History of Art



This gallery-based course provides an overview of modern and contemporary art from Africa with a focus on London collections. Throughout the term, we will be taking a thematic chronological approach, exploring early African photography, the colonial archive, modernist painting, studio and documentary photography as well as contemporary artists that are coming to define this area of study, strategies of curation and the repatriation of artefacts. Each week we will be looking closely at key artworks and artists in conversation with scholarship whilst developing tools of visual and critical analysis. We will explore the themes of nationalism and modernity with particular attention to the cultural and historical contexts of the selected artworks as well as concerns of time and the archive. Students will be asked to question historical and contemporary constructions of Africa as well as the viability of art historical methodology. We will consider the way in which Africa operates as a psychological space in addition to a physical territory and the complicity of artists in its construction for a global art world. Teaching will take place in both major and independent galleries and museums in London, such as Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.