AuthorsGriffiths, Claire H.
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractAs memories of slavery re-emerge in the historiography of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, contemporary artists from Francophone Africa are engaged in reassessing how this period in Africa’s recent past has extended beyond its historical era to play a role in shaping the development challenges of present-day Africa. Exploring connections between Atlantic slavery and the use of African labour in contemporary modes of production in West Africa, recent art works from the region that once formed the heartland of the French slave trade are providing a discursive platform on which to challenge traditional post-colonial nationalist discourses of modernity and change. An iconography of slavery dating from the era of the Atlantic slave trade and the capture, enslavement and transportation of over eleven million people from Africa to the Americas over the four hundred year period of the ‘terrible trade', has appeared in a body of digital and material art work produced between 1995 and 2015. Artists originating from countries across Francophone Africa (the former French and Belgian colonies on the African mainland), many of whom now live and work in Europe, have independently been moving towards a re-contextualised use of visual imaginary that both invokes explicitly the history and legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This chapter explores the context in which ‘les arts plastiques’ have been produced in the French-speaking areas of Africa, both historically and into the present day, and explores how art offers an alternative platform for political discourse and dissent in the Francophone Africa today.
CitationGriffiths, C.H. (2015). Iconographies of Slavery in Francophone African Art. In Nicola Frith and Kate Hodgson (Eds.), At the Limits of Memory:Legacies of Slavery in the Francophone World, Liverpool, United Kingdom: Liverpool University Press.
PublisherLiverpool University Press
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