Yoruba Art and Language

Yoruba Art and Language : Seeking the African in African Art

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The Yoruba was one of the most important civilizations of sub-Saharan Africa. While the high quality and range of its artistic and material production have long been recognized, the art of the Yoruba has been judged primarily according to the standards and principles of Western aesthetics. In this book, which merges the methods of art history, archaeology, and anthropology, Rowland Abiodun offers new insights into Yoruba art and material culture by examining them within the context of the civilization's cultural norms and values and, above all, the Yoruba language. Abiodun draws on his fluency and prodigious knowledge of Yoruba culture and language to dramatically enrich our understanding of Yoruba civilization and its arts. The book includes a companion website with audio clips of the Yoruba language, helping the reader better grasp the integral connection between art and language in Yoruba culture.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 73 b/w illus. 67 colour illus.
  • 1139990551
  • 9781139990554

About Rowland Abiodun

Rowland Abiodun is John C. Newton Professor of Art, the History of Art, and Black Studies at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts. He is the author of What Follows Six Is More than Seven: Understanding African Art (1995); co-author of Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (1989), Yoruba Art and Aesthetics (1991), and Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection (2004); and co-editor of The Yoruba Artist: New Theoretical Perspectives on African Arts (1994). Abiodun was a consultant for, and participant in, the Smithsonian World Film, Kindred Spirits: Contemporary Nigerian Art. A former member and chair of the Herskovits Book Award Committee of the African Studies Association, Abiodun has also served on the Board of Directors of the African Studies Association and as the President of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. He chaired the Executive Board of the Five College African Scholars Program, Amherst, Massachusetts, and has been interviewed by the BBC World Service on the Art of Africa. In 2011, he received the Leadership Award of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association in recognition of his excellence, innovative contributions, and vision in the fields of African and Diasporic Arts.show more

Table of contents

Introduction. What is African in African art studies?; 1. Ori: no Oris... blesses a person without the consent of his/her Ori; 2. Asẹ: the empowered word must come to pass; 3. Oṣun: the corpulent woman whose waist two arms cannot encompass; 4. Orunmil...: henceforth, If... priests will ride horses; 5. We greet Aṣọ before we greet its wearer; 6. Ako: re/minding is the antidote for forgetfulness; 7. Ile-Ife: the place where the day dawns; 8. Yoruba aesthetics: Iw..., Iw..., is what we are searching for, Iw...; 9. Tomorrow, today's elder sibling.show more

Review quote

'Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking the African in African Art provides a seminal and authoritative work pertaining to Yoruba art and languages of Nigeria. Rowland Abiodun, the John C. Newton Professor of Art, the History of Art and Black Studies at Amherst College, is an astute art historian, researcher, and culture activist, whose work will withstand the test of time and critical appraisal.' Tunde Babawale, Africa Todayshow more

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