Webinar: The 2020 Coleman Memorial Lecture--Worrying the Mask: The Politics of Authenticity and Contemporaneity in the Worlds of African Art

Please upgrade to a browser that supports HTML5 audio or install Flash.

Audio MP3 Download Podcast

Duration: 01:31:21


Transcript   * This might take a few seconds to load.

The "performance-lecture film" will be available for viewing 12pm PST on Friday, June 26 (see below). The Zoom Q&A with Zina Saro-Wiwa and ASC Director Professor Andrew Apter will be at 4pm PST on Monday, June 29.

Register HERE for the Zoom webinar Q&A session on Monday, June 29, at 4 pm, or visit https://ucla.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_17YyyFulTD27IOHG0NsxUw  


To Submit your questions for the Q&A

After viewing the film, we encourage you to submit questions for the Q&A with Saro-Wiwa, and ASC Director Professor Andrew Apter. To submit questions, please fill out this FORM.     

 In this uniquely-curated Performance-Lecture-Film, artist Zina Saro-Wiwa navigates the moral, philosophical and cultural conundrums that arise from the very existence of contemporary traditional African art. A large part of Saro-Wiwa’s artistic practice explores the masquerade traditions of Ogoniland, her ancestral ethnic group from the Niger Delta. Yet Saro-Wiwa’s hybrid identity has forced her to consider how African masks live both in the West and in Africa and how these African art worlds impact one another. In “Worrying the Mask,” Saro-Wiwa challenges the call for the restitution of African art by privileging storytelling over geographical location. She exposes the desires and limitations of Ogoni storytelling to ask whether an object can represent a people at all. And she elucidates how contemporaneity informs the genre of “contemporary traditional African art,” suggesting that our attempts to understand and explain it may require a radical ontological shift.




More about the artist:

Zina Saro-Wiwa is an artist working primarily with video but also photography, sculpture, sound and food. She lives and works out of Los Angeles, California as well as running a practise in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria where she founded the contemporary art gallery Boys’ Quarters Space for which she regularly curates. Saro-Wiwa is one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers of 2016, recognized for her work in the Niger Delta. She was Artist-in-Residence at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn 2016-2017 and in 2017 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts.

About the James S. Coleman Memorial Lecture:

The Coleman Memorial Lecture is given in honor and memory of Professor James S. Coleman, the founder of the UCLA African Studies Center and a pioneer in the field of African Studies.



Published: Tuesday, June 9, 2020