This maiden issue presents eight essays, one interview, one exhibition review, and one portfolio review. Exploring the idea of art and the artist, Picton engages with transnational questions that attend the discussion of those terms with “African” as a modifier, and Ene-Orji writes about the Igbo visual art and artist by reading another genre of art, namely prose. He uses Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God as key text. Three essays in the issue address early histories of art and contemporary narratives connected to Nigeria through biographical reading of artists and examination of art patronage.
Ottenberg writes about Suzanna Ogunjami whom he describes as “enigmatic” given her confused identity (as Nigerian, Jamaica, etc) but who was important in the early 20th century art. Oloidi puts Kenneth Murray into the historical context of the modern Nigerian art. Ikwuemesi, Odoh and Udeaja use “the Medici spirit” as a theoretical framework to explicate art patronage in Nigeria using Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe as an example.
Other essays are about art as a tool for critique of social conditions in Nigeria (Aniakor), the entrepreneurial project of the Art and Design programmes of Nigerian polytechnics (Obodo), and the making of group styles into what came to be known as “art school”, but also its blurring (Onuzulike).
We hope that materials published on the platform will appeal to scholars, researchers, and general readers who are interested in the art and visual culture that focus on the Africa’s history, contemporary experience, and the continent’s relation to the world.
Dr. George Agbo