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Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art Hardcover – April 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: 5Continents (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 887439571X
  • ISBN-13: 978-8874395712
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie is an associate professor of Art History, University of California Santa Barbara, and is the director of Aachron Knowledge Systems.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By fastidious one on December 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Femi Akinsanya calls for more "black" African participation in collection, documentation and sale of indigenous African art. "Black" Africans need to tell their own story rather than remain silent (or reticent), not speaking freely in spite of the fakes and discourse concerning authenticity. African collectors of "black" African art face a major problem of expert/erudite validation because their collections circulate outside of Western systems of dissemination. Their works are typically suspected as fakes, contemporary reproductions or otherwise poor examples of known archetypes. Western scholarship operates without regard for the historical fact of African collecting.

MAKING HISTORY uses the Femi Akinsanya African Art Collection to form an official process for evaluation, acceptance and interpreting an African-owned collection. There is also an emphasis on how such collections could be incorporated into a context of African art studies which are unseen, or unable to be seen. This book features quality and discerning traditional art pieces from the Niger Delta, Eastern and Western Nigeria, the Benue River Valley and Benin, photographed by a Nigerian (Kelechi Amadi-Obi).

Fact 1: Many artworks in African-owned collections in Lagos surpassed the quality of similar examples seen abroad, and few were extraordinary examples.
Fact 2: [Western] Scholarly consensus denies the possibility that significant examples of African art can be found out-side of their established criterion... especially if in African-owned collections. Hence, the "justified" paper-trail including documentation, photos, authentication, intensive research published in extreme and compacted formats; a.k.a "provenance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James I. Cole on November 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hardcover, 12" x 10", 279 pages, 213 color plates, many full page. 1 map. Plain boards with DJ, bibliography. List price $70, (59 Euros ). Subtitled : "African Collectors and the Canon of African Art." Published by 5 Continents in 2011.

Features rarely published Nigerian tribal artworks from the private collection of Femi Akinsanya in Lagos, Nigeria. The items represented are from the Yoruba, Igbo, Urhobo, Cross River, Benin and Benue River Valley peoples, and are of a universally superior quality. The text makes important points about how African art is collected and regarded in Africa, but can be heavy going : "Collectors of African art aggregate culturally significant objects invested with great material and metaphysical attributes in their original contexts of use" and "The canonical African artworks in this collection are significant examples of their kind and others subvert known archetypes through new and often radical shifts in iconography and symbolism." Somehow the language seems out of place with the pure simplicity of the images, but overall an ambitious and important tribal art book with some stunning examples of African art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John David McGee on December 16, 2013
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This is an excellent resource for the following reasons. 1. The photos are professionally and spectacularly done. 2. The author is offering a much-needed and timely challenge to the "Euro-Western" stereotype of appraising African art, which is inappropriately focused on a too-thin "slice" of art work that found its way out of Africa during the early colonial era. 3. The author deals convincingly with the current collections which remain in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, and offers his own appraisal of their current value to African art which is outside the "mainstream" of traditional items. 4. Useful references are made to the age-authentication technology which is currently available, which identify (within a reasonable range) the documentable age of carvings. I have found it both useful and enjoyable.
John David McGee
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ron atwood on December 14, 2012
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Making History: African Colllectors and the Canon of African Art
Sylvester Okwunodu OgbechieAn excellent and thoroughly researched book, required reading for anyone in the field.
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