This text considers the work of Vera Pagava, a Georgian artist who lived in exile in Paris, as an amalgamation of modernist and Georgian art historic references. Following Pagava’s life story from Tbilisi, where she was born, to Germany and later Paris, where she settled with her family in 1923 and lived until her death in 1988, this essay introduces her work in relation to that of various other Georgian artists, simultaneously tracing her path from figuration to abstraction.
In his screen-prints of the 1970s, South African artist Gavin Jantjes sought to convey the urgency and interconnectedness of global Black liberation movements. As an art student in exile in Hamburg, Jantjes dedicated his early practice to raising awareness of the brutal injustices of the apartheid system in South Africa, engaging with anti-colonial struggles waged by African and African-Diasporic populations around the world. In this essay, art historian Allison K. Young looks at a selection of early abstracted, dynamic compositions which evidence his belief in the connection between art and resistance, and his commitment to solidarity between localized struggles across the diaspora.
In this essay, Māra Traumane guides readers through the diverse, interdisciplinary practice of the Riga-based collective Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings (NSRD), which operated from the end of the 1970s until 1989. NSRD was involved in the avant-garde music scene as well as in architecture, and their activities ranged from concerts and the production of record albums to performances, writing, and video art.
Zenta Logina (1908–1983) was a Latvian artist at work during the Soviet occupation. Her paintings, reliefs, and sculptural objects developed in a singular manner, as she broke away from the accepted framework of visual arts codified by the regime and crossed into the realm of contemporary art as we define it today.
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.
As the entrepreneurial co-founder of the Société Zin, a modernist design company, Safia Farhat (Tunisian, 1924–2004), contributed to the visual aesthetics of civic space during the formative period of Tunisian socialism and state feminism. Jessica Gerschultz introduces Farhat’s key role in sustaining a mural tradition for Tunisian modernists.
Art historian Inesa Brašiškė highlights the ideas behind the work of Lithuanian-American artist and architect Aleksandra Kasuba (1923–2019), most notably her countering of the rigid geometry of architecture through the use of soft materials and curved shapes, and her emphasis on the fundamental connection between the built environment and the formation of subject.
In this essay, cultural historian Linda Kaljundi revisits Estonian art of the late Soviet period. Looking at work from the 1970s and 1980s from an ecocritical and environmental perspective, she argues for the necessity of taking a comparative, transnational approach in order to reach beyond the Western centric understanding of environmental art histories.
C-MAP Africa fellow, Nancy Dantas, reads Mozambican modernist Bertina Lopes’s anticolonial trajectory and long-distance nationalism in ‘Tribute to Amílcar Cabral’ (1973).
This year’s C-MAP seminar series, Transversal Orientations, comprised four panels that took place on Zoom in June 2021. This essay reflects on Acts of Transfer and the Repertoire, the second panel in the seminar series featuring Tsitsi Ella Jaji, Laura Anderson Barbata and Lina Lapelyte.
If landlessness is another condition that transforms Africans into wanderers, with nothing but their labor to sell for a pittance, then the genre of landscape painting in South Africa represents a space-time of possession and dispossession. Implicit in Gladys Mgudlandlu’s landscapes is a reminder of how the ownership of land has historically epitomized South African nationhood.
Estonian artist Sirje Runge’s (born 1950) visionary 1975 thesis project conceptualizes the dynamics between the needs of the individual and the overall logic and construction of the city space in late Soviet Estonia.