• Adérónké Adésolá Adésànyà
  • School of Art, Design, and Art History, James Madison University
  • Abstract Title: Embracing/Embodying Glo-cal-ity: New African Diaspora Artists' Aesthetics and Transnational Conversations

Abstract: My research on New African Diaspora Artists (NADA) sheds light on the tempo, template and tenor of their aesthetics. However, more important is the premise that a common strand runs through their work, that is, the infusion of the local with the global, the oscillation between liminal and tangible spaces, and the exploration of archives that yield stunning and profound transnational work. The category of NADA that I study includes men and women who left Africa but never totally left; rather periodically return literally and metaphorically to dialogue with and about Africa. They return to Africa to explore the archives; and in their diaspora locations whether in North Carolina, New York, Netherlands, London, or Washington, their memories of homeland and New World experiences serve and empower their practice. They deal with the local and the global, they tell narratives of the nation, the self, and the ‘Other’. This medley of the here and now, the old and the new, the homeland and the diaspora give rise to the notion of Glo-ca-lity. The term glo-ca-lity enunciates the identity, distinctiveness and ideas of virtuosos in constant motions and shifts, personas simultaneously vintage and vibrant, and producers of compelling expressivity. The artists, Wole Lagunju, Wangechi Mutu, Sokari Douglas-Camp, Njideka Akunyuli-Crosby, and Toyin Loye, embody glocality and their works exemplify transnational lexicons that increasingly define NADA.  


Bio: Adérónké Adésolá Adésànyà is Associate Professor of Art History in the School of Art, Design, and Art History, and James Madison University. Adésànyà is a laureate of CODESRIA Gender Institute, Dakar, Senegal, and she trained as Mediator and Conciliator in Nigeria. She teaches African and African Diaspora art, focusing on entities on the margins, and promotes the visibility of muted voices. Her most recent publication places a family of Yoruba artists in art-historical context and establishes their link with eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century Yoruba artists as well as engages the changing structures of Yoruba artistic production and circulation. Adésànyà is the Coordinator of Africana Studies and periodically serves as co-Director of JMU Ghana Study Abroad.