Bicycle Decoration and Everyday Aesthetics in Northern Nigeria

My slightly cynical quote of the day (yeah, a cup of tea or two and some brain stimulating reading required otherwise I don’t get started with this conclusion writing/editing morning over morning):

“Art cannot change the world” are words spoken nonchalantly day in and day out, and the agency of the arts and culture production industry is comfortably reduced to the mere fetishism of a few privileged practitioners. Discussions of the seminal role of funding agendas, curatorial policies both of private and public institutions, production values, etcetera, are simply engulfed by the standardization machinery. And for those not so easy to appease, well they can chat, complain and theorize about “representation,” and there is funding for that too. And of course, the machinery of standardization also provides the margins for this debate: post-colonialism, exoticism, Orientalism, regionalism and so on.

Mai Abu Eldahab (nd?): Global Epidemic Art in the Age of Globalization

And as we’re at it, I really liked Binyavanga Wainaina’ How to Write About Africa. It’s such a useful not-to-do list to double check myself and my writing. Every now and then that’s quite helpful. Not just when writing and/or thinking about ‘Africa’. So, check out How to Write about Africa II: The Revenge:

Novelists, NGO workers, rock musicians, conservationists, students, and travel writers track down my email, asking: Would you please comment on my homework assignment / pamphlet / short story / funding proposal / haiku / adopted child / photograph of genuine African mother-in-law? All of the people who do this are white. Nobody from China asks, nobody from Cuba, nobody black, blackish, brown, beige, coffee, cappuccino, mulatte. I wrote “How to Write about Africa” as a piss-job, a venting of steam; it was never supposed to see the light of day. Now people write to ask me for permission to write about Africa. They want me to tell them what I think, how they did. Be frank, they say, be candid. Tell it like it is. I have considered investing in a rubber stamp.

Continue reading here.

On a completely different note, check out Carmen’s research blog for the latest developments in the Hausa film industry, in particular the conflict between the film makers and the director of the Kano State Censorship Board. She discusses the current court case in Kaduna here.

If you haven’t followed the news, she also provided updates about the recent attacks in the Jos area here and here. She provides several links, among others to a number of Human Rights Watch reports. I got nothing to add to that. I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to say …


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