, Roslyn Poignant, Deborah Poole, Stephen Sprague, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, Christopher Wright

In/sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the Present

In/sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the Present
Okwui Enwezor

Presenting the work of 30 diverse photographers from throughout Africa since 1940, this is the complete catalogue of an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Studio portraits of the 1940s by photographers such as the Ivory Coast`s Cornelius Yao Azaglo Augustt, Senegal`s Salla Casset and Meissa Gay, and Mali`s Seydou Keita depict a period of great transformation in Africa. Examples of the 1950s include work by Bob Gasani, Peter Magubane and Lionel Oostendorp for the magazine Drum, and featured photographers of the 1960s and 1970s include Samuel Fosso Central African Republic, David Goldblatt South Africa, Ricardo Rangel Mozambique and Malick Sidibe Mali. These more recent photographs chronicle the development of independent countries and the emergence of Africa as part of the modern world. Contemporary artists in North Africa and Nigeria are represented by work on new themes. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Flash Afrique! Photography from West Africa

Flash Afrique! Photography from West Africa
by Thomas Miessgang Editor, Olu Oguibe, Gerald Matt Editor, Barbara Schroder Editor, Kunsthall

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal
As attention is increasingly directed to the study and appreciation of contemporary African art, the work of indigenous photographers has been made available to a larger audience through exhibitions and publications. This volume, which accompanies a show curated by Matt and Miessgang at Vienna`s Kunsthalle gallery, focuses on the work of six 20th-century photographers from Ghana, Mali, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast. The 57 works range from staged studio portraits to documentary shots of street life. However, this is much more than a simple catalog of images. The text, consisting of essays and interviews by scholars, critics, and the artists themselves, analyzes the aesthetics and meaning behind the photographs. In addition, artists` biographies are separately provided. While the interpretive nature of the text and the variety of works reproduced make this a valuable addition to academic libraries specializing in art or African studies, general collections are still better served by a survey, such as In/Sight: African Photographers, 1840-1981. Eugene C. Burt, Data Arts, Seattle
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description
Terra incognito? Heart of darkness? How about stylish continent, as some magazine once wrote? The gigantic landmass that is Africa, over which a colonial shadow still looms, is a territory of projections and misunderstandings. The West African photographers presented in Flash Afrique! tell stories about the tension between dreams and reality. Elaborately arranged studio portraits reveal how Africa sees itself. Documentary images comment on the sheer craziness of overpopulated cities. And conversations with the photographers open up an art scene only recently begun to emerge from shadow.
Edited by Gerald Matt, Thomas Miessgang. Essays by Olu Oguibe, Koyo Kouoh, Simon Njami. Photographers include: Philip Kwame Apagya, Dorris Haron Kasco, Seydou Keita, Boubacar Toure Mandemory, Bouna Medoune Seye, Malick Sidibe.
7.75 x 10.25 in.
57 color and duotone illustrations

Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers

Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers
by Barbara Head Millstein, Barbard Head Millstein - Editor

Black Bodies

Black Bodies
by Jules Allen


In this volume, an African-American photographer seeks to confront and challenge the traditional ways in which the black female form has been presented. The images produced explore stereotypes of passivity and exoticism, removing the negativity associated with the black body.

Black Beauty: A History and a Celebration

Black Beauty: A History and a Celebration
by Ben Arogundade
Review by a reader from Geneva,Switzerland

Black Beauty examines the often complex and elusive subject of beauty and all its tenets in regards to continental Africans and more so, Africans of the diaspora.The text is rich in history and starts with an account of Saartje Baartman-the `Hottentot venus` in 1810.

We are further treated to a close look at Black representation throughout the 20th century,with chapters such as `Black Venus` 1940`s to 60, `Black is beautiful `1960`s heralding the emergence of Black Power, civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X and the general era of celebrating `Blackness` and self determination.The final chapter `Painted Black` deals with today`s icons, especially in the field of music and cinema, are highlighted and their global contributions and impact in shaping the Black existance and experience is examined. Brothers like Spike Lee and Tupac by virtue of greater access to,and in some cases,control of the mass media are featured,amongst many others.Sisters are there too!

No study of Black beauty could be complete without reference to the impact of the African slave trade-this is elucidated fully. Equally too, are the Black queens of Egypt and Ethiopia, as is the politics of beauty the wearing of the afro and dreadlocks, the significance of skin bleaching and the continual debate of dark skin Blacks being less attractive than lighter toned Blacks or Mixed race,etc.

Black Beauty is packed full of numerous excellent photographs and images, some rare, such as queen Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Black wife of Englands George III. Jack Johnson, Ophella Devore, Donyale Luna Vogue`s first Black covergirl, Bob Marley, Tyson Beckford, Lil` Kim, Erykah Badu-in short, they are all there!!

