History of Art


Bea Gassman de Sousa

PhD supervisor: Tamar Garb 
Working title for PhD: 'Nigerian Modernism as an African epistemology'

Based on archival sources my thesis examines the inherent visual logic of significant Nigerian artistic positions of the early 20th century. The construction of images in the work of two Nigerian artists of national and international importance, the Oyo-Yorùbá artist Aina Onabolu and the Anambra-Igbo artist Ben Enwonwu are key to examining the nature and roots of Nigerian artistic modernity. Their engagement with specific Nigerian and European cultural codes and knowledge systems, the permeability of divergent epistemologies and the options arising from transcultural discursivity are paramount to the development of modern Nigerian art history. The exploration inevitably leads to the limitations of postcolonial discourses, which will a point of discussion.   

My PhD is fully funded by one of UCL’s Graduate Research Scholarships, and is being supervised by Professor Tamar Garb.

My research interests include Early African Modernisms, African Epistemologies, Fragmentary Archives in curatorial and artistic and research practice, Transcultural methodologies. 

Publications, Conferences, Talks:


  • The Agency Gallery, since 1996, Focus: New Media Art, Installation, Performance, Soundart
  • A Portrait in Fragments: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha 1951-1982, Curator, KCC, London 2013