all photos by the author except where otherwise noted

The year is 1956. The First International Conference of Negro Writers and Artists is taking place at the Sorbonne in Paris. Madame Alioune Diop is photographed as she presents the conference poster, which is designed not by an African artist, but by Pablo Picasso: It is the head of a young African man in a rather Grecian profile, crowned with a wreath of flowers (Enwonwu 1956: photo opposite p. 88). The fact that a world-famous European artist was commissioned to design this poster may be seen as symptomatic of colonial politics of art. However, also at this conference, Ben Enwonwu spoke on the problems of the African artist under colonial rule. He argued that educated young people “bear the burden of...

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