Art and Gender

Both within and beyond the realms of art, debates on gender are proliferating and becoming increasingly politicized. Gender’s imprint on art is often characterized by the prevalence of time-based media like performance, the use of the artist’s body, interactivity, and interventions in public spaces, and can be contextualized by concurrent developments in the social sphere. Over time, singular, incipient conceptions of gender have given way to allow for multiple approaches and agents. Feminism, an important origin of discussions around gender, has, since the early 20th century, been pluralized and expanded to encompass many different feminisms. Critical race scholars and activists issued urgent revisions to suffragette movements, and continue to nuance movements toward gender equality. Equally imperative, transnational feminists challenge linguistic and geopolitical hegemony and the efficacy of liberal models of gender. Since the 1990s, queer, transgender, and non-binary communities have further illuminated these debates and destabilized the rigid binary of “Man” and “Woman.” More recently, in relation to gender, technological mediation and animal studies challenge the very meaning and form of the category of “human.” This Theme explores the vicissitudes of gender and its concomitant cultural effects.

Safi Faye: Selbé et tant d’autres

Artist and author Nene Aissatou Diallo revisits Safi Faye’s 1982 portrayal of Selbé, a thirty-nine-year-old mother of eight from Fad’jal as she and her compatriots go about their daily routines, carried by song. This feature reflects on the visual portrayal of Selbé, and Faye’s use of the camera in a documentary produced as part of the series As Women See It.

Ojeikere: Fleeting and Captured Moments

In 1970, Johnson Donatus Aihumekeokhai Ojeikere, otherwise known as J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (Nigerian, 1930–2014), made Fro Fro, the point of departure of this short text. Storyteller and lens-based artist Jumoke Sanwo reads this image, produced during Nigeria’s nationalist drive and considers Ojeikere’s subjects and their unapologetic defiance.

Portraits of Flowers

This year’s C-MAP seminar series, Transversal Orientations, comprised four panels that took place on Zoom in June 2021. This essay reflects on Looking Sideways, the first panel in the seminar series featuring Sorawit Songsataya, Corina L. Apostol, and Ruth Simbao.