Saturday, March 10, 2018

David Adjaye's New National Cathedral in Accra, Ghana

David Adjaye, National Cathedral, Accra

The Ghanaian David Adjaye, arguably the most exciting architect working today, has revealed his plan for the National Cathedral, Accra. From the look of the renderings, this promises to be one hell of a church building. My first thought, on seeing the drawings, is polyphonic song. In any case, there are many reasons why this project has far-reaching implications. It signals a new dawn for architecture in West Africa, a region that is largely bereft of any truly significant architectural landmark, despite that their governments have on occasion spent humongous amounts of money on building projects. Don't even let me start on the sad case of Abuja...This is hoping that this will be one of many public buildings designed by Sir David and other architects of note from the region and beyond...
Oh, yesterday, I saw a few Nigerian facebook critics bellyaching about the Accra project, saying in sum that it makes no sense to spend a good chunk on a religious building, when such resources could be spent on research educational and medical institutions. Someone claimed money for the cathedral is borrowed from China. My take? Cheap, easy, predictable argument. But I wonder if these folks confuse Ghana for Nigeria. The fact that Nigeria is bumbling along, riven by one religious or ethnic crisis after another, fueled by feral corruption in the highest and lowliest of places, does not mean that all of Africa is afflicted equally by such malaise. Nor is Ghana infested to the same level as Nigeria by the plague of new-age pentecostalism and megapastormania. Ghana is truly rising; you see it in the attitude of its people and its governing class.
David Adjaye, Slavery Museum, Cape Coast

And it is building secular and yes religious projects. The same Sir David designed the National Museum on Slavery and Freedom in Cape Coast and Ghanaian educational institutions are not as shabby as their Nigerian peers--or else why are Nigerian wealthy class sending their children there? So, these Nigerian social media critics should face their sorry country and leave Ghana to dream big and soar and build and consolidate the socio-political and economic gains it has continued to make since the past two decades or so.

Read about the Accra project here

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Postdoctoral Research Associate in African Humanities @ Princeton

Princeton University
The Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), in collaboration with the Departments of African American Studies (DAAS) and English at Princeton University invites applications for a postdoctoral research associate position (up to 3 years beyond the Ph.D.) or an associate research scholar position (more than 3 years beyond the Ph.D.) for the 2018-19 year (beginning September 1, 2018) from scholars working in any field of the humanities dealing with Africa or the African diaspora. Consideration will be given to candidates working in all disciplines in the humanities broadly defined, including anthropology, art and archeology, comparative literature, English, film and video history, literatures in other languages, music, philosophy, religion, and women and gender studies. Initial appointment is for one year with possibility of renewal for a second year pending satisfactory performance and continued funding. 
The successful candidate will be involved in the organization and activities of the African Humanities Colloquium and may teach one course per year if mutually agreed, with sufficient course enrollments, and with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty. When teaching, the candidate would hold the additional title of Lecturer. Eligible candidates must have completed the Ph.D. by the start of the appointment. The research associate or associate research scholar will also receive a competitive salary commensurate with the candidate's experience, modest research and travel fund, and will be eligible for University benefits. To apply, please link to
Applications should include: 
(1) cover letter with title and summary (200 words) of proposed research project; 
(2) research proposal (five pages; 2,000 words), including detailed description of project, timetable, and explicit goals;
(3) selected bibliography;
(4) curriculum vitae and list of publications; 
(5) sample chapter of the dissertation or other recent work;
(6) a suggested syllabus for a course; and 
(7) three references from individuals who are not current members of the Princeton University faculty.
Application Deadline: January 31, 2018, 11:59 p.m. EST. Awards will be announced by March 31, 2018. This position is subject to the University's background check policy. Questions about the application process for this position may be directed to Tim Waldron at

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Who has seen this El Anatsui work?

