206 Chapters
Medium 9780253348920

3. Colonial Rupture and Innovation: The Colonizer as Inadvertent Patron

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir Indiana University Press ePub

3

COLONIAL RUPTURE AND INNOVATION: THE COLONIZER AS INADVERTENT PATRON

Narrating warriorhood in early colonial Kenya and Nigeria invoked parallel stories of what the British referred to as “spear-blooding” and “headhunting.” In both situations, the British colonial administration directly intervened to contain (in Samburu) or suppress (in Idoma) a cultural practice that seemed to flagrantly undermine what the colonizers saw as their civilizing mission. I now take up the backstory, which is about the spears and the heads and their own subsequent transformations, for what they reveal about the capacity of colonialism to affect artisanal practice. Far from suppressing the inventiveness or creativity of blacksmiths and woodcarvers, colonial interventions unintentionally stimulated it. Quite simply, while literary representations and informal discourse both reflected and influenced colonial policy, those policies often misfired, and what began as an attempt to coerce or control was either impossible to implement or contained internal spaces and contradictions that allowed unintended and unforeseen results to emerge. This was the case for both the Samburu spear ban and the banning of Idoma war dances that used skulls.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253340481

Chapter Twelve What, How, and When: On My Art and Myself

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9781574412208

CHAPTER ONE: An Introduction

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF

AN INTRODUCTION

3

The practice of segregation extended to the creative arts communities as well.

Negroes were permitted entrance to art museums on only one day of the week, usually Thursday. Black people were allowed to sit only in the back of the movie theatres or in the balcony. Few serious dramatic roles were available for black actors and actresses. Great Negro musicians were often submitted to the indignities of segregation as they toured the country. Despite the fact that there were talented and skilled black artists, recognition and therefore financial success were commonly denied the visual artist of color. It was as though the black people of the

United States were, as Ralph Ellison said, nearly invisible.

So when young John Biggers entered college at Hampton Institute, Hampton,

Virginia, in 1941, he registered with the intention of learning a practical trade, such as plumbing. But a visionary teacher opened the doors of possibility to this gifted young man. John Biggers left that institution in 1946 as a deeply committed artist, knowing that his calling would be to tell the honest story of the Negro in

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253011596

2: Munich Drawing School December 1881–Fall 1883

Rachel Berenson Perry Indiana University Press ePub

December 1881–Fall 1883

Author's note: During his years in Germany, William Forsyth wrote many letters to his patron, Tom Hibben, and to his family. Quotes from Forsyth's handwritten letters use his wording, but I've taken the liberty of altering his punctuation to improve clarity.

WITH STEELE'S ADVICE ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM budgets to the best travel routes, William Forsyth prepared to make his ocean voyage at the end of 1881. But because he could not help but worry about nearly everything, it could not have been reassuring for him to hear from Steele the previous April that “the school has never been so full as now and there is difficulty in getting in after the session has commenced. There have been several Englishmen here for several months waiting for a place to be vacant.” Other Academy news about the difficulty of getting into the painting classes followed: “This is Friday and has been an anxious day to many of the students who have made application to pass to higher classes. A great many have applications and the Secretary's room was crowded with their drawings. Today these are being examined by the Professors. The upper classes are so full that perhaps half of those applying from the Antique [drawing class] will be compelled to stay there. The probability is that they can do so to advantage for there are a great many dummies in [this] school as well as men of artistic talent.”1

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253007438

8 · Lusinga’s Lasting Laughs

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

“A thing itself is a person or pertains to a person” [and] this intimate conjunction of person and things . . . establishes . . . an “irrevocable link” between their donors and recipients, a link with an onerous burden which can even make a gift “dangerous to accept.”

—BRAD WEISS, “FORGETTING YOUR DEAD,” CITING MARCEL MAUSSS THE GIFT

The continuing “life” of the “Lusinga” figure as it stood on Storms’s mantelpiece raises “what if” questions: if the sculpture had remained in Lusinga’s hands—supposing, of course, that the “sanguinary potentate” had managed to hold on to his head—what might it have represented to and, more significantly, done for the chief and his people? Asking now does reverse the ordinary order of things, since locally defined efficacies and purposes obviously preceded Bwana Boma’s seizure of the figure; but if he was aware of these at all, Storms understood such capacities and practices through his own culture and as a function of his own political agenda. Here we shall engage another archaeology of knowledge based upon archival materials and exegeses from Tabwa of the 1970s. Among people then living in and around Lubanda, overt use of sculpture had long been curtailed because of intense pressure from Catholic missionaries. Material manifestations of spirit and agency remained important nonetheless, however clandestine the praxis was compared to overt ways that sculpture was used in the days of Swift-of-Foot and Bwana Boma.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters