Session at the 108th College Art Association of America Annual Conference

Hugues Humen Tchana, University of Maroua 

Although different African countries have diverse histories which translate into different memories and arts, Africa still have share emotional solidarity on key historical events such as colonialism slave trade, migrant labour, violence-shared memories and essences of the arts. In Africa, one of the many roles that arts/artists play is to capture the problems of the society through their visual expressions, thus stimulating discussions on relevant socio-cultural issues to influence a positive change in their respective communities. This is pivotal in defining the essence of arts in contemporary Pan-African society. Thus, art is used to create that space of engagement in the spaces of silence and of gaps; as a space of possibility where we can negotiate a richer knowing.

This panel will focus on the contemporary artists, as members of the Pan-Africa’s social parliament particularly for the role they usually play in contributing to the dialogue on national issues of crucial importance through their works. we must think of the encounter of Africa on two levels including the encounter of Africa with herself (her memory, her wounds, her heterogeneity) and the encounter of Africa with the world. The panel will grapple with the following questions:

  • How art holds the space to have a connection between history and memory?
  • How can we tell our own stories through visual arts?
  • How African art have to dialogue?
  • How to negotiate encounters?
  • where does this encounter take place? In "public space" or "common space"? 
  • What can be the terms of urgent negotiations?