Most definately not a book to be missed. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition

Three Artists in Symbolic Discourse by Zenzele Chulu

Image: Zenzele Chulu | Will Power

Three Artists in Symbolic Discourse
By Zenzele Chulu from Zambia

The Bag Factory Artists Studios, situated along Mahlatini street in Newtown, Johannesburg is hosting the KOPANO Residency, an artistic discourse between three artists under the banner `Revival of African Traditions`. Participating artists include Zambia`s Zenzele Chulu,

Sikhulile Sibanda from Zimbabwe and South Africa`s Madi Phala. An assortment of their collective works produced during the duration of their residence period, which begun from April to June are on display. A concurrent exhibition which is running between 14th to 22th

June 2005 was also christened `The Revival of African Traditions` - a theme, which is reflected visibly on the works of art showcased.

Artistic contents depicted on canvas and myriad sculptures, bear traditional infuences though expressed from a contemporary context. Zenzele`s works portray ancestral codes called schematic tantrums, inspired from the ancient first ever rock galleries on earth, while

Sikhulile`s sculptural expressions in metal - tell a story of joyful childhood experiences prevalent in typical African settings.And notwithstanding evident traces of being similar to rock art, her oil colour prints further depict human figures in flight. The Herdboyz,

signed by Madi Phala, is a colourful yet abstract imagery ot cattle-raring tradition and its related myths.

common threads

A flicker of professional camaraderie can be discerned from the use of the name KOPANO, which supposedly symbolizes the artistic re-connection of Madi, Sikhulile and Zenzele`s cultural elements, attributed to the common threads inherent in their Bantu and San

heritage. Their creative discourse and collaboration, nurtured during the residency has further spawned an artistic-inclined sense of belonging - thanks to their mutual and strong historical bond. -

The Lost Art

Image: Suzanne Ouedraogo | Circumcision 2003

The Lost Art
June 26, 2005 Edition 1
Author: Mary Corrigall
Source: The Sunday Independent | South Africa
Web Page:

What makes an African artefact authentic?

Sacred objects that were once imbued with spiritual and cultural meaning are being mass produced across Africa and sold to tourists.

Stone sculptures, bead necklaces, wooden masks, animals made from wire and beads are being flogged en masse.

Have traditional artworks lost their significance as they gain monetary value? Do tourists still believe that these African knick-knacks are products of cultural expression? What makes an African artefact authentic?

Since the 1880s European colonialists have been fascinated by "primitive" objects produced by traditional African artisans.

This obsessive interest saw explorers, scientists and missionaries importing a wide range of artefacts back to their homelands. These objects were not only offered as proof that a "dark uncivilised world" existed parallel to their own but embodied an alternative belief system.

Most of these artefacts, which were not perceived to conform to western concepts of art, ended up on display in museums of ethnology and anthropology in European centres. Curiosity surrounding these African artefacts would not only kick-start the Modernist movement but came to symbolise a naive and simple way of life that industrialised societies believed they had altogether lost touch with.

Centuries later Africa still draws crowds of curious tourists in search of the stereotypical African experience. Part of this experience also entails tourists taking home their own piece of idealised Africa. African artisans, wishing to profit from tourist preconceptions, are only too happy to comply.

Jozi's Rosebank African Art Market is a popular pit stop for tourists. Lined with stalls selling objects from around Africa, one can pick up a mask from Senegal, a batik printed bolt of cloth from Zimbabwe or an Ndebele necklace.

Joe Flex, from Zimbabwe, has been selling African goods for seven years. His stand is packed with objects to satisfy any taste. Masks from Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal and Congo. He says that he makes two trips a year to West Africa to stock up on goodies.

Flex infers that tourists have become wary about the origins of African objects. They aren't interested in artefacts mass produced in a factory, as that would not conform to their idea that African objects are shaped by primitive and spiritual culture found only in rural destinations.

Flex says that all his products are directly acquired from artisans in rural villages. He is, however, very vague about the makers of his products and how each piece is produced.

According to Flex, most of his clientele ask about the spiritual significance of his wares. Flex can tell a story about every item in his stall. "This is a mask from Ivory Coast," he says pointing to a wooden mask with horns. "It is used during royal ceremonies to pray for rain."

Aside from the masks, Flex sells a wide range of colonial figures.

Flex says that these brightly coloured wooden renderings of Africans in western dress were made in the Ivory Coast during colonisation.

According to Engaging Modernities, compiled by art historians at Wits university, these colonial figures are derived from the Baulé figures from the Ivory Coast, which were designed as a means to engage with spirit lovers in the other world. The emergence of western dress on these figures expressed high status.

Westerners were apparently fascinated by these figures, which were thought to reflect their own image.

As a result the Baulé figures were re-fashioned and carvers expanded their repertoire in the mid-1980s to meet the growing international demand for these wooden figurines.

Flex is a businessman, not an art historian; one would not expect him to know the origin of the objects he sells. However, most of his foreign clients are keen to know the history of an object.

Millicent Sirengo, from Kenya, who also sells at the Rosebank market, says that one can't just make up a meaning about an object to ensure a sale. Some tourists have done a bit of research themselves.

