Displacement and the Opaque in Francophone African Modern Art 

April 14, 2023, 5:30–7:00 PM

In this Research and Academic Program lecture, Joshua I. Cohen (City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center) examines African modernisms in the Francophone contexts of decolonization and the global Cold War. This lecture is drawn from a current book project examining African modern art in the contexts of decolonization and the global Cold War. It situates and defines modernism in the practices of three Mande artists from Francophone West Africa: the Guinean poet, musician, dramatist, and choreographer Fodéba Keita (1921–1969); the Malian studio photographer Seydou Keita (1921–2001); and the Senegalese painter Souleymane Keita (1947–2014). By homing in on the experiences and qualities of displacement and the opaque in the work of these three Keitas, the lecture elaborates a theory of mid-to-late twentieth-century African modernism, and a method for navigating its political and creative terrain.

Presented in person in the Manton Research Center Auditorium at the Clark. This event is free with a reception in the Manton Research Center Reading Room starting at 5 pm.  

Image: Detail of Kerfala Yansané in “Bigolo,” Le Théâtre Africain de Keita Fodéba, c. 1949–50. Image from Le Théâtre Africain de Kéïta Fodéba (Paris: Pierre Seghers, 1950). Photo by Müller.