20. VISUAL ARTS AND INTERSECTION WITH KNOWLEDGE
P. Nelson Graves, Ph. D – Department of Fine and Applied Arts
Ignatius Ajuru University of Education,
Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Natural synthesis” compartmentalised the black art world. This essay unravels how the artist, EL Anatsui, in a “selective critiquing and re-evaluation of self”, dared to “wriggle out” of that quagmire. Thus, reactivating the dynamic terrain that lives and is animated from within the soul of artists, he forged a new path of creativity. With empirical analysis and the engagement of storytelling mechanisms, this essay unreels that artistry. Anatsui, in spite of his academisisation and art practice, takes a detour to cloth-making craft traditions, particularly the Kente weave and its autograph, for inspiration. Hence, the “vital and enabling” intellectual paradigm “resumptions, disappearances, and repetitions” make possible an intersection with arcane knowledge, while the “uniting representation” of the synthesis in the appropriation of Memory and Interview grounds the contexts within which each artwork is experienced. EL’s “non-fixed forms” make visible the temerity of new shapes and forms forged directly from the wellsprings and fecundity of African roots as exemplars of the art of the new dawn (Ben Shahn, 198:53). A deconstruction of EL’s artworks reveals the groundings of his discourses on assemblages of “Forgotten Biography” and the engagement of “mythopoetic imagination” (Marina Paolo Banchetti-Robino, 2011) in the recalibration of personal expression in language and imageries that inflect spiritual ties to ancestry and the reality of memory. This is a sufficient basis for the historical narration of the intersection of visual arts and knowledge.
Keywords: visual arts, intersection, knowledge; compartmentalisation, “mythopoetic imagination”, forms and shapes, iconography