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Artists and Art Education in Africa

Artists and Art Education in Africa (ISBN 9781872843193), edited by Elsbeth Court and part of Saffron African Art and Society Series, documents an extraordinary symposium of 130 visual art specialists from twenty countries, mostly scholar-practitioners, who debated about art, African art and art education in Africa at the peak of the africa95 season in London.

The collected texts indicate a variety of conditions which, in turn, generate contingent ways of becoming and being a contemporary artist.   These comparative configurations of artistic production and practice move the discourse beyond the rhetoric – and, indeed, prejudice – that persists in obscuring the actualities and accomplishments of ‘African art’. The beam of continuity in the book is the sharing of both visionary and practical approaches to education in and through art.

Some thirty texts in this book include (i) Historical and institutional backgrounds for specialised art education; (ii) Case studies of specific situations: some that involve the processes of decolonisation and re-engagement with traditions and others that set out regional and trans-Africa initiatives and (iii) Artist statements in prose and performance about  their careers and concerns. The majority of the texts are edited versions of the original papers, most of which have been up-dated, revised and/or supplemented (as indicated by the year).

There are six newly written texts plus the Introduction.

Audience and Readership
The audience for Artists and Art Education in Africa is likely to include art educators and students, art historians, critics and curators and gallerists, as well as development professionals and other cultural workers, Africanists and African art enthusiasts.

For readers outside of Africa, the book presents the scholarship and viewpoints of African educators, artists and cultural workers, whose insights into art and art-making challenge western conventions such as a boundary between formal and non-formal educationor between art and craft and preconceptions about ethnic traditions and material culture.

The book demonstrates the expressive arts are proactive in building the contemporary cultures of African societies.

Table of Contents

  • Series Editor’s Note | Sajid Rizvi
  • Acknowledgements
  • Prologue:  Artists, Apprentices, Students and Visionaries | Professor John Picton, SOAS, 2011
  • Foreword | Professor Richard Fardon, SOAS, former Chair, Centre of African Studies, London
  • Introduction | Elsbeth Court, SOAS, London
  • My favourite quotations from africa’95 | Dr Sultan Somjee, formerly National Museums of Kenya


  • Forty years of formal art education in Nigeria, 1995 | Professor Solomon Irein Wangboje, formerly University of Benin, Nigeria
  • Recalling Professor Wangboje, 2005 | Professor Frank Ugiomoh, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Innovations in art pedagogy for sculpture at Nsukka Art School, 2004 | Dr Ernest Okoli, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Comments: Kalidou Sy with reference to Senegal, 1995
  • Origins of art education in Sudan, 1997 | Professor Ahmed el Tayib Zeinelabdeen, formerly University of Khartoum, Sudan
  • Comments by Ibrahim el Salahi, Oxford, UK
  • Recalling Professor Eltayib, 2005 | Fathi & Elamin Osman, Kerma Arts, Khartoum, Sudan
  • The birth and growth of East African modern art at Makerere University, Uganda, 2002 | Professor Pilkington Ssengendo, formerly Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
  • The Makerere School of Indiustrial & Fine Art,  The Past Decade, 2013 | Dr George Kyeyune, Makerere University Art School
  • Responses to the Voices of our East, 1995 | A poem | Professor Pitika Ntuli, Durban, South Africa


  • Reforming school art in Kenya with material culture, 1995 | Dr Sultan Somjee
  • Symposium comments, Professor Elizabeth Orchardson, Emerita, Kenyatta University
  • Developing a regional art school for the Southern African Development Community, 1995 | Stephen Williams, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  • Symposium comments & prepared responses by Dr G Kahari, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; David Elliott, formerly Oxford MOMA, UK
  • Enterprise and Inter-sectorial partnerships in East & South Africa, 2006 | Professor Jackie Guille, University of Northumbria | Download paper
  • Triangle international artists’ workshops as they relate to Africa, 2004 | Robert Loder, Gasworks, London, UK
  • Symposium comments


  • The case of ceramics: Ladi Kwali, 1995 | Professor John Tokpabere Agberia, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Learning to paint in South Africa, 1995 | David Koloane, Fordsburg Artists’ Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Commercial gallery workshops: Nairobi, Kenya, 1995 | Wanjiku Nyachae, Nairobi & Birmingham, UK
  • ‘Taxi couleur’ workshop project, 1995 | Francisco D’Almeida, Grenoble, France & Alexandria, Egypt
  • Pamoja: Yorkshire Sculpture Park International Artists Workshop, 1995 | Anna Kindersley, Gasworks, UK


  • Just a summertime, 1997 photo essay & text | Djibril Sy, Dakar, Senegal
  • Diab’s Art Centre, Khartoum, 2006 | Taghred Elsahouri, film maker, London and Khartoum


  • At Home and Abroad, a poem, 1995 | Pitika Ntuli, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Stepping Stones, 2007 | Dr Atta Kwami, Kwame Nkrumah University, Kumasi Ghana | Download paper | Preview this paper
  • Pathways, 2006 | Professor Magdalene Odundo, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK
  • Performance & Persona, 1992-2007 | Dr Hassan Musa, Domessargues, France | Download paper | Preview paper
  • L’Homme du Sud with the artist’s statement, 2005 | Kalidou Sy, Dakar, Senegal & Bloomington, Indiana


  • Response (with reference to UNESCO Arts education: 2001 & 2006] | Professor Rachel Mason, Emerita, Roehampton University, London



  • Programme of the Symposium, 23-24 September 1995
  • List of exhibitions at SOAS during africa95 season
  • List of participants and sponsors
  • Summary of Eastern Art Report‘s Myths & Mothballs Conference to review africa’95, 1996
  • Africa’s Time: Tempestuous Temporality, review of El Tiempo de Africa, curated by Simon Njami at Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno: CAAM, Atlantic Center for Modern Art, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain; 11 December 2000 – 4 February 2001 and Sala de Exposiciones de Plaza de Espana, Madrid, Spain, 19 April – 31 May 2001.


About the Editor of Artists and Art Education  in Africa [ISBN 9781872843193]

Elsbeth Court is Associate, Centre of African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where she lectures (since 1990) on ‘African art’ for the foundation Art History course. Previously she also lectured at Birkbeck College, University of London. She worked in practical art and in formal education as a teacher and researcher during 17 years in Tanzania and Kenya before coming to the University of London for her doctoral research about picture-making in Kenya.  She served on the World Council of International Society for Education through Art: INSEA (1984-87) and on the Council of the African Studies Association, UK.

Her publications include ‘Africa on Display…’ in E Barker, ed Contemporary Cultures of Display (Yale, 1999); as joint author of the Seven Stories about modern art in Africa (Whitechapel,1995); Drawing, Research and Development (co-edited, Longmans, 1992), and numerous essays in journals and catalogues, including a catalogue essay for Peterson Kamwathi, 2011, Hazina: Traditions, Trade and Transitions in Eastern Africa (London & Nairobi, 2006). She is currently writing on modernities in Kenya and their effective kinds of art education.

Author: Editor

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