Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

The Filmic and the Photographic: African Visual Cultures

November 25-28, 2018 // University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

There is a rich and growing literature in African Studies that critically assesses both past and present generations of photography and film in Africa. One thread in this body of work looks for ways of centering African photographers and filmmakers as creators of new styles, looks, and subjectivities. Another thread looks at the artistic environments that Africans created, at the ways in which images (both still and filmic) shaped religious sentiments and formed communities.  A third thread looks at what is termed vernacular photography in distinct African locations, focusing on the materiality and mobility of images. A fourth thread looks at processes of archival preservation, collection and digitization as well as creative acts of recuperation, that is, newly curated exhibits of old things—both photographs and films. A final thread explores how Africans engaged, appropriated, synthesized, interpreted filmic and photographic practices from beyond Africa.

This workshop will bring together a range of scholars working on these and other contemporary issues in the field of African visual cultures. We are interested in blurring the photographic with the filmic in order to explore the qualities of one as inherent to the other.

All events are free and open to the public, unless noted.

Sunday, November 25

4:00 - 5:00 pm » Exhibit Tour of “Beyond Borders: Global Africa”(For presenters only)

University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA). *Reception follows at 5:30 pm at UMMA Common

7:00 pm » Film Screening, “The Vibrancy of Silence” at Michigan Theater

Monday, November 26 (Weiser Hall, Suite 1010)

9:00 am » Welcome remarks

Andries Coetzee; Kelly Askey, University of Michigan; and Pamila Gupta, University of the Witwatersrand

9:15 am - 11:15 am » African Creators of New Styles, Looks, and Subjectivities in Photography and Film

Federica Angelucci, Stevenson Gallery. “Territory and Identity: A Conversation on the Work of Mame-Diarra Niang and Zanele Muholi”

Frieda Ekotto, University of Michigan.“Reprendre: Poetics Images by African Women Filmmakers”

Litheko Modisane, University of Cape Town. “Searching for Ken Gampu Across the Screen(s): A Life –Writing Experiment”

Okome Onookome, University of Alberta. “Reading the Nollywood Image”

Richard Vokes, University of Western Australia. “The Chairman and the Paparazzi (Uganda)”

Discussant: Kelly Askew, University of Michigan

11:30 - 12:15 pm » Interlude with Coffee Break (5th Floor Gallery)

On view: “Seedtimes Exhibit” by Omar Badsha, Artist and Photographer

2:00 - 3:45 pm » African Images at the Core of Social/Political/Religious Entanglements, Synergy and Community Networks

Naluwembe Binaisa, University College London. “Architectures of Fear and Aspiration in Nigeria: Visuality, Representations and Claims-making”

Laura Fair, Michigan State University. “From the Screen to the Street: Cinematic Images and the Creation of Communities in Tanzania”

Susan Levine, University of Cape Town. "Reading Inxeba (The Wound): Culture, Censorship, and Sexuality in South Africa”

Hlonipha Mokoena, University of the Witwatersrand. "Visualising Policing and Policemen: Photographs of Zulu Policemen”

Discussant: Okechukwu Nwafor, UMAPS, University of Michigan

4:00 - 5:15 pm » Vernacular Photography in Distinct African Locations: The Materiality and Mobility of Images

Tamsyn Adams, Leiden University. “Working the Image: Visual Apprenticeship, ‘Object Lessons’ and Self-Representation in the Farmer’s Weekly”

Okechukwu Nwafor, UMAPS, University of Michigan. “The Ubiquitous Image: Obituary Photographs in South-Eastern Nigeria and the Allure of Public Visibility”

Pamila Gupta, WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand. “Moving still: Bicycles in Ranchhod Oza’s Photographs of 1950s Stone Town (Zanzibar)”

Discussant: Patricia Hayes, University of the Western Cape

6:30 - 8:30 pm »  Photography Workshop (Room 555) — optional session

Derek Peterson, University of Michigan; and Richard Vokes, University of Western Australia. “Picturing Idi Amin: Planning For a New Exhibition at the National Museum of Uganda”

Tuesday, November 27th (Weiser Hall, Suite 1010)

9:30 - 11:30 am » Appropriation, Synthesis, Interpretation of the Filmic and the Photographic From Beyond Africa

Charles Ambler, University of Texas at El Paso. “Celluloid Freedom”

Peter J. Bloom, University of California, Santa Barbara. “Africa and its Diaspora as Photographic Fetish: New Media Market Aesthetics of Fashion and Speculative Art Markets”

Kenneth Harrow, Michigan State University. “How Can African Filmmakers Go Beyond Africa? Or, What is an African Filmmaker”

Boukary Sawadogo, City College - City University of New York. “African Screen Media in Harlem”

Lily Saint, Wesleyan University. “Popular Film and Black Spectatorship at the Midcentury in South Africa”

Discussant: Corinne Kratz,  Emory University

1:45-3:00 pm » Archival Preservation, (Re)interpretation, Recuperation, Collection and Digitization

Bianca van Laun, University of the Western Cape. “Bureaucratically Missing: Capital Punishment, Exhumations and the Afterlives of State Documents and Photographs”

Patricia Hayes, University of the Western Cape. “The ZAPU Photographer: Exiled and Contingent Histories”

Candice Jansen, WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand. “Making Contact, Feeling Identity: Ernest Cole & the Photographic Proof”

Discussant: Pamila Gupta, University of the Witwatersrand

3:30 - 5:30 pm » Archival Preservation, (Re)interpretation, Recuperation, Collection and Digitization (continuation)

Omar Badsha, Artist and Photographer. “Afrapix Comrades With Cameras and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle in the 1980’s”

Phindezwa Mnyaka, University of the Western Cape. “Reflections on History Writing Through Daniel Morolong’s Photographs on the East London Coastline, c. 1950-1970

Jamie Monson, Michigan State University. “Visualizing TAZARA Stories”

Drew Thompson, Bard College. “Coloring Histories of Black Surveillance and Protest: The Story of Polaroid in the United States and Africa”

Discussant: Hlonipha Mokoena, University of the Witwatersrand

5:30-6:00 pm » Short Film

Rui Assubuji, Photographer, Filmmaker and Researcher. “The Art of Healing- A Portrait of Lizette Chirrime”

Wednesday, November 28th (Weiser Hall, Suite 1010)

9:00 am - 11:00 am » Breakfast and working meeting