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3rd Edition of Journal: SAVVY | art.contemporary.african.

Out Now: 3rd Edition of SAVVY Journal for Critical Texts on Contemporary African Art

SAVVY | art.contemporary.african. (ISSN 2191-4362)

Title: Art and politics – An inseparable couple? The fire behind the smoke called political art. 

Talking about politics and Africa is always crackling. Talking about politics and art is always a guarantee for a hot debate. Then of course talking about art, politics and Africa is a recipe for an electrifying discourse. An objective and constructive critique without pledging any predetermined allegiance to a specific school of thought is an important ingredient in this recipe.

What is for certain is, arts and politics are not of different planets. They share the same playground, they are not antagonistic but complementary to each other and usually co-exist in a symbiotic relationship… and that was evident in many of the texts we received. Surprisingly, we received no article claiming the independence of art from politics or propagating „l’art pour l’art“. Is art for art sake a blunt imagination or is it just not an African issue? Art is known to be able to reflect, in one way or the other – consciously or unconsciously, the socio-political, physical or psychological context in which an artist finds him-/herself. Art and the so-called „Schaffensdrang“ have to do with a need to create, and often this need stems from a reaction to one’s immediate or extended surrounding.

The authors in this edition tackled the issue from diverse perspectives, ranging from the economics of politics to humour as a tool for political expression. While Emeka Okereke contemplates the usage of the terminology „Contemporary African Art“, Kangsen Wakai investigates the myth of the trans-atlantic Afro-Diasporic constellation Otabenga Jones and Associates, Sebastian Weier ironises in his reflection on African art as a class struggle and the poet Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso gives a philosophical background to arts and politics. This edition also features enquiries into the works of Moridja Kitenge Banza, Robin Rhode, Steve Bandoma, Uche Okeke and Guy Woueté’s politico-economic quest. Apart from interviews with designer Serge Mouangue and photographer Dimitri Fagbohoun you can also read reviews on exhibitions by David Goldblatt, Leo Asemota, Jürgen Schadeberg, Temitayo Ogunbiyi and many more.

Even though socio-political issues play a vital role in Contemporary African Art it would be an enormous mistake for any one to limit Contemporary African Art to political and social frames, thus neglecting the profound aesthetic value, twist of irony and emotionality many do possess.

SAVVY Online Journal offers a limited print version for collectors (50 copies) – acquirable for 50€/journal.

The bike is in your court, ride it!

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (PhD) | Editor-in-chief

Andrea Heister (M.A.) | Deputy editor-in-chief

Contributors: Kangsen Feka Wakai, Emeka Okereke, Sebastian Weier, Ezeiyoke Chukwononso, Fenneken Veldkamp, Bhavisha Panchia, Salvatore Falci, Patrick Tankama, Guy Woueté, Moyo Okediji, Prune Helfter, Yves Chatap, M. Neelika Jayawardane, Simon Raven, Dietrich Heißenbüttel, Daniele G. Daude | Nina Wichmann (proofreading) | Johanna Ndikung, Ioana Muntenescu, Ekpenyong Ani (translation)

Graphic Design – Guy Dollman | Web Design – Alice Motanga

Acknowledgements: Marc-André Schmachtel, Nina Tsonkidou and Clara Giacalone

Support: Goethe Institute Lagos


White Anglo-Saxon Hopes and Black Americans’ Atlantic Dreams

White Anglo-Saxon Hopes and Black Americans’ Atlantic Dreams: Jack Johnson and the British Boxing Colour Bar by Theresa Runstedtler.

This article examines the controversy surrounding Jack Johnson’s proposed world heavyweight title fight against the British champion Bombardier Billy Wells in London (1911). In juxtaposing African Americans’ often glowing discussions of European tolerance with the actual white resistance the black champion faced in Britain, including the Home Office’s eventual prohibition of the match, the article explores the period’s transnational discourses of race and citizenship. Indeed, as white sportsmen on both sides of the Atlantic joined together in their search for a “White Hope” to unseat Johnson, the boxing ring became an important cultural arena for interracial debates over the political and social divisions between white citizens and nonwhite subjects.

Although African Americans had high hopes for their hero’s European sojourn, the British backlash against the Johnson-Wells match underscored the fact that their local experiences of racial oppression were just one facet of a much broader global problem. At the same time, the proposed prizefight also made the specter of interracial conflict in the colonies all the more tangible in the British capital, provoking public discussions about the merits of U.S. racial segregation, along with the need for white Anglo-Saxon solidarity around the world. Thus, this article not only exposes the underlying connections between American Jim Crow and the racialized fault lines of British imperialism, but it also traces the “tense and tender ties” linking U.S. and African American history with the new imperial history and postcolonial studies.

