Use, abuse and dissonances in African artistic traditions
In exploring themes such as identity, tradition and originality, Wole Soyinka reveals how curators and collectors have the power to alter or even repress the artistic traditions of the African continent. Playwright, poet, essayist, novelist and Nobel prize Wole Soyinka is also a long-time art collector. This collection of essays offers an in-depth study of the collector's motivations, as well as a highly personal look at the politics of aesthetics and collecting. Soyinka describes a world of mortals, muses and divinities that gives the works of art history and meaning. He considers the status of art objects to be controversial, denouncing dogmatic efforts, both colonial and religious, to suppress the artistic traditions of Africa. Soyinka affirms the poetic and provocative power of collecting as a vindication of a tradition and an identity. At times evocative and ironic, in the descriptions of the encounters with muses and divinities, at times political and theoretical, Beyond Aesthetics pulls the curtain on art collections.