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Between Lagos and Calabar: Art, Nation and Post-Traditionalism in early twentieth century Nigeria

Gassmann De Sousa, Bea; (2023) Between Lagos and Calabar: Art, Nation and Post-Traditionalism in early twentieth century Nigeria. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Taking a critical view of the dominance of postcolonial studies, this thesis re-considers Nigerian early 20th century art practices through the generative framework of African Renaissances as well as contemporary theories. Nigeri-an art before Independence is part of a productive African-centred and anti-colonial phase of modernisation. The visual and semiotic analysis of single Nigerian artworks, including a photograph of the captured King of Benin by Jonathan Adagogo Green from 1897, two naturalist portrait paintings from the 1920s by Aina Onabolu and two still lifes by Ben Enwonwu from 1948 and 1957 are shown to demon-strate the revival of Nigerian epistemologies. Additionally the private ar-chives of the artists provide access to previously unknown networks and sub-jective approaches. Nigerian art modernises concurrently with European modernism, which it does not mimic. Instead it evolves as a complementary negotiation of recon-figured Nigerian traditions and re-contextualised fragments derived from European traditions and techniques. In a global historical context each of the artists’ practices decolonises the Eurocentric invention of Africans.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Between Lagos and Calabar: Art, Nation and Post-Traditionalism in early twentieth century Nigeria
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Nigerian art, African Renaissance, Africanicity, self-determination, Aina Onabolu, Ben Enwonwu, Jonathan Adagogo Green, Post-Traditionalism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167005
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