The core team as listed here engages within the project’s whole with individual research topics
Nadine Siegert is Deputy Director, Curator and Lecturer at Iwalewahaus, University of Bayreuth, Project Leader at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies and Project Leader of the Research and Exhibition Project ‘Mashup the Archive’ (funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes). She studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Mainz, where she worked in the African Music Archive until 2008. Her PhD project was on Angolan Contemporary Art Production at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies. She curated a number of exhibitions such as GhostBusters I and II (Berlin), Kiluanji Kia Henda: Portraits from a Slippery Look (Nairobi) or António Ole: Hidden Pages, Stolen Bodies (Bayreuth).
Nadine Siegert will study utopian and dystopian formulations of the future within a number of selected artworks. In particular, attention will be given to the shift from topics related to euphoria in the context of the independence of the African states towards a more negative perspective on politics and society in the 1980s, as well as the ruptures and continuities in the iconography. She will also coordinate and organize the project, supervise the accounting and facilitate continuous communication between all the project partners. She will also coordinate the editing of the publications as well as the public outreach on the digital platform and the lecture series.
Katharina Greven is a Junior Fellow at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) working on a PhD project about images created by art patrons in Africa in the Modern epoch. In 2012 she replaced the Deputy Director of Iwalewahaus during paternity leave. From 2008 to 2012 she worked as a Program Assistant at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi. She studied Free Art (focus: Photography) at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf with Thomas Ruff, Peter Doig and George Herold, became Meisterschüler in 2006, graduated with a diploma in 2007, and thereafter studied African Language Studies at the University of Bayreuth with a focus on Swahili and sociolinguistics for her master´s degree, which she completed in 2012.
A Place of Belonging – The ‘Phantasy Africa’ within the Archive of the European Art Patrons Ulli and Georgina Beier
The project deals with images sensu lato produced by the European art patron, literary critic, linguist and teacher Ulli Beier and his wife, the artist Georgina Beier, who lived in Nigeria from 1950 to 1967, and again from 1974 to 1978. Their archive includes a collection of predominantly modern art from Africa, various documents and photos, and the institutions they created in Nigeria (as well as in Papua New Guinea, Germany and Australia). It also includes mental images, imbedded in the author’s mind, and, for example, impressions, sensations, inspirations and memories, which are reflected in narrations and interviews and are also manifested in the archive as a whole. The archive shows first of all how the Beiers generated their own image of Africa developed during the time they lived in Nigeria and how they perceived their own role within the emerging art scene as well as the construction of the ‘modern artist’. However, these matters were clearly linked to the political climate in the newly independent Nigeria, to the emerging generation of postcolonial intellectuals, and to the merging of different narrations and interpretation of individual and collective histories. The archive of the Beiers is vast, not only concerning its material manifestations, but also as an organic construct, which evolved and changed throughout time, due to encounters and experiences of all the people involved. The images are fragments produced in memories, in which past and present, the self and the other converges. Connected with other images from the archive, they reveal underlying networks, which feed any archive and shape it as much as the collector her/ or himself. The excessive gathering and production of images by G. and U. Beier is not only a testimony of their artistic and political agenda, but also a testimony of their personal search for a ‘new home’: a place of belonging and existence, where they could live their phantasies and fulfill their desires.
George Kyeyune is an Associate Professor at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Makerere University. He is also the Director of the Institute of Heritage Conservation and restoration, Makerere University. In 2003, he completed his PhD in African Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he examined trends in Uganda’s Contemporary Art. George Kyeyune is also a practicing artist with several monuments in Uganda to his credit. In 2005, he became head of the department of Sculpture and in 2006, he was appointed as Dean at the Margaret Trowell School of Industry and Fine Arts. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2012-2013 and a Commonwealth Fellowship in 2013-2014.
George Kyeyune will investigate how the Makerere and Weltkulturen Museum collections have been assembled, identifying points convergence and departure. Insights into the motivation of Ugandan art in terms of its production, display and consumption will emerge. The 1990s in which much of the collection at Franfurt was acquired has a strong bearing on the Uganda’s art in the last 15 years. Kyeyune is currently investigating the recent trend of invigorated patronage for art on the private sector, government departments and Uganda’s emerging middle class and the project will enrich it and ensure its early completion. Uganda’s art in the last 15 years will constitute the last major part in his publication which examines contemporary art in Uganda.
