Conferences

The Question of “Africanness” and the Expanded Field of Sculpture (part two) – Symposium

Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Online
29 Oct 2022

Melvin Edwards, Homage to Coco, 1970. Painted steel and chain. 48 x 96 x 120 in. Installation view, Public Art Fund, City Hall Park, New York, 2021. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. © 2022 Melvin Edwards / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Melvin Edwards, Homage to Coco, 1970. Painted steel and chain. 48 x 96 x 120 in. Installation view, Public Art Fund, City Hall Park, New York, 2021. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. © 2022 Melvin Edwards / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Join IDSVA and the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria on October 29, 2022 at 11am EDT / 5pm SAST. Zoom link here. Featuring presentations by Melvin Edwards (USA) and Curlee R. Holton (USA). Moderated by Prof George Smith (USA)

This talk continues from part one, where artists and academics Olu Oguibe and Johan Thom revealed Africanness as a productive site from which the expanded field of sculpture continues to spread its light across many cultures. Already in 1993 in the essay The Heart of Darkness, Olu Oguibe had insisted that “to discuss the ‘problems’ of modernity and modernism in Africa is simply to buy into existing structures of reference which not only peculiarize modernity in Africa but also forebode crisis.” Oguibe then proceeded to show us just how much light emanates from the ever-expanding field of contemporary sculpture via its encounter with Africanness. By way of the poetic expression of Africanness, as it might manifest itself in sculptural performativity, Thom showed what might exist beyond the limits of philosophical language and gave us a glimpse of the sculptural field’s infinite meaning in the visual form of a pendular brick.

In part 2, the question of Africanness will be discussed from a diasporic perspective. American sculptor Melvin Edwards will join the American master printmaker Curlee Holton. Holton serves as the Director of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland. Edwards resides in the US and in Dakar, Senegal. Over the past several decades, Edwards has collected the junkyard detritus of the military-industrial complex and transformed these disconnected and discarded emblems of technological dominance and racial oppression into prophetic expressions of the human spirit. In doing so, Edwards takes the field of sculpture deep into the African diaspora’s traumatic past. Distinguished American printmaker, artist, and poet Curlee Holton came to the David Driskell Center by way of his longstanding working relationship with his close friend, David Driskell. Under Holton’s leadership, the Driskell Center has come into its own as a site wherein the expanded field of sculpture represents endless possibilities. This development is particularly apparent in the commission of Mel Edwards as the sculptor to design the David Driskell Memorial.

Gabi Ngcobo, renowned Curatorial Director of the Javett-UP Art Centre, will conduct the welcome and introductions. George Smith, Edgar E. Coons, Jr. Professor of New Philosophy and founder and president of IDSVA, will serve as moderator.

 

idsva.edu

 


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