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The ’Local’ Afropolitan: New Geographies in Contemporary African Art

Ruth Simbao

24 Jun 2010 - 18:30

Auditorium 2

Free admission

Contemporary art of Africa and the African diaspora is often steered by European and American artworlds that emphasise a unidirectional leaning towards the ‘North’. This presentation reframes the geo-spatial politics of the contemporary artworld, by positing the ‘South’ as a nexus of ‘local’ cosmopolitanisms and intra-continental movements and diasporas. 

Through an exploration of site-specificity, it seeks new ways of discussing ‘locale’ in a contemporary moment of globalisation and deterritorialisation. It focuses on contemporary art of Zambia and South Africa, and unpacks the expected ‘authenticity’ and resultant xenophobia of a post-national context of ‘exilic nation-building’.

Ruth Simbao is Associate Professor in African Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University, South Africa. She has a PhD from Harvard University and is the recipient of the Rhodes University Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award (2009). She has published in various journals, including African Arts, Art South Africa, Third Text, Parachute, Fuse, Mix and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art.