"Customers always ask where an object comes from and what [cultural] meaning it has," says Sirengo wearily.

Most of Sirengo's products hail from Zaire. Sirengo has never been to Zaire. She places her orders for the wooden sculptures over the phone. She asks her suppliers to provide her with details about the products, which she then passes onto her customers.

Although the elongated models of African ladies that she sells are manufactured in Zaire, she gets local Zulu crafters to embellish the figurines with beads. So in essence these objects are not strictly the product of one culture but a synthesis of two different cultures.

Aside from the free-standing sculptures at Sirengo's stall, she sells wooden sculptures of animals and other objects that come framed. The ornate wooden frames that box these wooden sculptures, says Sirengo, make it easier for tourists to display their wooden animals in their homes. This sort of presentation also makes it easier for tourists to perceive the sculptures as artworks.

The goods being sold at Sirengo's stall are not unique; three stalls down, another trader is selling identical artworks.

In a shopping mall, not far from the Rosebank African Art Market, there are a number of curios selling similar goods.

Batanai Artworks is one such shop. However, in this establishment one finds the crafters of the artworks busy at work. Tawanda Marufu, from Zimbabwe, is one of the artists. He says he learnt the craft from his father.

Most of the larger items on sale come with a certificate of authenticity. Marufu says that the certificates were introduced as a way of differentiating their products from the sculptures that are sold at flea markets. The certificate not only authenticates the artworks but it also gives a detailed description about the meaning and origin of the artworks.

Since the introduction of the certificates, Marufu says sales have increased dramatically. Although one can find identical looking sculptures at the market, Marfu says that their products are made from African stone and not soapstone, which makes the artworks more authentic and therefore more valuable. A sculpture that costs around R200 at the market will cost more than R1 000 here.

Marfu says that a lot of the wooden sculptures sold at markets are not made from treated woods; they are merely covered in shoe polish to create a more authentic look.

At Wits university's African art gallery, The Studio, one finds a collection of African artefacts that, based on appearances, do not look too dissimilar to some of the tourist art sold on the side of the road. What makes these artworks collectable, valuable and authentic?

Curator Julia Charlton consults experts to authenticate pieces for the gallery. However, she does suggest that accepted models used to discover authenticity in relation to African art is a contentious issue.

"The kinds of criteria that are usually applied to the concept of authenticity rarely hold up," Charlton says.

"The kinds of things that are usually considered are whether the item was made for use within their own community. But that implies a set of circumstances that are not borne out in the field.

"You may have a ritualist carver whose job it would have been to make ritual objects and he would be known as such, so you would have people coming from far and wide to him to have items commissioned."

Charlton suggests that artworks that are specifically produced for sale to tourists are often deemed inauthentic.

Charlton says that the age of a piece doesn't necessarily guarantee authenticity either; for many of the materials used to make African cultural objects don't stand the test of time, as they were not made to last.

Charlton also proposes that using the age of an artwork as a determining factor to substantiate authenticity presupposes "a static golden past from which there has been a steady slope downhill, which is not real".

Traditional African artworks that have incorporated modern materials or subject matter, Charlton says, shouldn't devalue an artwork either.

The value of an African artwork depends heavily on the buyer. For instance, Charlton says she is interested in acquiring pieces for the gallery that conform to traditional motifs and forms in appearance but have been fashioned out of a modern material like plastic.

Charlton suggests that international art buyers would not consider such an item to be of any value.

Fraud within the African art trade is rife, she says. Charlton says that after a gallery publishes a catalogue of a collection, identical objects copied from the photographs suddenly flood the market.

"Any tourist wants a souvenir, whether it's a postcard or a little something. However, tourists that come to Africa come with a lot of baggage [from the past]."

Crisis in Global Capital and The War on Culture

Image: Soly Cisse | Une Vie Social

Crisis in Global Capital and The War on Culture
The Artist as Producer in Times of Crisis

Okwui Enwezor: The Artist as Producer in Times of Crisis

On April 27, 1934 Walter Benjamin delivered a lecture at the Institute for the Study of Fascism in Paris. In the lecture, The Author as Producer, Benjamin addressed an important question that, since, has not ceased to pose itself, namely to what degree does political awareness in a work of art becomes a tool for the deracination of the autonomy of the work and that of the author? Benjamin’s second point was to locate what a radical critical spirit in art could be in a time of such momentous, yet undecided direction in the political consciousness of Europe: between the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the productivist model of artistic practice it instantiated and the storms of repression unleashed by fascism and Nazism in Western Europe. In a sense, Benjamin’s lecture addressed the question of the artist’s or writer’s commitment under certain social conditions. This would lead him to ask What is the attitude of a work to the relations of production of its time? Georg Lukács posed a similar question in his 1932 essay Tendency or Partisanship? The conditions of production of the time, was the struggle between capitalism and socialism as the driving force behind modern subjectivity.

