Akala: Contemporary Nigerian Art
All Fingers Are Not Equal
The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery is working with Professor Obiora Udechukwu to create a unique digital image collection of work by Nsukka and contemporary Nigerian artists. The project is initiated by St. Lawrence University with funding from the Mellon Foundation in 2009-2010, and the digital collection will be made available online though the Gallery’s Web site. The collection will also be submitted to ARTstor for inclusion in their worldwide digital library. In addition to digitizing this body of work, our goal is to work with faculty to foster curriculum development and integrate the collection into department and program course offerings.
Professor Udechukwu has identified 13 artists to be included in the project whose names will be added to the blog upon confirmation. For now, please refer to those listed in the sidebar to your left.
Professor Udechukwu suggested Akala as the title for the blog. He writes, “Akala is the Igbo word for ‘line’ and can also stand for ‘mark.’ A primary element of design, line occupies an important place in both the Uli drawing and painting and the Nsibidi writing traditions of southeastern Nigeria. Further, by changing the tone, the prefix ‘aka’ becomes ‘hand,’ while ‘ala’ changes to the name of the earth goddess, who oversees ethics and aesthetics. Aka-ala can then be glossed as the hand of the earth deity.”