Developing African art : innovation and tradition seen through the work of two artists; Lamidi Fakeye and Ahmed Shibrain
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The dissertation explores the work of two African artists: Lamidi O. Fakeye a Yoruba wood carver, and Ahmed M. Shibrain a Sudanese painter, as an exemplary development within African art during the second half of the 20th century. It examines their works through the sense of "tradition" as it is seen within the context of their cultures and their histories. It considers their works to be a reflection of their time, a hybrid art and a new tradition emerging within their respective cultures as a result of change in their societies. It argues against the notion that separates their art from their traditions and their histories based on the artificial barriers of "authenticity" in the literature on African art and the various categories that are related to it. It ponders on the contradictions and complexity that this situation has created and demonstrated that these categories negate historical realities. The dissertation is in two parts. The first part describes and analyses some of Lamidi's Christian and secular carvings. His work is placed in its appropriate historical perspective by revealing its close relationship to the carvings of his predecessors in terms of themes, design, content and clients. Innovation and change in his work through time and space is revealed. In the second part, the dissertation defines the connectivity of Shibrain's work to his tradition and its history, and that of his fellow artists who contributed to the development of a new trend in Sudanese art. It discusses their work on the basis of the 'idea' of art in Islam, their training and their heritage of decorative art and Arabic calligraphy. It argues that innovation, influence, borrowing and adaptation, are part of progress in art through the ages.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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