Death and the Creative Instinct – Some Mortuary Arts and Acts from Africa and the Diaspora


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This book looks at mortuary activities and some creative acts associated with them in selected communities in Africa and the diaspora. Besides death narratives and mortuary rites which are vital in maintaining the centralizing myths of communities and groups, parts of the anthology problematize the tensions and conflicts that arise in the mill of postcolonialism and how they are reflected in the politics of dying, death and after-death in some African and diasporan communities. Beyond these concerns, death is seen here as a renegotiation of reality and, therefore, an agency of art and theatre, since art is essentially a re-representation of reality, the same concern that is at the heart of mortuary acts. Perhaps, the strength of the book is in the authors’ ability to ask new questions about death and its social symbolism and to provide new insights through critical and groundbreaking perspectives.

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Publication Date

July 2019

No. of Pages

384. Incl. 106 colour images

Author information

Chuu Krydz Ikwuemesi holds a PhD in Art History (2014) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He was a Visiting Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan in 2008 and was a Japan Foundation Fellow in Hokkaido in 2009. A polyvalent artist of superlative merit, he is cur-rently Associate Professor, Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and coordinator of the Death Studies Association of Nigeria.