Christian Art and African Modernity (PDF)


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The growth of Christianity is one of the major themes of modern African history, yet the emergence of a Christian visual art across the sub-Saharan region has largely been overlooked. (The exception, of course, is Ethiopian Christianity, which has a substantial literature.)
This book presents a series of papers dealing with developments in many countries, particularly in the provision of an art that has its place within a liturgical context, and thus situated at the core of Christian ritual practice. Perhaps inevitably, the project of ‘inculturation’ within the local modernities of sub-Saharan Africa, is a history of both success and failure. In this regard, there is an emphasis on developments in Nigeria (following from the research interests of the editors); but it is hoped that this book will provide the stimulus to further research and publication. Whatever the ups and downs of the histories these papers present, Christianity has proved to be a context in which some works of art of world art-historical significance have been brought into existence.





1. John Picton
Christian Art and African Modernity.

2. Nicholas J. Bridger, Celso Costantini
Decolonizing Christian Art in the Making of a Global Church

3. Courtnay Micots
Divinely-Inspired Akan State Chairs

4. Elisha P. Renne
Yoruba Angels and Other Flying Beings

5. Ana Rita Amaral
From Missionary Art to African Christian Art: Objects from the Spiritan Fathers’ Missions in Late Colonial Angola

6. Catie Cadge-Moore
From Yorubaland to County Down: A Summary of The Kevin Carroll Collection of Yoruba Art at Dromantine Retreat
and Conference Centre, Newry, Northern Ireland

7. Nicholas J. Bridger
Lost in Plain Sight: Searching for the Legacy of Kevin Carroll and the Oye-Ekiti Workshop

8. Chinyere Ndubuisi
The Search for Indigenous Christian Images in Nigerian Roman Catholic Churches

9. Philomina U. Ofuafo
Christianity, Urhobo Religious Culture, and the Work of Bruce Onobrakpeya

10. Will Rea
From Ekiti to Ebute-Metta

11. Eli Bentor
Basil Igwegbe – Art and Church Patronage in Contemporary Nigeria

12. Annette Schemmel
The Art of Father Engelbert Mveng SJ

13. Andrew Mulenga
Indigenized Christian art of Zambian painter Emmanuel Nsama

14. Elizabeth Morton
Father John Groeber’s Art Workshop at Serima Mission and Its Impact on the Zimbabwean Stone Sculpture Movement

15. Hans Dietrich Huebert & Gillian Ziegner
Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture and the Christian Nativity

16. Brenda Schmahmann
Reworking the Isenheim Altarpiece in the Keiskamma Altarpiece

17. Nicholas J. Bridger
The “Rediscovery” of Religion in Contemporary African Art History

18. John Picton, with Nicholas J. Bridger, Will Rea and Paul Wood
Appendix: Bruce Onobrakpeya’s Stations of the Cross, St Paul’s Church, Ebute Metta, Lagos

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Nicholas J. Bridger: Adjunct Professor of Art, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA, USA, specializes in African Christian Art in the modern era. He organized the first international conference on African Christian art, Dromantine, 2012, at which many of the papers presented here were first given.

John Picton: Emeritus Professor of African Art in the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. His research interests include the transformations in the visual cultures of sub-Saharan Africa since the 1850s. He previously worked for the Nigerian government Department of Antiquities.