El Anatsui, Lace and Kente, 1993

I am seeking information about the location of this work by El Anatsui. If anyone knows, please, please, let me know. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Assistant or Associate Professor position in African and African Diaspora Art & Visual Culture, Queens University

The Department of Art History and Art Conservation in the Faculty of Arts and Science, in conjunction with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC), at Queen’s University, invites applications for a Queen's National Scholar (QNS) position at the rank of Associate or Assistant Professor with a specialization in the   Arts and Visual Culture of Africa and/or its Diaspora (historical or contemporary). This is a tenured or tenure-­‐track position with a preferred start date of July 1, 2018.  Further information on the Queen’s National Scholar Program can be found on the website of the Office of the Vice-­‐Principal (Research).

Open to scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, preference will be given to established candidates who have as a primary field African and/or African Diaspora arts and visual culture, and a secondary strength in curatorial or museum studies. The successful candidate will have a record of scholarly research and publication; an interest in theoretical or contextual approaches such as Black studies, critical race studies, and/or critical museology; a record of collaborative or community-­‐based scholarship and a demonstrated capacity for experiential teaching and learning; and a record of successful curatorial projects. Appointees will teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels, participate
in graduate supervision at the MA and PhD levels across the university, and fulfill a curatorial role at the AEAC, which holds an outstanding collection of Central and West African art from the late 19th to the mid-20th    century.   

This position complements and extends existing research and teaching strengths in the study of art and visual cultures within the Department of Art History and Art Conservation. The successful candidate will establish new, as well as expand current research networks, work collaboratively across departments, and advance the impact of Queen’s research and collections nationally and internationally. At the AEAC, the successful candidate will contribute towards exhibition and collections development, including modern and contemporary arts of Africa and its diaspora, research and programming, and lead student learning experiences including internships, gallery-­‐focused seminars, and practica.

Candidates should have a PhD or equivalent degree completed at the start date of the appointment. The successful candidate will provide evidence of high-quality scholarly output that demonstrates potential for independent research leading to peer assessed publications and the securing of external research funding, as well as strong potential for outstanding teaching contributions, and an ongoing commitment to academic and pedagogical excellence in support of the department’s programs. Candidates must provide evidence of an ability to work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary and student-­‐centered environment. The successful candidate will be required to make substantive contributions through service to the department, the Faculty, the University, and/or the broader community including the AEAC. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. This position is subject to final budgetary approval by the University.

The Queen’s National Scholar Program expects that the successful candidate will demonstrate their ability to provide a rich and rewarding learning experience to all their students, and to develop a research program that aligns well with the University’s priorities. Further information on teaching and research priorities at Queen’s is available in the Queen’s Academic Plan and the Queen’s Strategic Research Plan.

The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ persons. All qualified candidates are encouraged

to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

To comply with federal laws, the University is obliged to gather statistical information as to how many applicants for each job vacancy are Canadian citizens / permanent residents of Canada. Applicants need not identify their country of origin or citizenship; however, all applications must include one of the following statements: “I am a Canadian citizen / permanent resident of Canada”; OR, “I am not a Canadian citizen / permanent resident of Canada”. Applications that do not include this information will be deemed incomplete.

A complete application consists of:

  •  a cover letter (including one of the two statements regarding Canadian citizenship / permanent resident status specified in the previous paragraph);
  • a current Curriculum Vitae (including a list of publications);
  • a statement of research interest; 
  • a statement of teaching interests and experience (including teaching outlines and evaluations if available); and,
  •  three letters of reference to be sent directly by the referees to Professor Joan M. Schwartz, Department Head at the address below.
The deadline for applications is January 8, 2018. Applicants are encouraged to send all documents in their application packages electronically as PDFs to Professor Joan M. Schwartz at, although hard copy applications may be submitted to:

Joan M. Schwartz, PhD, FRSC Professor and Head
Department of Art History and Art Conservation
Ontario Hall 318C
67 University Avenue
Queen’s University Kingston,
 Ontario CANADA K7L 3N6