It is my intention in this lecture to extend the questions raised by these two thinkers and apply them to the critical context of contemporary culture today. Ever more so, Benjamin and Lukács are not only relevant, but crucial to understanding a visible turn that has become increasingly evident in the field of culture at large, that is the extent to which a certain critical activism in contemporary art has become a way to pose the questions raised seventy years ago anew through collective practices. My focus is not on activism per se, but on work driven by the spirit of activism that bear direct relationship to Benjamin’s and Lukács`s essays.

To that end, recent confrontations within the field of contemporary art have precipitated an awareness that there have emerged in increasing numbers, within the last decade, new critical, artistic formations that foreground and privilege the mode of collective and collaborative production. Is this return an acknowledgment of the repressed memory of a social unconscious? Is the collectivisation of artistic production not a critique of the poverty of the language of contemporary art in the face of large-scale co modifications of culture, which have merged the identity of the artist with the corporate logo of global capitalism? These questions shadow the return of collectivity in contemporary artistic practice and in so insistent a manner, across a broad geographic area that to ignore the consequences is to miss the vital power of dissonance that is part of its appeal to the contemporary thinkers and artists who propose collectivity as a course artistic work. Of course, we need not to be reminded that there is nothing novel about collectivity in art as such. It’s been a crucial strategy of the avant-garde throughout the 20th century. Therefore, a proper understanding of collectivity today would have to be traced through its affinities with past examples. This story belongs to the history of modernism proper.

The position of the artist working within collective and collaborative processes subtend earlier manifestations of this type of activity throughout the 20th century. Collectivity performs an operation of irruption and transformation on traditional mechanisms and activities of artistic production, which locates the sole figure of the individual artist at the centre of authorship. Under the historical conditions of modernist reification, collective or collaborative practices that is the making of an artwork by multiple authors across porous disciplinary lines generate a radical critique of artistic ontology qua the artist and as such also questions the enduring legacy of the artist as an autonomous, individual within modernist art. This concerns the question of the authenticity of the work of art and its link to a specific author. However, there is a level at which the immanence of this discourse is also evidenced in the critique of the author in postmodernism. On both levels, I would argue that the anxieties that circumscribe questions concerning the authenticity of either the work of art or the supremacy of the artist as author are symptomatic of a cyclical crisis in modernity about the status of art to its social context and the artist as more than an actor within the economic sphere. This crisis has been exceptionally visible since the last decade of the twentieth century. The political climate of the current global imperium adumbrates it further.

If we look back historically collectives tend to emerge during periods of crisis in moments of social upheaval and political uncertainty within society. Such crisis often forces reappraisals of conditions of production, re-evaluation of the nature of artistic work, and reconfiguration of the position of the artist in relation to economic, social, and political institutions. There are two types of collective formations and collaborative practices that are important for this discussion. The first type can be summarized as possessing a structured modus vivendi based on permanent, fixed groupings of practitioners working over a sustained period. In such collectives, authorship represents the expression of the group rather than that of the individual artist. The second type of collectives, tend to emphasize a flexible, non-permanent course of affiliation, privileging collaboration on project basis than on a permanent alliance. This type of collective formation can be designated as networked collectives. Such networks are far more prevalent today due to radical advances in communication technologies and globalisation. However, we shall trace the emergence of the artist as producer in times of crisis by first linking up with modernism. In collective work we witness how such work complicates modernism’s idealization of the artwork as the unique object of individual creativity. In collective work we also witness the simultaneous emporia of artwork and artist. This tends to lend collective work a social rather than artistic character.

Consequently, the collective imaginary has often been understood as essentially political in orientation with minimal artistic instrumentality. In other instances shared labour collaborative practice the collective conceptualisation of artistic work have been understood as the critique of the reification of art and the co modification of the artist. Though collaborative or collective work has long been accepted as normal in the kind of artistic production that requires ensemble work such as in music, in the context of visual art under which the individual artistic talent reigns such loss of singularity of the artist is much less the norm, particularly under the operative conditions of capitalism.

© Okwui Enwezor

What is Non-Art Made Of?

Image: Charly D'Almeida | Githare

What is Non-Art Made Of?
Author: Marco Senaldi

Surprisingly, Duchamp did not take kindly to being called an anti-artist, preferring to be known as a non-artist. The anti-artist is like the atheist: he denies God because deep down he still believes in Him. The non-artist, meanwhile, does not believe, period. He does not believe in Art with a capital A, indeed he doubts the very identity of art.
Negation upon negation means we are left with no such thing as Art with a capital A, as the development of contemporary art goes hand in hand with its estrangement from the real world. What we now have is committed, realist, appropriationist art, from sources such as television and so on, yet try as it might to deny it, it mysteriously remains art. Why?
Like many other spiritual forms, art has shifted from symbolically legitimizing its products and producers, to an imaginary place which sees its very modus overturned and inverted. Whereas art once legitimized whoever produced it as an artist and the product as art anti-art has always been a sworn enemy of this, the situation as it stands today is different. The drawn-out struggle, first by the avantgardes, then by the post-war movements no exceptions to change the meaning, nature and essence of art has finally met with success. The process might be compared to the history of Coca Cola which, following years of pop exaltation and after various attempts to bring it down, has finally come up with non-Coca Cola: Diet Coke, which is Coke-free while remaining Coke. In other words, after all the struggles against essence without appearance and appearance without essence, we find ourselves with the essence in its overturned stage. While it might appear to be the contrary of itself, it nevertheless remains itself through its own denial.