Katrin Peters-Klaphake is curator at Makerere Art Gallery/Institute for Heritage Conservation and Restoration (IHCR) and lecturer at Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts (MTSIFA), Makerere University, Kampala. Before moving to Uganda in 2009 she served as curator for Photography at the German Historical Museum, Berlin. She is in charge of the exhibition program and care of the gallery’s art collection. Among others, she co-curated the local section of the exhibition project ‘Visionary Africa – Art at Work 2012’ in Kampala and was a founding member of the Kampala contemporary art festival KLA ART 012 in the same year. Current activities include collaboration with the History In Progress Uganda project on the documentation of the Ham Mukasa Archives for the Endangered Archives Programme by the British Library, being part of the curatorial team of the pan-African Photographer’s Portfolio Meetings, run by the Goethe Institute of South Africa in Johannesburg, and serving as a jury member for the annual Uganda Press Photo Award. Recently, she co-authored ‘Just Ask! From Africa to Zeitgeist’ (ed. by Simon Njami, Berlin 2014), a handbook style publication for photographers.
Katrin Peters-Klaphake is working on a doctoral thesis on the subject of entangled collection histories focusing on art by Ugandan artists primarily in collections of German collectors. Some of those private collections have become part of the museum collections at the Museum of World Cultures in Frankfurt/Main and Iwalewahaus, University of Bayreuth, others are still with their owners or their families. In some cases there are also links to other European collections, for example the one of Robert Loder in London. Since the archive at Makerere Art Gallery is a source collection, comparing it with the others, which in many cases drew from this source, will be a core element of the study. The research aim here is the examination of the trajectories of individual objects as well as the transition of collections, but also a questioning of the blind spots. She will retrieve and/or revisit encounters of individual agents through personal histories and memories of artists and collectors. Another import part will be an exploration of the very under-documented history of exhibition practices in Uganda and of art from Uganda abroad. Exhibitions often triggered the sale of artworks, and accompanying catalogues or reviews if existent provide some contemporary writing on individual pieces and artists as well as on the way the exhibitors framed the presentation. While exhibitions are based on selection and mediation of a narrative, collections contain a surplus and parallelism of stories and meanings. Collections as multi-facetted repositories of – at times quite diverse – objects have their own living history and can be considered as agencies in their own right. By taking the element of micro-histories on all sides into consideration, the author intends to contribute critically to art historical discourses. Herein the study of the collections in question allows for and requires a framework that argues in a perspective of multi-centred modernities and acknowledges the contingency of collections.
Smooth Nwezi-Ugochukwu was born in Nigeria, trained as a sculptor under the supervision of El Anatsui at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he earned a BA in Fine and Applied Art. He received a postgraduate diploma in the African Program in Museum and Heritage Studies from the University of Western Cape, South Africa, and a PhD in Art History from Emory University, Atlanta, USA. Nzewi is also the Curator of African Art at the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA. In addition to his parallel practices as visual artist, critic, and art historian, Nzewi has curated exhibitions in Nigeria, South Africa, United States, and Senegal. He was the curator of Dak’Art 2014 with Elise Atangana and Abdelkader Damani. He has published book chapters and catalogue essays, as well as articles and exhibition reviews in reputable art journals and magazines, including African Arts, Studio, World Art and SAVVY.
Nigerian Modernism at Iwalewahaus, 1980-Present
The key argument scholars of twentieth-Century African art modernism make is about its multiple temporal and spatial configurations, and how it encompasses global, international, transnational, cross-cultural, and disparate local contexts. As such, the term African modernism, as a singular descriptive label, may well be a misnomer. The emergence of nation-states in postcolonial Africa helped to fashion national modernisms out of the multivalent idiosyncratic sensibilities of the different cultural groupings in each of the countries. These many modernisms would evolve as the countries grappled with the vicious cycles of nation building, shifting from the promises of political independence to the nightmarish realism of the post colony. The 1980s was a decade of transition in the fields of culture and the arts as a result of changes in the economic and political fortunes in many African countries. It was also in that period that the notion of the artist as entrepreneur in the context of modern African art fully gained ground. Artists began to seek career advancements in and beyond their countries of origin. Nzewi-Ugochukwu’s research project focuses on works by Nigerian artists in the Iwalewahaus Collection. Many of them who embraced the entrepreneurial logic were artists-in-residence at Iwalewahaus in the 1980s. The research is twofold. First, Nzewi-Ugochukwu is interested in their time in Bayreuth and how the Nigerian and German contexts reflect in the works they produced. Second, he am interested in the portrait of Nigeria and Nigerian art that has emerged at Iwalewahaus as a result of the activities of these artists, their works, as well as the collecting practice of Ulli Beier and those who succeeded him from the 1980s to present.