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Art historians converge on Nsukka, honour Oloidi, Jegede, others


University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Art Historical Association of Nigeria (AHAN), in association with Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka is organising a conference on art history.

With ‘The harvest is plenty, but the labourers are few: Art Historians in Nigeria and the Challenges of Historiography’ as theme, the event holds from today (July 18) to 21, 2018 at the department.

Chairman of AHAN, Mr. Jubril Enakele, said, “by the second decade after the civil war in Nigeria, the pioneer art historians in Nigeria had emerged; namely, Babatunde Lawal, Ola Oloidi, Chike Aniakor and Dele Jegede.”

He added, “for a modern art tradition dating back to about 1900, that was a late development.

In spite of the boom of modern Nigerian art in the 1990s and beyond, the gap between studio practice and the business of historiography is far from shrinking.

Not even the Ph.D. spree occasioned by NUC’s order, that university teaching staff, including visual arts faculty, should obtain Ph.D. (in anything), has helped the situation of art history in Nigeria.”

Enakele said, “while a significant number of art historians have emerged in the last decade, armed with masters or doctoral degrees, only few are committed to the business of art historiography.

“The implications of this reality are easily palpable in the art departments in our universities and other tertiary institutions; as well as in the field of practice where art historians should construct the stories on which the wheel of art turns.

“This situation remains very worrisome, in view of the traditional role of art history and the enormity and robustness of Nigerian art; much of which begs for investigation and documentation by professional art historians.”

Keynote speakers at the conference are Prof Lawal and Prof Aniakor, while it will climax with presentation of awards to Profs Oloidi, Aniakor, Jegede, Lawal and Okechukwu Odita.

Founded by Oloidi as rallying group for Nigerian art historians in 2002, AHAN convened the conference in honour of its retiring founding president, Emeritus Prof. Oloidi and the other pioneers of art history in Nigeria, Prof. Lawal, Prof. Aniakor and Prof Jegede.

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