The same can be applied to art. Contemporary art does not represent the most recent piece but the scrupulous and total re-flexion of art. Basically, all the destructively heated debate centering around art, prompted both by artists and by art itself, was not actually aimed at debunking the burden of old art in favor of new art, but had the often unwitting purpose of transubstantiating the mystical body of art itself, reducing it to an essence that was the inverse of itself.

What has sprung from this is non-art, not as the bastard progeny of a cross between the noble world of art and the spuriousness of the world out there, but the pure distillation of the highest possible reflection of art on itself - a diet-art which, while intrinsically art, remains art-free. Unable to exert anything but this reflection as an activity of symbolic adjustment it had already been brought to a close during Hegel`s time, art has devoured itself. Just when, perhaps with Duchamp, or even earlier, it coincided with its own definition, art was also signing its own spiritual last will and testament. Since then, art has transformed itself into an imaginary fact, an exercise of contradictory legitimization. Non-art is the sphere of life, the tin cans in the supermarket, the paving stones transplanted into the gallery, the fight against the powers that be translated into attractive images for magazines such as Artforum. It is and will remain art, but in a way that is twice-overturned, the identity of a spiritual form gained through negation and intended as a dialectic moment of reciprocal definition. Defining what is or what it is not art is not only the task of contemporary art but its very essence as the art-non-art of our times, an essence twice overturned, and therefore real.

Non-art is therefore marked by the constant inversion of the placement of every thing to which a symbolic value and identity is assigned: so, if a given thing is defined as art, it will immediately receive the status of other-than-art Brillo Box, game, divertissement, simulacrum and so on. Meanwhile, that which is other-than-art can be understood only in terms of its pertinence to art ready-made, installation, performance…. The constant paradoxical transition from one term of reference to another is inevitable.

The persistent contradiction between the thing and its reiteration without solution is what might be defined as the imaginary level of art or its status of double inversion, in other words obversion. What we must not overlook is that the imaginary is not confined to fantasy, and nor is it oneiric or surreally distant from reality. Malleability, for instance, is one of the features of the imaginary. It is certainly no coincidence that artists concerned with space, such as Lucio Fontana, should turn repeatedly to ceramics Fontana produced a range of bizarre ceramic objects that were mid-way between his spatial canvases and decoration. Spatialism is rooted in the malleability of something that is conceptually rigid such as space, a lesson we learn from the plastic spaces created by Giò Colombo. Earlier still, the futurists were pioneering the rediscovery of ceramics. Remember, they had spoken in terms of the futurist reconstruction of the universe, their crazed recipes even featuring a certain plasticmeat.

Obviously, plastic proved to be the ideal material for the imaginary realm, a material that allowed the impossible dream of objects that resisted deformation - unbreakable glasses, virtually eternal multicolored containers - to become reality. But the imaginary is also recursive, it turns on its own oversights, unable to contemplate that its own memories will evaporate, and that something might fall outside of its range of retrieval. Plastic would soon take over as the foremost material in our lives, just as wood was to the Medieval period, or iron during the industrial 1800s, to such an extent that ceramic today is not seen as the progenitor of plastic but as a substitute for it, bringing with it characteristics we had originally frowned upon: fragility, difficulties in the manufacturing process, a certain preciousness and so on.
The characteristic trait of our non-epoch is that the art non-art it expresses brings with it certain values belonging to the past - manual skill, imitation, craftsmanly quality and so forth - values which, precisely because they are outmoded, turn a thing into a salvage object, in the same spirit in which we protect certain species of animals because they are in danger of becoming extinct. This form of reflexive salvage would account for the fact that almost all the pieces by the artists invited to participate in this first edition of the Biennial of Ceramic in Contemporary Art are characterized by their non-identity. Although the artists present in this exhibition are representing a host of different disciplines and all pursue their own personal poetics, their relation with the ancient but futurable material, ceramic it is, after all, post-plastic, ensures the presence of true non-objects, objects which are at the same time more and less than themselves.