Read the full article at Project Muse

(Journal of World History, Volume 21, Number 4, December 2010, pp. 657-689)

(Re-) Mapping the field: a bird’s eye view on discourses

Have you been waiting on tenterhooks for the second edition of the journal SAVVY | art.contemporary.african.? Well the waiting was worth the trouble… we hereby present to you edition 1 of this journal, entitled (Re-) Mapping the field: a bird’s eye view on discourses:

The challenge of any journal aiming at hoisting the flag of art critic and thus putting critical writing on art as its fundament is to pin point the eye of the storm in the cyclone of positions and criticism within the realms of its conceptual background. To participate in the discourse means not only to add fuel to it but also see how far one can go. A discourse is the only context where ideals, ideas or concepts can be taken towards the end.

In this light, the editors of the journal SAVVY | art.contemporary.african. sailed out on a journey to map the field by capturing an overview on some ongoing discourses in academic and non-academic circles by renegotiating and reflecting on terminologies, spaces, concepts and contexts at stake in the field of contemporary African art.

In this “Mapping the field” expedition: Simon Njami recounts the incentive and onset of Revue Noire in Ancient guilt, new tool; Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie reshuffles the cards in Where is Africa in Global Contemporary Art? while; Riason Naidoo reflects on his historical milestone 1910-2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective, inter alia. The trip also accompanies us through features on: Otobong Nkanga and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; negotiates turns on interviews with the likes of Odili Donald Odita in Chromatic Symphony; and re-imagines with Ntone Edjabe,  publisher of the literary journal of arts, culture and politics, Chimurenga magazine. The journey takes a retrospective glimpse at exhibitions with African artists on board like: Make Yourself at Home  in the  Kunsthal Charlottenborg; The Idea of Africa (re-invented) in theKunsthalle Bern; AFROPOLIS in  Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Cologne, as well as; the Addis Foto Fest 2010 and; an almost nostalgic take on Okwui Enwezor’s The Short Century.

You are welcome to a free subscription of the journal. To take up this offer click here: http://savvy-journal.com/subscribe.php

We will keep you informed about the schedule of the next edition.

Have fun reading and we are looking forward to a thrilling feedback!

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung | Editor-in-chief
Andrea Heister | Deputy Editor-in-chief

Contributors to edition 1
Simon Njami, Sylvester Okwonodu Ogbechie, Annette Schemmel, Fiona Siegenthaler, Kangsen Feka Wakai, Aicha Diallo, Brenda Cooper, Andrea Heister, Prune Helfter, Nancy Hoffmann, Missla Libsekal, Alanna Lockward, Riason Naidoo, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Katja Vobiller, Claudia Lamas Cornejo, Johanna Ndikung, Simone Kraft.

Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library

The Digital Library of the Caribbean is working with libraries, archives and publishers to ensure preservation and provide access to influential political and cultural periodicals via a new dLOC project, the Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library.  Several scholars have compiled summaries and links for a few of the nearly 150 titles already available online at: http://www.dloc.com/cndl

dLOC will provide open access to regional newspaper digitization projects including literary journals, traditional newspapers, government gazettes, and other works in newsprint.  This initiative builds upon dLOC’s work in the Caribbean and the University of Florida’s historical Caribbean newspaper preservation program.

If you have any questions or suggestions for new titles, please contact the project coordinator at dloc@fiu.edu

DIGITAL LIBRARY OF THE CARIBBEAN (DLOC) is a cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections. For more information go to http://www.dloc.com

Influential Political and Cultural Periodicals Now Online


Kyk-Over-Al – Georgetown, Guyana
Issues online range from 1948-1998
Named after the colonial Dutch Fort in Guyana, Kyk-Over-Al was established by the British Guiana Writers Association in 1945 and published under the editorship of A.J. Seymour until 1961. Publishing poetry, fiction, book reviews, and essays on current political and cultural debates, the journal published Guyanese and other Caribbean authors, frequently featuring Martin Carter and Wilson Harris. Kyk-Over-Al was integral to the promotion of Guyanese literature and national consciousness during the development of nationalism in the Anglophone Caribbean and the West Indian Federation (1958-1962). The journal was linked by purpose and common contributors to the Barbadian literary magazine Bim and the Jamaican Focus. With them, it made invaluable contributions to the development Anglo-Caribbean literature. With issue 28 (December 1961), Kyk-over-Al stopped publication until 1984 when it was revived under the editorship of Ian McDonald and published ten issues, including two double issues culminating in June 2000 the double issue 49/50. For more information, see A.J. Seymour, “Literature in the Making—the Contribution of Kykoveral,” Kyk-over-Al (7:33/34 1986, pp. 3-8).
Summary contributed by Leah Rosenberg, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Florida

