Event is Postponed - The 2020 Annual James S. Coleman Memorial Lecture with Zina Saro-Wiwa

Worrying the Mask: The Politics of Authenticity and Contemporaneity in the Worlds of African Art

The 2020 Coleman Memorial Lecture featuring Zina Saro-Wiwa is being postponed due to a family emergency. The event will be rescheduled.

Monday, May 18, 2020
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

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In this uniquely curated 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 ultimately be futile.


Cost : Free

African Studies Center323-335-9965


Sponsor(s): African Studies Center