The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Saturday, November 22, 2014


New book by UCSB art historian is the first to catalog indigenous African art owned by an African collector
Ogbechie catalogs the private collection owned by Femi Akinsanya.
SANTA BARBARA, CA.- With a new book that formalizes and interprets a collection of indigenous African art owned by an African collector, Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, a professor of history of art and architecture at UC Santa Barbara, is changing the way African art is regarded and valued.

In "Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art" (Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2012 distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.), Ogbechie catalogs the private collection owned by Femi Akinsanya. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, the collection features 740 pieces, including artworks that originated in Yoruba, Igbo, Urhobo, Cross River, Benin, and the Benue River Valley cultures of Nigeria. The book is published in English and French editions.

"There is a sense in which the idea of African art seems to be restricted to those African artworks that were taken out of the continent during the colonial period," Ogbechie explained. "When people talk about authentic African art, that's what they're referring to –– artworks that are held by Western collectors and museums. Anything that's owned or held by Africans themselves is considered to be a fake."

According to Ogbechie, the protocols of authenticating artworks as original have less to do with the history of the works in their indigenous contexts, than with their provenance –– the documentation of the works after they have become part of a collection. Publishing a book like "Making History" is the first step in elevating African artworks held by African collectors from generic objects to works of art that have measurable economic value.

"Someone in Africa could have a piece that belonged to a society that used it as an object of initiation. It has indigenous value, but until it becomes part of someone's collection, it has no financial value," Ogbechie continued. "The collector is important to the process of creating value."

Creating that value can be something of a catch-22. The value is very much based on where the African artworks have been published and exhibited, but museums are disinclined to show artworks from African-owned collections because they have no provenance. They haven't been exhibited in any Western museums. "Even if I can trace the history of an artwork with absolute certainty, the museums will refuse to show it because there is no evidence of it having been previously exhibited elsewhere," Ogbechie said. "But if I sell it to a white collector and then he publishes it in a book like ‘Making History,' a few years later it's worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Ogbechie sees this issue as part of a broad international process that essentially makes anything that has to do with Africans or blacks valueless in the global market; and the equity value of African cultural production goes to white collectors. "Not a dime of that money goes to the original African owner, or to the descendants of the original producers of the object."

The book is important in terms of the fact that it redirects the way African art is perceived, Ogbechie noted. "The photographer is the best in Lagos, the collection is in Nigeria, and the book was printed in Milan," he said. "Everything about it has been done to defeat the idea that Africans are not interested in their own cultural heritage, and that an African artwork doesn't have value until it is exported or held in a Western collection or in a Western museum."

A specialist in classical, modern, and contemporary African and African Diaspora arts, Ogbechie is also the author of the book, "Ben Enwonwu: The Making of an African Modernist." Recipient of the 2009 Melville Herskovits Prize for the best scholarly publication in African Studies, it is the first significant biography published about the modern African artist who produced a sculpture for Queen Elizabeth II, and whose artworks have been exhibited alongside those of Pablo Picasso and other prominent modernists.

Ogbechie, who came to UCSB in 2001, received his master's degree from the University of Nigeria and his doctoral degree from Northwestern University. His research evaluates alternative modernities, and the colonial and postcolonial conventions of representation in the arts and visual cultures of African and African Diaspora peoples. Ogbechie is also founder and director of Aachron Knowledge Systems, through which he investigates the equity value of African art in the global context. His articles and reviews have appeared in African Arts, Arts Journal, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Revue Noire, Ijele, Farafina, and several important art history anthologies.





Today's News

February 14, 2012

First Marc Chagall retrospective ever held in Spain opens at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Monet in Giverny: Landscapes of Reflection opens at the Cincinnati Art Museum

President Barack Obama honors achievements and contributions in arts, humanities

More than four hundred years of Ottoman art to be presented at Sotheby's sale

Charles Burchfield: Landscapes 1916-1962 on view at DC Moore Gallery in New York

me Collection in Berlin presents the exhibition Gerhard Richter: Editions 1965-2011

Indian and Islamic works of art from private collections of Mughal scholar Dr. Linda Leach for sale at Bonhams

Paintings and Drawings from a private collection of John Piper's Mountains of Wales at National Museum Cardiff

On Valentine's day, the Museum of Broken Relationships expects visits to almost double

Elvgren, Rockwell and Leyendecker among luminous names in Heritage Auctions illustration art event

Art Dubai Projects to feature over 40 international and United Arab Emirates-based artists

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to make Jackie Kennedy's papers public

Testimonios: Works by largely self-taught artists color the galleries at El Museo

Four artists explore how parts make up the whole in "Fragmented" at the Hunterdon Art Museum

New book by UCSB art historian is the first to catalog indigenous African art owned by an African collector

A new vision: Modernist photography on view at the Currier Museum of Art

"The Execution of Maximilian: Border Paintings" by G.T. Pellizzi and Ray Smith at Y Gallery

New Orleans Museum of Art appoints new Director of Interpretation and Audience Engagement

San Antonio Museums receive gifts from the Estate of Frances and Louis Wagner

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Greece holds breath as skeleton found in Alexander the Great-era tomb at Amphipolis

2.- Spain mourns the death of art collector Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba

3.- Meet the ancestors: Exhibition at Bordeaux gallery reveals faces of prehistoric humans

4.- Getty Foundation and partners launch free of charge online art collection catalogues

5.- Historic photos of dead Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara resurface in small Spanish town

6.- Exhibition showcases the first two 'Poesie' created by Titian following their restoration

7.- O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

8.- Crystal Bridges announces the departure of museum President Don Bacigalupi

9.- artnet Auctions offers a later example of Yayoi Kusama's important Infinity-Nets series

10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site