Cecchini`s fragile and therefore un-usable helmets, the pseudo-wigs, courtesy of Nina Childress, Torimitsu`s fake furs, Vitone`s phony amygdales, Perino and Vele`s rigid cushion, Costa Vece`s inedible cake, Sislej Xhafa`s living room manhole, Daniel Firman`s impossible yet functioning! LP`s, Pancrazzi`s mimetic but, alas, ceramic credit card, to name but a few, are all perfect examples of this simultaneous excess and constitutive dearth. They are all works that can be termed art, not so much for their pertinence to any cultural tradition as for the fact that they are the fruit of craftsmanly insight. In short, they are non-objects produced by a non-artistic will - they are in fact counterfeits, true paradoxes, contradictions in terms.

We should show deep-felt sympathy for these non-objects because they resemble us more than we could ever resemble ourselves. As false fossils, they represent not so much our history as our history as we would like it to be told. As evidence of the imaginary, neither subversive nor perverse but obverse, they explain perfectly our status as non-individuals, subjects with broken bones - though nonetheless committed to reconstructing those bones, perhaps in the highly fragile material that is ceramic.

Author: Marco Senaldi
Marco Senaldi is an art critic and philosopher. Teaches Phenomenology of Contemporary Art at the Carrara Academy of Fine Arts, Bergamo Italy.
His writings have appeared in numerous catalogues and collective publications. Translated and curated the Italian edition of texts by philosophers, Gilles Deleuze Spinoza, Guerini 1991, and Slavoj Zizek Il Grande Altro. Nazionalismo, godimento, cultura di massa, Feltrinelli ed. 1999. With A. Piotti, he wrote the essay Lo Spirito e gli Ultracorpi. Vicissitudine della ragione tra i sintomi dell`Immaginario, Franco Angeli, Milan, 1999. Writing of a further text, a work for four hands, titled Maccarone m`hai provocato! La Commedia all`italiana del Piccolo Sé is underway with Bulzoni Editore, Rome.
Senaldi is also working on Temi e comportamenti dell`arte contemporanea, Electa. He collaborates with Flash Art magazine, among other contemporary art and philosophy magazines, and wrote Italian cultural TV program Le notti dell`angelo 1994/95 for Canale 5 Onda Anomala, for Rai Tre 1998/99 and Cenerentola, 1999/2000.

Shifting Forward Through Art | Mustafa Maluka

Shifting Forward Through Art

Mustafa Maluka’s gigantic portraits make us confront individuals from the outside. He spoke to Niren Tolsi

ike a runny-nosed kid begging on Long Street, there is a hunger to artist Mustafa Maluka. Only, his glue is information. His bleeding-heart Scandinavian backpacker is his own determination “to be a great painter” and for ragged clothes and mournful pleas, substitute paint, canvas and an ability to incisively interrogate notions of ourselves and “the other”.

Having grown up in Bishop Lavis on the Cape Flats, he left Cape Town as the typical clichéd struggling artist in 2000 to study at De Ateliers in Amsterdam and returned in 2004 with a Tollman Young Artist Award and an international reputation built on solo exhibitions in The Netherlands including 2001’s The Realness at the Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem and Hard Living (An Ethnomethodological Approach) at De Ateliers.

He has also participated in several group exhibitions, including Personal Affects: Power and Poetics in Contemporary South African Art at New York’s Museum for African Art in 2004 and at the 4th Biennale of the Pan African Circle of Artists in Lagos, Nigeria.

Maluka, who also runs a website called and helps release mix-tapes of young Cape Flats artists on his Aevenger label admits to the early positive effects of hip-hop culture: “Like most young people of my generation we grew up with hip-hop culture, we had it all around and you -- this culture and this consciousness -- and I’m grateful for that.

“For young people from the Cape Flats it’s provided us with an outlet, a passageway for us to reach higher goals. It still plays an important role and it shaped what and who I am today, but there is a certain point when you go off in your own direction when you start finding yourself and what your voice is,” he says.

Hip-hop culture which on the Cape Flats can be traced back to the Eighties and groups such as Prophets of da City and Black Noise, which are still involved in grassroots activity with youngsters -- has been the saviour for many people in ghettos filled with button-smoking-induced apathy and gangsterism. Maluka feels it instilled in him a “do-it-yourself attitude”, which saw him hold his first solo exhibition (Melanin Millennium) at the Mau-Mau Gallery in Cape Town in 1997. But it wasn’t just hip-hop. Maluka points to a politically conscious family and a father who started off as a bricklayer and is now a teacher studying towards his doctorate as further inspiration: “My father was the person who taught me about social constructions, this was before I even knew what it was. Then I started doing my own research and started reading philosophy, psychology, cognitive dissidence, which in some ways have led me to the themes I examine now.”

He studied graphic design for two years at Peninsula Technikon before having to drop out because of a lack of funds. While studying art theory there he “got introduced to all these artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Liechtenstein and Jean Michel Basquiat and I just latched on to what they were doing”. This proved a starting point for Maluka, who feels moving to Amsterdam and being surrounded by talented artists on a daily basis, the rigours of “the boot camp for young artists which was De Ateliers” and economic and social conditions conducive to focusing on his art helped his work shift forward aesthetically.

