Anth41
Materiality and spirit: exploring visuality, citizenship and power in urban Africa

Convenors:
Naluwembe Binaisa (University College London)
Discussant:
Ndidi Dike, Lagos
Stream:
Social Anthropology
Location:
Room 06
Session slots:
2
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45 - 10:30
Wednesday 12 June, 10:45 - 12:30

Short abstract:

This panel aims to stimulate debate on the disruptive and connecting work of the arts in Africa. New modes of visuality, materiality and 'spirit' remain pertinent projecting towards the future to re-animate the archive and citizenship. Papers addressing different art forms and mediums are welcome.

Long abstract:

The transforming role of art, artists and new modes of visuality are emblematic of the disruptions and connections that contour urban Africa and reach out beyond the continent. These processes are mired in histories of inequality that bleed into this social media age and its promise of new power configurations. This panel welcomes papers and interventions from artists and academics working in different mediums and art forms who wish to explore questions of materiality, spirit, citizenship and power in Africa. Papers can engage with modes of creative practice that connect and simultaneously disrupt public and private archives of heritage and belonging. They can enquire through creative artefacts and image-events across time and space ongoing struggles for rights, visibility and voice too often silenced by moribund analyses that discipline Africa's myriad narratives. The dimension of 'spirit' remains pertinent in this rapidly urbanising continent and papers and interventions could reflect on the intersection of materiality and spirit that continues to provide alternative axes for power and politics in Africa. Art and artists are increasingly at the vanguard of the re-visioning of the continent, projecting futures, revealing hidden histories to question and resist the empty moniker of 'Africa rising'. This panel aims to contribute and stimulate debate on the disruptive and connecting work of the arts in Africa.