The University will provide support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant’s accessibility needs. If you require accommodation during the interview process, please contact Diane Platt in The Department of Art History and Art Conservation, at

Academic staff at Queen’s University are governed by a  Collective Agreement between the University and the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA), which is posted at and at

Appointments are subject to review and final approval by the Principal. Candidates holding an existing tenure-­‐track or continuing-­‐adjunct appointment at Queen’s will not be considered.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Christopher Okonkwo's Princeton Lecture:"Why the ‘Achebe’ Gap in Toni Morrison Studies", Nov. 16, 2017

Christopher Okonkwo, University of Missouri-Columbia
4:30PM TO 6:00PM
In this lecture, Dr. Okonkwo contemplates the premise that much of the scholarship on Toni Morrison continues to operate as though it has never heard of Chinua Achebe or the extraordinarily complimentary things Morrison has said about him relative to her own work and thought.
Dr. Christopher Okonkwo is an Associate Professor of English with tenure and a doctoral faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His major fields of research and teaching are 20th through 21st century African American literature and culture, African literature in English, and post-colonial and modernist theories.  Professor Okonkwo’s first book, A Spirit of Dialogue: Incarnations of Ợgbañje, the Born-to-Die, in African American Literature, was published by the University of Tennessee Press. In his review, Ernest Emenyonu describes this study as “the first of its kind in terms of in-depth focus, profundity of research, and resplendent analysis of targeted African mythology in contemporary African American literature." Dr. Okonkwo’s essays have appeared in Callaloo, Research in African Literatures, African American Review, CLA Journal, African Literature Today, MELUS, and Contemporary Literary Criticism. He is completing a second book titled Kindred Spirits: Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Photos of the new Louvre Abu Dhabi

Here are photos of the new Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, and some installation shots from the permanent collection. I hope to find some time for comments on both the building and the collection. If not, just simply enjoy the images!

Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi, at night
All photos copyright, Chika Okeke-Agulu 

The Forum with showers of light

Forum with Guiseppe Penone bronze tree, Leaves of Light (2016)

Jenny Holzer's work (L): walls carved with manuscripts of Montaigne

Semi-outdoor performance stage overlooking the harbour

Forum with Guiseppe Penone bronze tree, Leaves of Light (2016)

"Grand Vestibule" of the Permanent Collection galleries

"Figures in Prayer" from Syria (2500-2400BCE), Gabon (1800-1900CE),
and Greece (2700-2300 BCE), in the Grand Vestibule  

Graeco-Roman, Nok, and Maya heads in the "Civilizations and
Empires" gallery

Benin bass sculptures in the "Magnificence of the Court" gallery

Sculpture cabinet in the "A Modern World?" gallery

Duchamp Bottle Rack (1959) and Kongo Power Figure, in the
"Challenging Modernity" gallery

"The Global Stage" gallery, with Ai Wei-Wei's Fountain of Light, 2016

Lucinda Childs Dance Company performance, Nov. 10, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Northwestern University seeks Full or Associate Professor of African Art History!

African Art History  – Associate / Full Professor

The Program of African Studies and the Department of Art History at Northwestern University invite applications for full-time associate or full professor position in African art history. We seek scholars of historical and/or modern African art who are able to teach courses in African visual cultures across time, geography, genre, and media. Candidates working on Sub-Saharan Africa are especially welcomed to apply. An ideal candidate will create bridges between the Department of Art History and the Program of African Studies, as well as other Northwestern University departments, programs,  and Chicago area museums and institutions that support the study of African art. The successful candidate’s appointment will be within the Department of Art History, known for innovative, cross-cultural scholarship with existing strengths in African-American, African Diaspora and Middle East and North African arts and visual cultures.

For more information about the department, visit For information about the Program of African Studies, including instructions for how to submit an application, visit the Program of African Studies website:  Review of applications will begin on 15 December 2017. Administrative inquiries may be directed to Tiffany Williams-Cobleigh, 1-847-491-7323.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.