Recent approaches to African contemporary art often celebrate the advent of a global contemporary art scene in which they see an abolition of the provincialist and historicist concepts that were imposed by the West during the colonial period. One assumes that by taking part in new and post-historical/ post-national networks of exchange, facilitated by large-scale international exhibitions, biennials and fairs, artists can express themselves more truly as they are no longer doomed to wrestle with the notions of the pre-colonial/ colonial; to be measured against Western art-historical paradigms, or to be defined via enduring fictions about their own parochialism.
This issue of Seismopolite aims to assess the validity of this perspective and to further inquire into the possibilities and limitations pertaining to the global contemporary art scene in terms of addressing political issues in, and rewriting the history and future of African societies (as well as African art history) in a consequential way through art.
In particular we wish to shed a critical light on how the contemporary art economy influences the political agency and interaction of artistic expression in African societies, and reversely, how African art, although it may be free to address political issues, can retain or represent such a political agency once it has become part of the global contemporary.
Contributors from diverse disciplinary backgrounds are invited to submit essays, exhibition reviews or interviews that address the theme “The politics of African contemporary art” through a high variety of possible angles.
Topics may include, but are not restricted to:
- The role of art and artists in the rewriting of (art) history and political geography.
- The development of international contemporary art venues/ festivals/ biennials in African countries, and their impact on the societal function and meaning of art in these contexts.
- The agency and potential of art to stimulate new future trajectories in precarious socio-political situations.
- Political activism and post-colonial consciousness in art and art communities under colonial rule.
- The relationship between cultural politics/ geopolitics and international contemporary art venues/ festivals/ biennials in African countries.
- Changes to the role and the economy of the artist in African societies.
- Processes of translation in the global mediation of African contemporary art.
- Aesthetics and politics of art in ‘African diaspora’.
We accept submissions continuously, but to make sure you are considered for the upcoming issue, please send your proposal, CV and samples of earlier work to firstname.lastname@example.org within February 20, 2013. Completed work will be due March 8, 2013. Commissioned works will be translated into Norwegian and published in a bilingual version.
Seismopolite Journal of Art and Politics is a bilingual English and Norwegian quarterly, which investigates the possibilities of artists and art scenes worldwide to reflect and influence their local political situation.
Current issue: www.seismopolite.com
Previous issues: www.seismopolite.com/artandpolitics