The Social Body in Contemporary African Art and Photography

Instructor: Allison Moore

This seminar will examine the body’s relationship to society as depicted in and instrumentalized by contemporary African art and photography. We will look at social relations involved in studio photo practices in West Africa; at South African struggle photography and post-apartheid art in the “Rainbow Nation”; and at the didactic use of the body as moral and political commentary in Congolese painting. We will also examine a number of prominent contemporary artists who use the body as a stand-in or metaphor for society (Wangechi Mutu, William Kentridge, Tracey Rose, Julie Mehretu); to examine social issues of race, class and sexual identity (Mustafa Maluka, Mwangi-Hutter, Hentje van der Merwe); as social performance (Robin Rhode, Nicholas Hlobo, Michèle Magema) and as social critique (Marlene Dumas, Claudette Schreuders, and the film Mooladé (2004) by Ousmane Sembene).