The experience of moving from being the Cape Flats outsider in Cape Town to being the outsider in a foreign land also impacted on what was a critical point in his development as both an artist and an adult.

Attempting to confound and question our preconceived notions, our stereotypical responses to language and people -- the “fragile” stickers on the socialised baggage we carry around with us -- Maluka combines elements of graffiti, pop art and graphic design in his work and likens an exhibition to “putting on a play”.

“I have these characters that I use ... I have this world that I have created with these people saying things, but these people represent people in the real world. Normally with each show I do I try and flesh out who they are and the experiences they go through.”

He held his first solo South African exhibition in seven years, Accented Living (A Rough Guide), at Michael Stevenson in Cape Town last year. According to Maluka, the figures represented “all had accents”.

“What are accents? Your accent is only noticed when you leave where you come from. It’s like a kid from the Cape Flats going into the city: he’s accented. He’s entering a world and a space that is foreign to him, it’s different to where he comes from, but it is the dominant world. And there is this negotiation that goes on. That’s an example to localise it. But I was thinking about me being in Amsterdam and being accented, a guy moving from India to England getting accented because accented people get treated differently depending on what kind of accent you have ... So in this Rough Guide, I was fleshing out aspects of these people’s personalities and the things they have to go through, which is mainly an immigrant experience.

“This is something I say over and over again: I feel that my generation of black people in this country, we are immigrants into South Africa. We are the new South Africans, South Africa is a country that already existed, but it was a white country from which we were excluded. We have been entering this space only in the past 10 years and in this process there is a lot of negotiation and renegotiation that is taking place and what you find is that people need to switch accents in order to fit in with the dominant group -- which is white people in society.”

About the artistic process, Maluka said: “How I produce these paintings, the portraits especially, is that I collect images with a particular gaze, they have to have a particular strength and pride. That’s a kind of starting point and I use these images as a shell. I’m not painting the person in the picture, it’s just a shell and I flesh it out with meaning by applying paint. That is when it becomes a painting.”

New Painting runs at the KZNSA Gallery in Durban until April 23 and moves to the Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria from May 9 to June 2

David Goldblatt | Photographer | South Africa

David Goldblatt
The Humanity of Forms

South African photographer David Goldblatt exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Alex Dodd speaks to him about the structure of things then and now.

The thing that sticks in my mind about that first conversation with photographer David Goldblatt is his insistence on the absence of a colon. He titles his exhibition, due to open at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York this month, South Africa the Structure of Things Then. Under the circumstances, his particular zealousness about the fact that there should be no colon after the words South Africa seems intriguing - even a little amusing, at first.

But, once I start paging through his books, halted for minutes at a time by the stark and soulful images before me, a clue emerges. In Some Afrikaners Photographed (1975), I notice the way "the ladies from the office staff of the Mine Workers Union" fold their hands on their laps and consciously keep their knees together beneath the hems of their crimplene dresses. In On the Mines (1973), his beautifully real exploration of life on the Reef, I'm moved by the painful aptness of a quote by Albert Camus: "This people, plunged wholly in the present, lives with neither myths nor consolation." In Lifetimes Under Apartheid, "a maid on Abel Road, Hillbrow" protests against the blankness of the standard maid's overall with her furry hat and her distinctive spectacles.

Goldblatt's rigorous, almost religious attention to detail - whether it be in a seemingly innocuous comma or the Coca-Cola sign in the window of a corner café - is one of the things that makes him the artist he is today.

Not only is he the only South African photographer whose work is part of MoMA's permanent photographic collection. When his exhibition opens there in mid-July he'll become the only South African photographer to have a solo exhibition at the museum - one of the world's greatest repositories of modern art.

The images on show will be a selection of about 40 to 50 from a body of 135 images that make up a book due to be published by Oxford University Press in South Africa and Monacelli Press in New York.


South Africa the Structure of Things Then Goldblatt explores a wide variety of structures - "anything from churches to shops to huts to houses to government buildings to monuments to scrap to vehicles". He has sought out "the structures in South Africa which gave expression to or were evidence of some of the forces that shaped our society before the end of apartheid".

Although his work has been widely published and appreciated in Europe and the United States, Goldblatt has always made his photographs with a South African audience in mind. His work is proudly parochial, yet deeply universal in its concerns.

Writes Susan Kismaric, the curator of the MoMA exhibition: "As an American, my first reaction is to respond to the photographs with a kind of chilled revulsion. As I continue to look, I find them to be increasingly complex. The aspiration toward 'higher goals' - spirituality, striving, courage, refuge ... - as expressed in many of the buildings initially appears as something separate from or in violation of the land and its people ...The work resonates for me in many ways, not the least of which is that it captures how absolute, how pervasive the evil of apartheid is. The contrast between these structures and those that were destroyed reveals yet another aspect of the story."

