OCA welcomes Salah Hassan, Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture at Cornell University to lecture on 'The Conceptual Turn and the Postcolonial Moment in Africa: Laboratoire Agit-Art in Context'. This presentation by Hassan attempted to contextualise the work of the Dakar-based Laboratoire Agit-Art within the rise of the postcolonial critique in post-independence Africa and the rise of Conceptualism in art globally. The lecture argued that the work of the Laboratoire artists coincided with the ‘Conceptual’ turn in the art world, not only in the Western world but in Africa and other parts of the Third World. Indeed many of the strategies pursued by the Laboratoire artists (ephemeral, site-specific installations and emphasis on the readymade, combined with live performances and public actions and interventions) reflected an awareness of the latest developments in the art world. Yet, their work can only be appreciated fully when analysed and studied in relation to post independence Senegal and its official cultural policies, as inspired by the Senghorian négritude, the rise of postcolonial critique and the failure of the nation-state in postcolonial Africa.
This presentation opened the programme ‘On
Négritude: A Series of Lectures on the Politics of Art Production
in Africa’ and is part of a series of programme activities OCA
has developed in relation to art, society and politics in
contemporary Africa, exploring dialogues initiated during the
Report', organised by Raw Material Company in Dakar in January
This programme is supported by O3–funds as underwritten by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for enhancing collaboration in the contemporary art field with professional artists in countries designated by the MFA. The purpose of the O3–funds as allocated to OCA is to contribute to the development of the work of artists, independent cultural producers and organisations located in designated countries. This includes but is not limited to 'professional research visits by cultural producers, artists, and curators', 'short-term residencies for cultural producers and artists', 'seminars, conferences, art projects, workshops that focus on the further development of professional exchange and networking between and among countries', and 'project development on an international scale'.
Photo: OCA / Espen Hagestrand