Final Symposium: Mining Collections

Mining Collections FINAL small

Friday 29th of June – Saturday 30th of June 2018

Some configurations of African Modernisms in institutional collections

This final public symposium brings together the international researchers of the project African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic. Since 2016, they have been engaged with three collections of African modernism: the Makerere Art Gallery / IHCR, Makerere University in Kampala, the Weltkulturenmuseum in Frankfurt a.M. and the Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth University. The different research topics are very diverse and span from an in-depth engagement with singular artworks to broader questions about collecting art for public collections.

The team of this research project is composed of experienced and young professionals in art history, visual studies, curatorial studies, museology, archival studies and anthropology as well as artists. Hailing from Germany, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Great Britain and the US they came together to examine notions and configurations of African modernism and modernity in a trans- and interdisciplinary frame, starting from the three art collections. Marked by the collectors Ulli Beier and Jochen Schneider, the main focus of the collections at Iwalewahaus and the Weltkulturen Museum is on artworks from Nigeria and Uganda respectively. Schneider acquired the bigger part of his collection directly from the Makerere art school and gallery environment. Beier started to collect modern Nigerian art while living in Nigeria in the 1960s. His collection forms the core of today’s Iwalewahaus Collection. The individual (hi)stories and contents of the three collections are suitable as objects of research in order to understand collector’s motivations and strategies but also the role of institutions in the formation of the modern canon. In addition, their complex connections have to be part of the revisiting. Hereby, the focus lies also on the artworks themselves and the collections understood as structures and networks.

The research was accompanied by an extended programme of internal and public workshops, for instance the public symposium “(Hi)Stories of Exhibition Making / 1960-1990” at the National Museum in Kampala during the Kampala Art Biennale 2016, a lecture series organised by the BIGSAS workgroup “Aesthetics” at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth with speakers like Salah Hassan (Cornell University, Ithaca) Atta Kwami (Kumasi, Ghana), Smooth Nwezi-Ugochukwu (Cleveland Museum, Ohio), Raphael Chikukwa (National Gallery of Zimbabwe), Elsbeth Court (SOAS London) as well as panels and paper presentations at international conferences (among others ECAS in Basel, ACASA in Accra). Another highlight is the exhibition “Feedback – Art, Africa and the Eighties” that is currently on display at Iwalewahaus. The research will eventually be disseminated in a number of publications in books and peer-reviewed journals as well as doctoral dissertations.

In the context of the symposium, the first results of the research project will be publicly discussed. From different perspectives, the three art collections have been investigated by the international researchers. The collection practises have been in the centre of attention: who collected what and when? How can we contextualize these practises? How did they contribute to the constitution of a canon of African Modernism? What can we learn for collection and exhibition practises of today?

The symposium brings together experts to give possible answers to these questions in different formats – lectures, conversations and Icon Lab Session.

Next to the presentations of the core team members Katharina Greven (Iwalewahaus); George Kyeyune (Makerere Art Gallery / Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration, Kampala); Katrin Peters-Klaphake (Makerere Art Gallery/IHCR and Iwalewahaus); Yvette Mutumba (Contemporary And, Berlin) and Nadine Siegert (Iwalewahaus) we are very happy to welcome our international advisory board members Chika Okeke-Agulu (Princeton University, New Jersey), Rowland Abiodun (Amherst College, Massachusetts), Elsbeth Court (SOAS, London) and Salah Hassan (Cornell University, Ithaca) and the guest researchers Julia Friedel (Weltkulturen Museum Frankfurt/Main), Bea Gassmann de Sousa (Agency Gallery, London), Angelo Kakande (Makerere University, Kampala), Bärbel Küster (Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Zürich), Ijeoma Uche-Okeke (Uche Okeke Foundation, Johannesburg), Polly Savage (SOAS, London) and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa (University of Bergen). The junior researchers Lena Naumann (Iwalewahaus) und Siegrun Salmanian (DAAD, University of Khartoum) will also present their first research steps.

