March 20, 2017

Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute’s Mellon Decade Fellow Delinda Collier presents the free lecture “Natural Media—Light, Water, and Wind—in Souleymane Cissé’s Finyé (1982) and Yeelen (1987)” on Tuesday, April 4 at 5:30 pm in the Michael Conforti Pavilion.
Malian film director Cissé’s “un-commonsense” proposition about “new” mediums is that they are both reducible to natural media and arbitrarily connected to language. This relieves his films of the burden of primitivism, as they begin with the notion that nothing is natural, least of all representations of Africa.
Finyé (“wind”) tells the story of dissatisfied Malian youth rising up against the establishment. The film earned Cissé his second Yenenga's Talon award at the 1983 African film festival FESPACO. Yeelen (“light”), a coming-of-age film, won the Jury Prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. Cissé is president of the Union of Creators and Entrepreneurs of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts of Western Africa (UCECAO).
Delinda Collier is associate professor of art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her fields of research are southern African art, new media art, and Cold War cultures. She is the author of the book Repainting the Walls of Lunda: Information Colonialism and Angolan Art (2016) and has articles in Nka, Critical Interventions, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Third Text, and African Arts. At the Clark, Collier is working on Essays on the History of New Media Art in Africa, a book that investigates the “new” of new media and the methods by which the new is folded into the archaic and the natural. It will be the first book to devote itself entirely to new media art in Africa: that is, to pose “new media” art from or about Africa as the central question.

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.
Press contact:
Clark Art Institute
[email protected]
413 458 0471