12 Chapters
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9. Who Owns the Past?: Constructing an Art History of a Malian Masquerade

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

MARY JO ARNOLDI

 

Since the 1980s anthropologists have paid increasingly more attention to issues of ethnographic authority, fieldwork reciprocity, and the way that collaboration through interviews profoundly shapes the production of scholarly narratives.1 This chapter focuses on the critical role that interviews have played in my field research and in the writing of an art history of youth association masquerades in Mali.2 My analysis considers the ways that interviews are both collaborative and cumulative processes. I examine my interviews with various individuals and groups and look at the ways that my casual conversations, as well as more formal taped interviews with men and women performers and with male blacksmith-carvers, have been instrumental in the production of an art history of this art form. These collaborations represent different but intersecting domains of knowledge and experience that have each contributed in critical ways to shaping, reshaping, and extending the scholarly narrative about these masquerades.

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6. Interview: Akinbode Akinbiyi

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

AKINBODE AKINBIYI

Interviewer: After months of trying to arrange a meeting with Akinbode Akinbiyi, I eventually tied him down to a date and time in what he calls his home city, Lagos. He actually lives in Berlin, and it was there that I often emailed him. Of Nigerian parentage, he was born in Oxford, England, just after the Second World War. He claims that one of his first childhood memories is of his parents talking about the horrors of this war, the weight of darkness that came across in their discussions and in the quiet modulations of their adult voices.

At the age of three and some, he left Oxford together with his recently born brother to return with his parents to Lagos. There, his memories are much clearer and he remembers vividly walking to primary school nearby the home in which they lived, the wide expanse of the streets spread out before him.

Mr. Akinbiyi, those early walks to and back from school, were those the beginnings of your wanderlust?

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4. Photography, Narrative Interventions, and (Cross) Cultural Representations

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

CAROL MAGEE

 

Every year in the wintry cold of late January or early February, Time, Inc., releases the much-anticipated Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The swimsuit-clad models are meant to transport readers out of the doldrums of winter to the warmth of tropical locations (e.g., Bermuda, Bora Bora, Dominican Republic, Mexico). Shot in a different location every year—Sports Illustrated identifies the locale each time, but in many ways one beach could be any other—each issue offers a fantasy world of sun-drenched fun. Occasionally, however, a site is chosen that manifests its location specifically through well-known land formations or the indigenous architecture. Such is the case with the 1996 swimsuit issue. Shot in South Africa, its presentation of Ndebele visual culture is fundamental to establishing the locale for readers. Beaded jewelry is most common, though there are two images in the photo essay in which Ndebele wall painting predominates.1

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8. Politics of Narrative at the African Burial Ground in New York City: The Final Monument

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

ANDREA E. FROHNE

 

 

The African Burial Ground located in lower Manhattan was used by Africans and people of African descent from approximately 1700 until 1790. It covered five to six acres and likely contained the remains of ten thousand to twenty thousand people. A small portion of the African Burial Ground was unearthed in 1991 when the General Services Administration (GSA) built on top of the cemetery a thirty-four-story Federal Office Building at 290 Broadway between Duane and Reade Streets. The eighteenth-century colonial cemetery was located in what has become today's Civic Center of lower Manhattan, surrounded by City Hall, Federal Plaza, and the New York Supreme Court. Because the plot of land at 290 Broadway is prime real estate, it was initially treated as such, rather than as a sacred, historical burial site. Eventually, after community activism and governmental involvement, several commemorative art projects were eventually commissioned for the site.1

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7. Interweaving Narratives of Art and Activism: Sandra Kriel's Heroic Women

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

KIM MILLER

 

This chapter considers the relationship between the process of political radicalization and the production of visual culture in the work of Sandra Kriel, a South African artist who depicts politically active women in her work. A participant in South Africa's resistance art movement, Kriel came of age as an artist and activist during the fight against apartheid, and she is now well known as a politically engaged artist.1 Less is known, however, about the ways in which her commitment to social change and her collaborations and conversations with anti-apartheid activists directly shaped her creative work, in particular her efforts to make visible the integral role that women played in South Africa's struggle for freedom. Not only do the practices of collaboration and conversation bear directly on Kriel's formation as an artist, and especially her political activism as a form of knowledge production, but these are also the tools with which I learned about Kriel's work. The significance of these processes became clear to me during my extensive interviews and conversations with Kriel (2007–2010), which took place in the larger context of my research on South African women artists and activists. The text that follows traces her participation in women's and arts organizations by building an artistic biography from our interviews, and analyzes how her activism in turn led her to pursue an artistic vision that helped create and sustain political identities and recognition for women. Toward this end, I first consider Kriel's political radicalization as it developed largely through conversations and interactions with other activists.

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