We are also very glad to welcome Ibrahim El Salahi as our Guest of Honour. Some of his early works are part of the Iwalewahaus collection and he has already been a guest of Iwalewahaus in the 1980s.

The project is hosted by Iwalewahaus, University of Bayreuth and sponsored within the program “Forschung in Museen” (research in museums) by VolkswagenStiftung. The conference is generously supported by BIGSAS and the Institute of African Studies (IAS), both University of Bayreuth.

Please register here if you are interested in attending the symposium:

You can find the detailed program here.

Symposium African Modernisms

Public Program

Friday, 29.06.2018

9:00 h Coffee and registration

9:30 h Welcome Notes

10:15 – 11:45 h: Panel I
Moderation: Fabian Lehmann

  1. Rowland Abiodun: “A River that forgets its source will dry up”: In Search of the Source of “Modernism” in African Art
  2. Bea Gassman de Sousa: What Ulli Beier loves: On collecting and (self-)perception
  3. Katharina Greven: Longing for a ‘Home’ – The Phantasy Africa of the Art Patrons Ulli and Georgina Beier within their archive
  4. Nadine Siegert: Politicizing Collections: Modern African Art in the Cold War Context

11:45 – 12:15 h: Coffee/Tea break

12:15 – 13:00 h: Tour through the Iwalewahaus collection

13:00 – 14:00 h: Lunch Break

14:00 h – 15:30 h: Panel II
Moderation: George Kyeyune

  1. Julia Friedel: Unknown Aspects in the Collection of Contemporary Art at the Weltkulturen Museum
  2. Yvette Mutumba: Two-week Research at Makerere Art Gallery
  3. Katrin Peters-Klaphake: Can a collection speak?
  4. Angelo Kakande: ‘Schneider’s Collection in Germany’: Overlapping interests, shared experiences, visually productive negotiations

15:30 h – 16:00 h: Coffee/Tea break

16:00 h – 17: 15 h: Panel III
Moderation: Katrin Peters-Klaphake

  1. Elsbeth Court: ‘Feedback’ with Jak (Katarikawe)
  2. Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa: How the discourse of free expression figures in the foundational narratives of art education in Nigeria and the Ugandan Protectorate (Working title).
  3. Bärbel Küster: Slade as a Facilitator of African Modernity
  4. Atta Kwami: Ghana Art Worlds – A Chronology for the Emergence of Modern Art in Ghana (Text)

17:15 h: Guided tour Feedback exhibitio

Saturday, 30.06.2018

9:00 h -10:30 h: Panel IV
Moderation: Siegrun Salmanian

  1. Lena Naumann: From „Devil’s Dog” to the Flying Tortoise – towards a Phd project
  2. Chika Okeke-Agulu: Printmaking and the Nsukka School
  3. Ijeoma Okeke: What kind of Work would be pertinent to Natural Synthesis in the 21st. Century?
  4. Iheanyi Onwuegbucha: From Agony to Ecstasy: Finding Colette Omogbai

10:30 h – 11:00 h: Coffee/Tea break

11:00 h – 12:30 h: Panel V
Moderation: Katharina Greven

  1. Salah Hassan: Cracks in the Colonial Wall: Western expatriate and the Khartoum School
  2. Siegrun Salmanian: Recollected: The “Sudanese” artworks
  3. Polly Savage: Rethinking Malangatan
  4. George Kyeyune:‘New Conversations’ – New Strands in Art

12:30 h -14:00 h: Lunchbreak

14.30 h – 16:00 h: Final plenary discussion on achievements and prospects
Moderation: Nadine Siegert

16:30 h – 18:00 h: Icon Lab
Moderation: Lena Naumann and Siegrun Salmanian

Project Manager:

Nadine Siegert, Iwalewahaus, Universität Bayreuth,, 0921-554503

Symposium Organisation:

Katrin Peters-Klaphake, Iwalewahaus, Universität Bayreuth

Katharina Greven, Iwalewahaus, Universität Bayreuth,

Press Contact:

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