Art History Comini Lecture: Repositioning Nigerian Modernism: From Lagos to London
Osei Bonsu, Curator of International Art, Tate Modern, London
Monday, March 8, 2021
Livestreaming on Zoom
Between 1957 and 1967, a generation of Nigerian artists whose careers began while studying at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, inaugurated post-colonial modernism. Influenced by Uche Okeke’s notion of Natural Synthesis, the experimental use of artistic forms from African and European traditions, the Zaria Rebels (as they are often called) developed radically new formal modes driven by influential ideologies of decolonization. As advocates of pan-Africanism, they sought to imagine a modernism outside of the confines of cultural nationalism, drawing an international network of artists and cultural actors into their orbit. Building on the achievements of their modern predecessors, their work grew out of critical discourse informed by the experiences and aspirations of political sovereignty, which they translated into a new language of African modernism. Tracing the exchanges between the British
colonial regime and Nigerian intellectual elite, this talk will consider how Nigerian Modernism was situated in transatlantic discussions around pan-Africanism and Independence movements, engaging the complex legacies and hidden histories we have yet to fully untangle. To attend the lecture, visit https://smu.zoom.us/j/94134742553.