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CHAPTER 4. INFLUENCES: African art and mythology, 1957–2001

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 4:

Influences: African art and mythology, 1957–2001

John Biggers’s trip to Africa transformed his art in unimaginable ways. Many knew of Biggers’s earlier work and had categorized him as a regional painter who painted images of suffering people. As it turns out, that was only half the story. In this chapter we will talk about some factors that influenced him on his pioneering journey into the creation of new images and ideas. (fig. 4.1)

Following the 1996 publication of The Murals of John Thomas Biggers, Biggers gave me a little paperback book and suggested that I should read it sometime. I wasn’t familiar with the author and had much else to do, so that book sat untouched in my bookcase for over ten years. But recently, as I was looking for answers to some questions I still had about John Biggers’s work, I picked up Echoes of the Old

Darkland and leafed through it. As I read, I found glimpses of ideas that Biggers had embedded in his murals. I returned to that little paperback many times to study some of the images in later murals. And I did understand one thing: Biggers had found a source for his “great heroic images.” (See Chapter 5)

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19 Size Matters

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Judith Roof

The Collector’s Edition DVD of The Big Lebowski begins with an appended introduction to the film by Mortimer Young, president of Forever Young Film Preservation. His prologue, in the genre of the ceremonial film introduction, addresses both the casual viewer and the aesthete. Narrating the film’s history and provenance, and preparing the audience for its delights, Young traces the journey of the version that follows, recounting its rediscovery in a dubbed Italian version that has been redubbed into English. What survives, he warns us, is not exactly the original, but close enough for a film that has been destroyed in a fire, multiply translated, lost and found, and restored to us under the title The Grand Lebowski.

How you gonna keep them down on the farm
once they’ve seen Karl Hungus?

In The Big Lebowski, a film with so many pins and balls, with so many penetrations, penetrating looks, and penetrated eye views, one would think there would be an ample supply of penetrations, all big, bulky, and vain. But there are not. Or there are too many soon-to-be disqualified contestants. The only real man in the place seems to be “The” Jesus Quintana, a pastel-coordinated pederastic bowler with a penchant for threatening anal intercourse while waving the hard-on of his prosthetic finger stiffener. Bowling pins are relatively smaller than balls, if we wish at all to ascribe to what seems to be the obvious binary sex symbologies of the bowling alley. But the allegory is not as obvious as it seems, in fact, and it is at best fluidly shifting. Balls penetrate alleys and pins, and bowlers penetrate balls, three-fingering those bounding lasses that serve in turn as their rotund synecdoches, now big roly-polies frotting the standing ten, glancing the circle jerk where nine out of ten on the average come off. Then the benedictions of the great enfolding matrix, a giant set of holes descending on the hapless pins, sucking them up or brushing them off, cupping them in a caressingly careful (re)placement, and beneficently endowing the hungry balls with a ten-pack’s impending generosity.

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THREE Intertwined Veiling Histories in Nigeria • ELISHA P. RENNE

Elisha P Renne Indiana University Press ePub

Hijab is my pride”

 

—Packaged hijab, sold at Oja’ba Market, Ibadan, 31 May 2011

 

 

“God instructs us to wear hijab, is it not the Prophet who said we should wear it?”

—Woman interviewed in Zaria City, 25 April 2001

Veiling in Nigeria—a practice which consists of wearing a cloth which may cover the head, body, and at times, the face, feet, and hands—reflects a complex set of social relationships that have religious, political, and historical dimensions. In Nigeria, Muslim women with different ethnic backgrounds wear a range of veiling styles. In the southwest, some Yoruba Muslim women wear the all-encompassing black burqa-like garment worn by women known as ẹlẹẹha (Plate 3) while the majority wears the more common stole-like iborun over gele headties. More recently, some have worn different styles of hijab. In the north, Hausa Muslim women are more likely to wear the hijab worn in a range of styles, including the recent “fashion hijab,” although some still prefer the style of headtie and gyale style similar to those worn in the southwest. In both the north and south, women’s thinking about veiling and their decisions about what types of veils they wear reflect the specific histories of Islam and of Islamic organizations in Yorubaland and Hausaland respectively.

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13 Zombie Philosophy

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

When we have to change our mind about a person, we hold the inconvenience he causes us very much against him.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Here is a list, very incomplete, of things one should keep in mind when attempting to write seriously about zombies. Zombies do not exist. Zombies are not related to werewolves or vampires.1 Zombies are not, literally, mindless consumers, enraged proletarians, or stupid Americans—although some were perhaps once these things—and there is little use in casting them, even metaphorically, as essentially such, especially when attempting to offer a “theory of zombies.” This is because zombies do not form a natural kind, not even a fictional natural kind. Within the genre, zombies vary greatly in behavior, cognitive power, and athletic ability: some shamble, some run at or near Olympic speeds; some are incapable of manipulating even simple objects, others play video games with erstwhile friends; some behave better, at least not worse, than the living, others are Nazis; some are created by ill-advised government programs, others by hearing (Canadian) English.2

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9. Lewanika’s Workshop and the Vision of Lozi Arts, Zambia

Kasfir, Sidney Littlefield ePub

Karen E. Milbourne

In 1995, two works of art were selected to represent a Lozi cultural identity at the Royal Academy’s renowned exhibition Africa: Art of a Continent.1 The controversial exhibition was ambitious in its efforts to envision a continent. Through the selection of approximately eight hundred works of art, an idea of the African continent was given a material form. As Brian Wallis wrote in relation to the 1990 exhibition Mexico: A Work of Art, “Of all the ways to constitute a nation, this one—the nation as a work of art—is perhaps the most audacious” (Wallis 1994:265). The organizers at the Royal Academy were audacious, indeed, for they attempted to envision not one, but a selection of all historic nations that make up the African continent. Perhaps one of the most extraordinary untold stories included in this enterprise, however, is that of an under-recognized African king who audaciously utilized the power of art to envision his nation, Barotseland (now Western Province, Zambia), a century earlier.

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