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African Art and the Struggle for Independence

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, April 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0321
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"Going to the Independence War and Saying Goodbye", 1964, by Malangatana Ngwenya

In the mid-20th century, revolution was sweeping across the world’s second largest continent. From Morocco to Mozambique, Africans of all identities and experiences had begun to stand up and demand their right to self-determination in greater and greater numbers. Since the Berlin Conference of 1884, European colonial powers had brutalized and exploited the continent and its hundreds of millions of residents. And now, speaking almost as one, they had decided enough was enough. In the span of just a few decades, independence movements formed in nearly every colony on the continent. Some were peaceful. Some were not. But all were successful. By 1977, European colonialism had been broken.

The story of African liberation, however, is as much about painters and sculptors as it is about politicians and soldiers. In every region, artists played a critical role in mobilizing populations, organizing international support, and developing national pride and identity. Art historian Kevin Tervala examines the role that artists and artworks played in the struggle for African independence. Drawing on examples from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Senegal, he introduces participants to the visual art of the time and explores the ways in which art and politics are inextricably connected.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)