n De Arte - African art and agency in the workshop, Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Till Förster (Eds.) : book review

Volume 2014, Issue 90
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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This recently published anthology grew out of papers presented at a double panel at the Arts Council of the African Studies Association's Triennial Symposium on African Art, held at the University of Florida in April 2007. In the intervening years, seven other scholars contributed essays, resulting in a broad-based examination of the central role workshops have played in the development of art on the African continent. The scholarship in the sixteen essays is uniformly outstanding, resulting from rigorous, field-based research. The individual, empirical case studies are organised into four topics, which in total provide an historical perspective of workshop production spanning eras from pre-colonialism to neoliberal globalism. Cumulatively, the essays broaden conventional ideas about workshops by placing them in changing social and political contexts, and the anthology is invaluable in this respect. However, the term 'workshop' and the associated concept of training by apprenticeship remain intact, even though one might argue that they have become increasingly anachronistic.

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