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Beyond aesthetics… Presentation holds today

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Wole Soyinka’s latest book, Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse and Dissonance in African Art Traditions, will be formally presented today at the Freedom Park, Off Broad Street, Lagos Island. Time: 3:00pm.

The playwright, poet, essayist, novelist and Nobel Laureate is also a longtime art collector. The book is a continuation of his three-part Richard D. Cohen lectures delivered at Harvard in 2017.

This book of essays offers a glimpse into the motivations of the collector, as well as a highly personal look at the politics of aesthetics and collecting.

Detailing moments of first encounter with objects that drew him in and continue to affect him, Soyinka describes a world of mortals, muses, and deities that imbue the artworks with history and meaning.

It is a passionate discussion of the role of identity, tradition, and originality in making, collecting, and exhibiting African art today. Soyinka considers objects that have stirred controversy, and he decries dogmatic efforts—whether colonial or religious — to suppress Africa’s artistic traditions. By turns poetic, provocative, and humorous, Soyinka affirms the power of collecting to reclaim tradition. He urges African artists, filmmakers, collectors, and curators to engage with their aesthetic and cultural histories.


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