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Osogbo and the Art of Heritage: Monuments, Deities, and Money (African Expressive Cultures) Paperback – June 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: African Expressive Cultures
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (June 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253222958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253222954
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I heartily recommend this engrossing read for all scholars interested in contemporary
issues of art and religion but especially for those interested in postcolonial studies, globalization, media theory, and of course, heritage." —Religious Studies Review



"Osogbo and the Art of Heritage, informed by a wide-ranging and worldly intellect, is a boundary-breaking work. The research is interdisciplinary in scope, articulating art history with ethnography, performance and media theory, religion, and African studies." —African History



"A layered, rich exploration of the many and varied changes that have taken place in this significant Nigerian town." —Robin Poynor, University of Florida



Art historian Probst (Tufts Univ.) examines the concept of heritage, specifically in the context of Osogbo, a city in southwestern Nigeria renowned for its ancient Osun Grove--an area of trees, shrines, and the Osun River, the home of the Yoruba deity Osun--and for its gifted artists who constituted, in the 1960s, what is known as the Oshogbo School. The Osogbo Osun Grove was designated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2005, which, as the author explains, has had consequences for the global extension of the postcolonial Yoruba religion. In his introduction, Probst considers the significance of this process from Oshogbo art to heritage from the perspective of art historians, anthropologists, and social theorists. However, his main interest is in explaining what heritage means to the residents of Osogbo--as history, as revitalization, as a project, a style, and a spectacle. In his discussion of the spectacular annual Osun Festival, he astutely considers the contested and competing interpretations of this event. He also addresses heritage as memory, captured by photographs that are subsequently used by Oshogbo leaders to mediate the Osun Grove's meanings to international audiences. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. --Choice E. P. Renne, University of Michigan, March 2012



"... Probst goes beyond the textual surfaces of art history in Osogbo school art to give us the background noise and multiplex changing social and political contours that make for a meaningful understanding of the Osogbo experiment and its implications for the modern world of heritage designations and sacred sites in Yoruba and African art. Absorbing reading, it's as good as investigative reporting gets, and loaded with theoretical insights." —H-AfrArts, July, 2011



"[T]his monograph offers a refreshing interdisciplinary approach which will substantially reward the reader." —Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies



"All in all, [this] book is a very fine account of African modernity in its various expressions. As such, it deserves a wide readership among students of art, religion, heritage, and the anthropology of Africa and beyond." —Journal of Religion in Africa



"Illustrates global issues with a very detailed and perceptive analysis." —Henry John Drewal, University of Wisconsin, Madison



"This book achieves a real sense of Oshogbo as a place.... [W]hat Probst has actually produced in this book is an ethnography that allows Oshogbo and its people to emerge as a very real presence in the formation of its own cultural narrative." —Leeds African Studies Bulletin



"The Osogbo Osun Grove was designated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2005, which, as the author explains, has had consequences for the global extension of the postcolonial Yoruba religion... Recommended." —Choice



"Not quite a history of Osogbo art... this book focuses on the role of a sacred grove as medium in a post-colonial Nigerian polity. Informed by contemporary critical theory, it makes an invaluable contribution to the interpretation of heritage and its visualization through various media. Illustrated with beautiful photographs, the book presents a wide range of arguments about the visualization of heritage and the visibility of the sacred... [T]his book provides a most rewarding read." —Africa

About the Author

Peter Probst is Professor of Art and Art History at Tufts University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Scott on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the early 1960's, one of the first authentic, indigenous expressions of postcolonial African culture emerged in Oshogbo, a Yoruba city in southwestern Nigeria. It came to be known as "the Oshogbo Movement" or simply as "the Oshogbo artists." Peter Probst's book, Osogbo and the Art of Heritage, Monuments, Deities, and Money, takes an in-depth look at the restoration of the Oshun shrines and the revival of traditions surrounding the worship of the Goddess Oshun which were part of the Oshogbo Movement. An Austrian artist named Susanne Wenger played an important role in this fascinating story of restoration and revival. I lived in Lagos during the decade from the end of the Civil War to 1979. As an art historian, I took great interest in what was happening in Oshogbo.

The Oshun Grove was declared a "National Heritage Site" by the United Nations in 2005, and is the focus of an enormous annual pilgrimage and festival. The task Probst sets for himself is to examine in detail how the Oshun Grove came to be named a World Heritage site; how the designation is understood by the local people; the role played by Wenger, and the implications for the future of the site and the town.

The book is based on research Probst carried out in Oshogbo in the "noughties" (as Brits call the first decade of the century). He recounts how the Oshogbo Movement began in 1962, with a series of informal "experimental" art workshops organized by Wenger's husband, Ulli Beier, a German expatriate professor of history at the University of Ibadan, and Duro Ladipo, a popular Oshogbo theater director.

From the beginning, the Oshogbo Movement divided itself into "secular" and "sacred" artists.
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Osogbo and the Art of Heritage: Monuments, Deities, and Money (African Expressive Cultures)
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