A little nervous of terms like "the pervasive evil of apartheid", I find myself sitting opposite Goldblatt in his garden in Fellside, Johannesburg, and noticing the way my fork enters the tomato on my plate. I'm certain it is his way of speaking, his way of articulating himself so consciously that has brought my attention to the tomato and the way I am cutting it. I'm aware of the vertical and the horizontal that make up the table and of the limitless expanse of winter sky above us. "Structures?" I ask. "What motivated your decision to move away from human subject matter?"

"I don't see any difference between these structures and humanity - they are really an extension of each other. I've always felt that if you wanted to do a portrait of a person, why the face? What's peculiar about the face? Why not the foot, the backside, the back, the arm? And, by extension, why not the things people value and build? People put emotion into the things that they build.

"So to me buildings are real extensions of us. If I'm photographing a person, I'm very interested to see their home. It's a part of them. These things to me are very important and always have been. They're simply an extension of the human being."

I am reminded of a phrase from In Boksburg in which Goldblatt writes of his search for "intimacy and dispassion". It's the dispassion I'm interested in. It recalls an idea put forward by American cultural analyst Susan Sontag in her book On Photography. In it she speaks about how the action of shooting a subject distances the photographer from the reality of the moment. So, in a sense, the photographer ends up processing the image chemically instead of metaphysically.

"I think Susan Sontag touched on some valid matters. It is very easy to take shelter behind the lens - to look at the subject from behind this machine so that the subject is naked and you're protected," says Goldblatt, "But what she didn't explore is that in photography it's possible to become aware of these things and work with that awareness.

"Once I became aware that this was happening to me, I deliberately reconstructed my way of working. If I'm doing a portrait, for example, as far as is possible I don't look through the camera. I set up the camera, I frame the picture and then I'm one-to-one with you."

Sweet elucidation - Goldblatt's words shed light on the honesty, the directness of the gaze, the openness and trust in his portraits. Looking at them, one is overcome by a sense of miracle - that people have allowed him in. That, despite our ruthless divisions, Afrikaners and Jews, Italians and Zulus have granted him access into their most private worlds - their once necessarily sheltered South African ghettoes.

And yet, says Goldblatt, "I very seldom try to build up a relationship in the sense of talking and putting people at ease. I don't want to. For me the most interesting photographs have tension in them and tension doesn't come from comfort.

"Not that I deliberately try to make the subject feel ill at ease. But I want to retain a certain kind of tension so that the subject feels he/she is actually on view. And 'how shall I show myself if I'm on view?' It's a very subtle thing that happens. This is the way I work."

I am drawn in by this austere love with which Goldblatt seems to approach the world - again this notion of intimacy and dispassion. "They have to go together. There needs to be a certain distancing. In the sense that you're aware of what you're seeing. You're seeing perhaps a woman who is broken by all sorts of personal things - her marriage is on the rocks ... You need to see how this is actually working. At the same time you need to become quite intimate with her.

"It's almost a sexual thing. Not because she's a woman. The subject might be a man, a woman or a building. It's sexual in the sense that you establish a very strong momentary relationship with the subject. I think the photographic act is very close to a sexual act. When the photographic act reaches its climax and it's a good one, it's like a sexual climax.

"And things that might turn you on in photography might seem very strange, but to me they're very sexual. Light! I mean I can wake up in the Highveld light and become almost maddened by the quality of the light. So this is part of being alive. Sex is part of being alive. To me these things are not separate compartments. They're one."

In terms of what he says about this "sexual moment", does Goldblatt experience a difference between photographing a human being and a building? "It doesn't differ at all," he says, "because in both you have to try to penetrate the nature of what you're seeing. You have to somehow grasp its essentials. Exactly that has to apply to a building. The essential difference is that the building is completely inanimate. It doesn't respond to you."

So you're in greater control? "Yes, but at that same time, you're in a much more difficult situation. Because the building will do absolutely nothing for you. You have to walk around it, walk through it - in it. Smell it, touch it, look at it from different angles, climb a koppie. So you have to find those aspects of a structure. And usually you'll find there's a way of looking at the building that seems logically, emotionally, in every way to bring it all together.

"Even though it might be a higgledy-piggledy structure, there were certain human needs that had to be met, so they built it in a certain way. Now you've somehow got to find, by looking at it, how that would best be shown in a photograph."

The building might be a Dutch Reformed church and it might be a grass hut built by a woman in KwaZulu. Either way, engagement with the building is, to Goldblatt, a kind of indirect relationship with the architect. This is the essence of his exhibition - to explore the human ethos behind the structures he photographs.

"Very often," he says, "the more sophisticated a building becomes, the more obfuscated its meaning is. Then you're dealing with the architect's understanding of what the client needs or wants, and the architect's desire to impose on that his own expressive needs, professional prerogatives or politics.

"In South Africa I feel this has happened to a far lesser extent than it has in, say, Europe or America. Our structures tend to be quite bare, quite naked. We declare ourselves with extraordinary frankness in what be build. It's as though we hold our souls up for the rest of the world to see."