Jamaica Journal – Kingston, Jamaica
Issues online range from 1967-2008
The Jamaica Journal is the flagship publication of the Institute of Jamaica and the Caribbean’s leading cultural publication on Jamaica’s heritage.  Published in 1967, Jamaica Journal’s coverage of a wide range of topics including history, literature, science and the arts is an important source for Jamaican research.
Summary contributed by Clover Johnston Director, Development & Public Relations, Institute of Jamaica

Eme Eme – Santiago, Dominican Republic
Issues online range from 1972-1992
Eme Eme was published by Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra  today known as Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Eme Eme was born with the aim of spreading the research conducted at the university. It was a bimonthly publication; its first issue was published in June-July 1972 and ceased publication in March 1992.
Summary contributed by Dulce María Núñez de Taveras, Director, Rafael
Herrera Cabral Library, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra

La Ronde and La Nouvelle Ronde – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Issues online range from 1901-2 and 1926 http://www.dloc.com/BA00000233/00001
Seven issues are available for La Ronde, a literary journal of young intellectuals who sought to revitalize the nation through spirited prose and humanism. Its authors, including Dantès Bellegarde, Fernand Hibbert, and Georges Sylvain, became known as the generation of the Ronde. Many of the authors wrote separate books that are also accessible in the Digital Library of the Caribbean general collection.

Like the Ronde, the Nouvelle Ronde brought together the ideas of a new generation of Haitian intellectuals. Some of its writers, including Philippe Thoby-Marcelin and Antonio Vieux, were critical of the earlier generation of the Ronde for embracing European culture and French humanism instead of Haiti’s African traditions. Others discussed governance, intellectualism, and feminism, among other topics.
Summary contributed by Adam Silvia, Ph.D. Student, Department of History, Florida International University


Abeng – Kingston, Jamaica
Issues online range from February – September 1969
The Abeng group was a political centre for the Black Power movement, socialists, the independent trade union movement, Rastafarians, supporters of the opposition People’s National Party and people disaffected with the two main political parties. Abeng became a focal point of critique and activism against the ruling Jamaica Labour Party and a harbinger of the radicalism in Jamaica in the 1970s. The Abeng newspaper’s Managing Editor was Robert Hill (UWI graduate student) and other editors included George Beckford (UWI lecturer), Rupert Lewis (UWI graduate student) and Trevor Munroe (Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University).
Summary contributed by Dr. Rupert Lewis, Professor of Political Thought in the Department of Government, Associate Director of the Centre for Caribbean Thought and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies, Jamaica

Aruba Esso News –Lago-Colony, Aruba
Issues online range from 1943-1985
The Aruba Esso News is a well-known newspaper in Aruba in the last century, especially to the LAGO community, where it was published by the Lago Oil and Transport Company.  It contains news articles or other announcements and pictures of Aruba over the period from 1943 to 1985. About 837 issues can be consulted online.
Summary contributed by Des Croes, Head of the Arubiana Department, National Library of Aruba Continue reading

SAVVY: New Contemporary African Art Journal

An exicting new journal focussed on contemporary African and African diaspora art is now accessible online:

You are finally about to read the first critical, independent, bilingual (English + German) E-journal on Contemporary African Art.

Welcome to edition 0 of SAVVY|art.contemporary.african. with the title “Where do we go from here?” This journal heralds a new wave of critical writing focusing on art with a relation to Africa and its Diaspora. In a bid to
instigate new latitudes of debate and revitalize a discourse in this domain,
especially in the German speaking regions but also on a global perspective,
this journal was initiated. Thrice yearly, SAVVY|art.contemporary.african. will place the most diligent, distinguished and savviest positions on Contemporary African Art in the forms of essays, portfolios, interviews, reviews and previews in the limelight.

“Where do we go from here?” features, amongst others, articles on Adel
Abdessemed, Wangechi Mutu, Soavina Ramaroson, Antonio Ole or Bisi Silva.

You can access SAVVY|art.contemporary.african. through the website http://www.savvy-journal.com

You will be able to access the subsequent issues of this journal also online.

Call for contributions: You are cordially invited to submit articles until the
16.01.2011 for the next edition of SAVVY|art.contemporary.african. scheduled to
be released on the 16.03.2011.