Disciplinary Transfers in Arts and New Fields of Creativity: The Case of African Art


Session Title:

  • Creation and Globalization

Presentation Title:

  • Disciplinary Transfers in Arts and New Fields of Creativity: The Case of African Art



  • This paper starts with the first transfers which have occurred in the identity of African art in contact with the Occident, at the beginning of XXth century. From there, is explained the deepening of the upheavals identities created by the advent of new communication and information technologies. The occasion then is very found to reveal how these transfers take place in the theoretical plan, and how the artistic production arises in new aspects where the traditional plastic disciplines are reconsidered and worked again. The question of the receiving public is tackled to see what these changes precede a new aesthetic culture.

    Quite naturally, the perspectives artistic ones with the numerical one are posed. Will Africa be simple consumer of cultural products, or will it be condemned to be of its time not to disappear, culturally? Is this then the concept even of African art, which is thus in danger with this aggressive presence of electronic art?


    Mutations Disciplinaires Dans les Arts et les Nouveaux Champs de Creativite: Le Cas des Arts Africains

    The African art of the year 2000 is not the African art of 1950, and will not be the African art of the year 3000. By introducing by this truism my communication, I want to underline evidences, unfortunately often sources of various interpretations, sometimes contradictory. It’s like in what is called globalization, or globalization, to say that changes are happening, has become the best-shared thing in the world.
    But this apparent community of ideas hides many questions when it comes to proposing attitudes, artistic behaviors. What does it mean, for example, African cinema, or African music, when Artists in these forms of expression use the new tools offered by science that has no homeland? Where is the African, when the kora is amplified, the sabar integrated in the bass drum of a battery? Where does the African stop at an art critic who uses the computer to do his questionnaires, develop his communications and evaluate the state of world artistic creation?
    Queries that translate a situation more complex than we think. Therefore, it seems essential to me to be interested in some answers to these questions. When some people put under the account of a Western cultural domination that crushes Africa and tends to level everything, this use by Africans of scientific tools, others consider that it is rather necessary to speak about adaptations capacities of the African cultures in the face of any new practice or theory. Still others explain this identity of the arts of Africa by the fascination of Western civilizations, American in particular.

    However, these points of view, whatever they are, do not solve the problem of the interpretations on what is African and what is not, the less the question of this logic of mutations which takes hold of artistic disciplines in Africa. The artists set the audience and the critics in a kind of confusion where we do not find the criteria to correctly appreciate the productions and where the reflection remains blocked on rather eloquent clichés of the fragility of the opinions on the current artistic Africa. These are the clichés of the genre: “African art seeks a guide”, “African artists risk losing their soul by touching too much on electronics and new technologies”, “World art is doomed to be American or not to be “, etc.