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Afro-Modernity

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Lise W.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Review
  3. Conclusion

Berger defined photography as ?a way of seeing.? A photographer's ?lens? represents their way of seeing. An image that is circulated amongst communities that produces a communal way of seeing. Thus, representations of groups of people have come to lie in the hands of those with the economic power to control ?ways of seeing.? In Western culture, there are constant images of Africa as being a poor, undeveloped, and ?savage? nation. We are bombarded by images of ?crisis? and dangers that are occurring in Africa, thus, producing the crisis imagery that represents Africa as a nation. In order to take ownership of the representation of Africa as a nation, artists and curators must question ownership and the relationship between ownership and the art. Those that control the money essential own and control the representation. Funding for photography is usually distributed based on the requirements the funder establishes for the photographers. For artists and curators to take ownership they must take ownership of the capital that is funding the artistic projects in Africa. The funding behind photography controls what and whose images are circulated. By controlling the economic stimulus that funds photographic work in Africa, the aesthetic values of images are protected and authorship is maintained. Okwui Enwezor is a curator of Nigerian descent whose exhibit confronts the Western representations of Africa by giving a real depiction of what is ?African photography.? The catalogue essay named Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography sets out the goal to rid of the ?Afro-pessimism? that exists in the world.

?Afro-pessimism? is the crisis imagery that is circulated in media about Africa today. Enwezor is one of many curators and artists that engage in altering the current images of Africa throughout the world. In the age of modernity, Africa has found a way to redefine modernity. Afro-modernity has become a way that Africa represents itself as a modern city, while celebrating and remembering its past. Whether it is through exhibits, showcases, or discussions both curators and artists are forcing the globe to recreate Africa's image as being both modern and African.

[...] Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 6. Hugo, Pieter. 2011. Interview conducted with the artist by Ruti Talmor. 7. Jewsiewicki, Bogumil. 2010. The Beautiful Time: Photography by Sammy Baloji. New York: Museum of African Art. 8. Mekuria, Salem. 2011. Interview conducted with the artist by Ruti Talmor. 9. Mlangeni, Sabelo. 2011. Interview conducted with the artist by Ruti Talmor. 10. Mwangi, Ingrid. 2011. Interview conducted with the artist by Ruti Talmor. 11. Tillim, Guy. 2011. Interview conducted with the artist by Ruti Talmor. [...]


[...] What does being modern mean for Africa? What does the outside world's perception of modernism to be conceived as in Africa? These questions are pertinent in confronting representations of Africa in the contemporary age of photography. Fela Kuti created a way of as Akomfrah says ?blurring the distinction between arts and politics, creative and work.? This allows for African modernity to be redefined in a new way through curatorial practices. Awam Amkpa is another curator that wrote a paper called Representations and Citizenships Search for Publics and Commons in Contemporary Africa. [...]

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