Discussion of ethnic categorization of art need not be specific to Africa. Yet in our field, the discussion has become concerned with specific aspects of colonial situations and their later appropriations and reappropriations in Africa. The attribution of objects to an ethnic group as typical of that group has contributed to essentializing identities. Such thinking is associated with the idea that certain stylistic traits result from the emanation of the spirit of a distinct people, expressed or represented by a uniform type of production and often thought of, whether consciously or unconsciously, as existing out of time. Certainly, historians and anthropologists questioned the notion of ethnicity in the 1980s, but their calls to put it into perspective through a stratigraphy of the concept's construction has not yet had a significant impact on the study or exhibition of art objects. Therefore, Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi and Yaëlle Biro usefully put on the...
Inside History: Seeking Figurative Thinking
Claire Bosc-Tiessé, Senior Researcher in the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Scientific Advisor in the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art
- Share Icon Share
- Views Icon Views
- Search Site
Claire Bosc-Tiessé; Inside History: Seeking Figurative Thinking. African Arts 2021; 54 (2): 6–7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/afar_a_00577
Download citation file: