Indiana University Press

African Expressive Cultures

Published by: Indiana University Press

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African Expressive Cultures

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Abidjan USA

Music, Dance, and Mobility in the Lives of Four Ivorian Immigrants

Daniel B. Reed

Daniel B. Reed integrates individual stories with the study of performance to understand the forces of diaspora and mobility in the lives of musicians, dancers, and mask performers originally from Côte d'Ivoire who now live in the United States. Through the lives of four Ivorian performers, Reed finds that dance and music, being transportable media, serve as effective ways to understand individual migrants in the world today. As members of an immigrant community who are geographically dispersed, these performers are unmoored from their place of origin and yet deeply engaged in presenting their symbolic roots to North American audiences. By looking at performance, Reed shows how translocation has led to transformations on stage, but he is also sensitive to how performance acts as a way to reinforce and maintain community. Abidjan USA provides a multifaceted view of community that is at once local, national, and international, and where identity is central, but transportable, fluid, and adaptable.

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Africa and France

Postcolonial Cultures, Migration, and Racism

Dominic Thomas

This stimulating and insightful book reveals how increased control over immigration has changed cultural and social production in theater, literature, and even museum construction. Dominic Thomas's analysis unravels the complex cultural and political realities of long-standing mobility between Africa and Europe. Thomas questions the attempt to place strict limits on what it means to be French or European and offers a sense of what must happen to bring about a renewed sense of integration and global Frenchness.

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African Appropriations

Cultural Difference, Mimesis, and Media

Matthias Krings

Why would a Hollywood film become a Nigerian video remake, a Tanzanian comic book, or a Congolese music video? Matthias Krings explores the myriad ways Africans respond to the relentless onslaught of global culture. He seeks out places where they have adapted pervasive cultural forms to their own purposes as photo novels, comic books, songs, posters, and even scam letters. These African appropriations reveal the broad scope of cultural mediation that is characteristic of our hyperlinked age. Krings argues that there is no longer an "original" or "faithful copy," but only endless transformations that thrive in the fertile ground of African popular culture.

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African Art and Agency in the Workshop

Edited by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Till Förster

The role of the workshop in the creation of African art is the subject of this revelatory book. In the group setting of the workshop, innovation and imitation collide, artists share ideas and techniques, and creative expression flourishes. African Art and Agency from the Workshop examines the variety of workshops, from those which are politically driven or tourist oriented, to those based on historical patronage or allied to current artistic trends. Fifteen lively essays explore the impact of the workshop on the production of artists such as Zimbabwean stone sculptors, master potters from Cameroon, wood carvers from Nigeria, and others from across the continent.

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African Art, Interviews, Narratives

Bodies of Knowledge at Work

Edited by Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee

Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee bring together a compelling collection that shows how interviews can be used to generate new meaning and how connecting with artists and their work can transform artistic production into innovative critical insights and knowledge. The contributors to this volume include artists, museum curators, art historians, and anthropologists, who address artistic production in a variety of locations and media to question previous uses of interview and provoke alternative understandings of art.

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African Fashion, Global Style

Histories, Innovations, and Ideas You Can Wear

Victoria L. Rovine

African Fashion, Global Style provides a lively look at fashion, international networks of style, material culture, and the world of African aesthetic expression. Victoria L. Rovine introduces fashion designers whose work reflects African histories and cultures both conceptually and stylistically, and demonstrates that dress styles associated with indigenous cultures may have all the hallmarks of high fashion. Taking readers into the complexities of influence and inspiration manifested through fashion, this book highlights the visually appealing, widely accessible, and highly adaptable styles of African dress that flourish on the global fashion market.

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African Music, Power, and Being in Colonial Zimbabwe

Mhoze Chikowero

In this new history of music in Zimbabwe, Mhoze Chikowero deftly uses African sources to interrogate the copious colonial archive, reading it as a confessional voice along and against the grain to write a complex history of music, colonialism, and African self-liberation. Chikowero's book begins in the 1890s with missionary crusades against African performative cultures and African students being inducted into mission bands, which contextualize the music of segregated urban and mining company dance halls in the 1930s, and he builds genealogies of the Chimurenga music later popularized by guerrilla artists like Dorothy Masuku, Zexie Manatsa, Thomas Mapfumo, and others in the 1970s. Chikowero shows how Africans deployed their music and indigenous knowledge systems to fight for their freedom from British colonial domination and to assert their cultural sovereignty.

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Art World City

The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar

Joanna Grabski

Art World City focuses on contemporary art and artists in the city of Dakar, a famously thriving art metropolis in the West African nation of Senegal. Joanna Grabski illuminates how artists earn their livelihoods from the city’s resources, possibilities, and connections. She examines how and why they produce and exhibit their work and how they make an art scene and transact with art world mediators such as curators, journalists, critics, art lovers, and collectors from near and far. Grabski shows that Dakar-based artists participate in a platform that has a global reach. They extend Dakar’s creative economy and the city’s urban vibe into an "art world city."

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Arts of Being Yoruba

Divination, Allegory, Tragedy, Proverb, Panegyric

Adélékè Adéèkó

There is a culturally significant way of being Yorùbá that is expressed through dress, greetings, and celebrations—no matter where in the world they take place. Adélékè Adék documents Yorùbá patterns of behavior and articulates a philosophy of how to be Yorùbá in this innovative study. As he focuses on historical writings, Ifá divination practices, the use of proverbs in contemporary speech, photography, gendered ideas of dressing well, and the formalities of ceremony and speech at celebratory occasions, Adéékó contends that being Yorùbá is indeed an art and Yorùbá-ness is a dynamic phenomenon that responds to cultural shifts as Yorùbá people inhabit an increasingly globalized world.

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A Bird Dance near Saturday City

Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade

Patrick R. McNaughton

In 1978, Patrick McNaughton witnessed a bird dance masquerade in the small town of Dogoduman. He was so affected by this performance that its dazzling artistic power has never left him. As he revisits that very special evening in A Bird Dance near Saturday City, McNaughton carefully considers the components of the performance, its pace, the performers, and what the entire experience means for understandings of Bamana and West African aesthetics and culture. The performance of virtuoso dancer Sidi Ballo becomes McNaughton's vehicle for understanding the power of individuals in African art and the power of aesthetics as a cultural phenomenon. Topics such as what makes art effective, what makes it "good," how production is wrapped in individual virtuosity, and what individual artistry suggests about society reveal how individuals work together to create the indelible experience of outstanding performance. This exuberant and captivating book will influence views of society, culture, art, history, and their makers in West Africa for years to come.

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