If postcolonial thinking involves considering art history for a “global majority,” a term invoked by an astonishingly wide range of sources from advocates of Zambian independence in pre-1964 Rhodesia to champions of anti-racist language in post-2020 London, the concept of Afro Asia assumes special urgency. Suggestive not only of the world's population, of which over three-quarters call Asia and Africa home, but also of a supermajority deprived of social and cultural autonomy, Afro Asia compels serious consideration of questions joining different iterations of global-majority life. Three principles in particular emerged through the Asian-African (“Bandung”) Conference of 1955: self-determination, coexistence, and sovereignty. Refracted through the works of Sybil Atteck, Senga Nengudi, Sadamasa Motonaga, and Obiora Udechukwu, these terms move well beyond political recognition, transnational solidarity, and isolationist conceptions of autonomy. Self-determination in this context involves deferring to how the artwork inheres as a self-sufficient entity so that it might fully exercise the privileges of sovereignty, including the right to prioritize open interdependence above closed competition as the basis of coexistence. Requiring attention that itself amounts to an active redistribution of the scarce resource of time, such artwork sovereignty might be described as an assertion of dignity exceeding that conferred by institutional and critical recognition alone.

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