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A Guide to Alternative Art Schools in Africa: blaxTARLINES

Thu 17 Aug 2023
Artwork by Rosalie Schweiker, 2023 i

Many of the arts education institutions throughout Africa date to the mid-twentieth century, largely founded as colonial or missionary projects, like the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa, or as part of movements towards post-independence nation-building, such as the Alle School of Fine Arts of Addis Ababa University. Of the former, the University of Nigeria Nsukka has helped shape contemporary art in West Africa, where Ghanaian artist El Anatsui taught for over four decades; and Michaelis School of Art and Wits University provide many of the graduates for South Africa’s bustling contemporary art scene. Parallel projects like Imbali Visual Literacy Project in Johannesburg seek to provide a more practical training in visual literacy. Questions of access, and the shape and place of African art, have led to the growth in projects during recent years. Some, like the recently formed Cercle Luyalu school aspect of the Le Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise in Lusanga or the Muholi Art Institute seek to cultivate opportunities for a critical local scene; others, like the Àsìkò School explored in the interview in this issue, look towards supplementing this by creating international dialogue, often in the form of pointedly educational-leaning residencies.

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