- Before October ends, I feel compelled to acknowledge the passing earlier this month of Senegalese artist Iba Ndiaye, an important figure in the development ofMessage 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 2008View SourceBefore October ends, I feel compelled to acknowledge the passing earlier this month of Senegalese artist Iba Ndiaye, an important figure in the development of post-colonial African contemporary art (NYT obituary). Despite his initial participation as a leader of the Ecole de Dakar, Ndiaye was an early, adamant critic of the primitivist assumptions of this movement as its progenitors sought to formulate the role of Senegalese (and other African) artists in post-colonial nation-building and the formation of African and national identities. For more on Ndiaye and this important historical moment and locale in African art, see Elizabeth Harney's In Senghor's Shadow: Art, Politics, and Avant-Garde in Senegal. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).Below is an excerpt from Harney's article, "The Ecole de Dakar: pan-Africanism in paint and textile" in African Arts (Autumn, 2002) which highlights some of Ndiaye's attitudes and emphases in regarding the role and methods of African artists and which also provides a brief but potent glimpse of the changing social and cultural landscape of modernity in an African context and an important contribution to the discussion of African art authenticity:
N'Diaye adamantly believed in the importance of technical training over the search for an innate "Africanness" and "authentic" aesthetic. For him, authenticity came from attention to skill and materials and from sincerity in practice, as was evident in the advice he gave to his students:
Notably to my young colleagues, I would give several words of advice: be on guard against those who insist that you must be "Africans" before being painters or sculptors, for those who, in the name of authenticity ... continue to want to preserve you in an exotic garden. We are not born more talented than others, the majority of us do not come from traditional artistic families, but rather we are sons of African cities, which were created, for the most part, in the colonial era, and were crucibles of an original culture, in which ... foreign or indigenous cultural contributions dominate.... you have a very great responsibility: to make our profession legitimate in the eyes of our fellow countrymen, and in those of men from all the continents, making us masters of techniques which alone will permit us to renew ourselves and to give us the courage to advance the iconographic themes of contemporary Africa ..." (N'Diaye 1978; translation by Elizabeth Harney)
Note: images selected focusing on African figural and landscape themes do not represent proportionately the emphasis in and range of the artist's body of work. Lee
Selected works by Iba Ndiaye (all images from the web-site http://www.ibandiaye.com):
Study of an African Sculpture, 1977, ink on paper, 23.5x5 cm, private collection, Washington. Study of a Wé Mask, 1982,ink on paper, 23.5x15.5 cm, ACCT collection, Paris. Head of a Senoufo statue, india ink on paper, 1985, 20 x 14 cm. (from a sketchbook). Head of a statue from Cameroon, india ink on paper, June 1996, 18x24 cm. (from a sketchbook, New York, Center for African Art). African Sculpture, india ink on paper, 1987, 19 x 15 cm (from a sketchbook). After two African sculptures, india ink on paper, New York, Center for African Art, June 1996, 26.5x21 cm (from a sketchbook).
Sahel, 1977, oil on paper.
Variation n°1 on the Theme of the Sacrifice of the Lamb, 2001, oil on canvas.
Sahel and Sahel Sandstorm, 2001,oil on canvas.Two Baobabs , 2000-2001,oil on canvas.