Public Art in Africa

Release date : Wednesday 01 february 2017
Genre : Arts, fine arts

Book ISBN number : 978-2-94-0563-16-6
Pages : 235

Year : 2017
Column : Fine arts, History/society, Design, Architecture, Arts and crafts

Public Art in Africa is the first book exclusively focusing on contemporary art in African urban space.

The impressive experience of public art production in Douala (Cameroon) is the starting point of this first edited book with perspective on public art centred around the context of Africa.

The first and second part of Public Art in Africa present contemporary artworks and artists questioning the role of art in urban transformation and social dialogue in Douala in particular, while the third part consists of an edited and peer-reviewed section offering a critical and theoretical analysis of the contemporary public art landscape in Africa in general. The book concludes with a state-of-the-art selection of current art projects, initiatives, exhibitions and biennales in different African cities, introducing their key protagonists and presenting important concepts underlying such artistic and curatorial practices in public space. The book thus helps to understand public art and its increasing popularity within the dynamic and flourishing art scenes of Africa.

Public Art in Africa is divided into four different sections:
- The first section presents personal and subjective texts related to the work of doual'art, the independent cultural organization leading the SUD - Salon Urbain de Douala, the international triennial of contemporary art, which is the main art event that addresses and contributes to public life in the city of Douala. This section presents the experience of local and international artists, curators, museum directors and experts of theme who have been involved in the public art process production in Douala.
- The second section is a catalogue raisonné of all public art projects produced in Douala within the frame of the SUD. It includes monumental, architectural and urban design installations, small-scale sculptures, murals, happenings, performances, community-based projects implemented in more than twelve formal and informal neighbourhoods of the city, and artists' biographies.
- The third section presents peer-reviewed academic essays focusing on the public art in Africa. This theoretically oriented part aims to present a critical analysis on the relation between contemporary art and the urban spaces within different African contexts (Douala, Luanda, Johannesburg, Dakar, etc.), applying different disciplinary approaches: historical, anthropological, sociological, urbanist and from an aesthetic and art historical point of
- The forth section offers a state-of-the-art and historiographical documentation related to African contemporary art, public art, African biennales, triennials and specific case studies necessary for meaningful understanding and framing of the current public art practices in Africa.

A book edited by Iolanda Pensa with Marta Pucciarelli, Fiona Siegenthaler, Marilyn Douala Bell, Kamiel Verschuren, Xandra Nibbeling, Maud de la Chapelle within a collaboration between the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), the University of Basel, doual'art, ICU art projects and Lucas Grandin, Africultures, and the European Conference on African Studies (ECAS).
The book is published by Metis Press Geneve.


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  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of