Lecture : 22 February 2013 01:01

Semesterplan – Spring 2013: Lectures : Lecture by Souleymane Bachir Diagne

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OCA is hosted philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne within the International Studio Programme. During his stay in Oslo, he presented ‘Senghor’s Philosophy and Politics of African Art’ as part of ‘On Négritude: A Series of Lectures on the Politics of Art Production in Africa’. The programme, which started at OCA in autumn 2012 focused on the influence of the négritude movement and its political and cultural legacy in the continent. The series of events were part of a research project around the seminal Senegalese artist Issa Samb and the Laboratoire Agit-Art, and were made possible with O3-funds*.

About the lecture
The oeuvre of Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001) known as négritude was highly concerned with African art and the philosophy it expresses, namely a philosophy of vital force and rhythm. In presenting what Senghor as a philosopher and a poet has labeled ‘Negro-African Aesthetics’, Diagne examined the way in which this subject was translated into the cultural policy he put in place while he was the president of Senegal, from 1960 to 1980. This analysis was pursued in order to discuss the influence of Senghor’s cultural policy on Senegalese art.

About the programme ‘On Négritude: A Series of Lectures on the Politics of Art Production in Africa’  
‘On Négritude: A Series of Lectures on the Politics of Art Production in Africa’ was a programme that during the autumn and winter of 2012–13 was exploring the history of cultural production in the continent. The first lecture in the programme was presented by Salah Hassan, Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture at Cornell University, under the title ‘The Conceptual Turn and the Postcolonial Moment in Africa: Laboratoire Agit-Art in Context’. The lecture contextualised the work of the Dakar-based Laboratoire Agit-Art within the rise of the postcolonial critique in post-independence Africa and the emergency of Conceptualism in art globally. The second lecture, was delivered by writer, filmmaker and cultural theorist Manthia Diawara. The presentation, ‘African Film: New Forms of Aesthetics and Politics’, read the history of African film through the lens of négritude, a political and intellectual current he traced to recent and contemporary developments.  

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 professionals 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