2nd Inaugural Lecture

Title:               African Aesthetics and the Romance of Body Adornment
Presented By: Mr. Noserime RukemeMr Rukeme
                      Chief Lecturer, Department of Fine Art,
                      School of Arts, Design and Printing
                      Yaba College of Technology, Yaba Lagos, Nigeria
Date:             Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brief of the Lecture

The presenter, Mr. Noserime Rukeme is a Chief Lecturer and former Dean of the school of Arts, Design and Printing. He demonstrated an academic scholar prowess in the lecture presented, and read out modus operandi to resurrect the values of African culture in Arts.

The lecture centered on the synoptic view of African Art and Aesthetics as perceived by Africans in the current dispensation. It also covered the socio-cultural implications of African body adornment as an aesthetic object, with special reference to ‘BEADS’.

The lecture exposed the fact that Art is a way of life and is the power or ability of doing things. African Arts in itself was the artistic productions prior to the advent of the Europeans. It was made known that the first contact of African art with the Europeans was misconstrued in that, Art works were either labeled  primitive or taken to represent ‘’Savage or Primitive stages’’.

The Europeans such as Vladminck, Derain, Picasso and Modigliani however, were amongst the first to recognize the aesthetic value of African sculpture and this later influenced many of their artistic works.

From 20th century, African Arts however continued to be appreciated for its intrinsic aesthetics value as well as continuing to be a source of inspiration for the work of European Artists and played significant role in the shaping of the culture and history of the world.

Aesthetics here was defined as the philosophy or perception, of beauty and of taste. He reiterated that relativity plays out in aesthetics. This faulted any prior ideas that some Arts are ugly or beautiful as the case may be. It only appeals to the concept of the beholder. Therefore, all Art works are good.

African Art therefore must be understood  in terms of  its local (indigenous) aesthetics values rather than through imposition of categories of external origin and influence (Western view) Some of the attributes of a typical Art work include; its ability to be identified in its natural form, showing reflections and luminosity and having Voltaic force or calm dignity. All these are clearly seen in African Arts.

He therefore advised that African Arts be upheld just as it is done in other developed countries such as China, where Arts are preserved in indigenous Chinese language to prevent it from going extinct.

Other aspects touched by the lecture include, types of Adornment with particular reference to Beads. The beads can be organic as in the case of sea shells, Elephant tusk, vertebrae of snakes etc. or inorganic as in the case of glass, sapphire etc. Beads were also worn by the Africans out of socio-cultural and symbolic status.

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