Osogbo and the Art of Heritage: Monuments, Deities, and Money . Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011, 224 pp., 978-0-253-35611-6; US$70.00 (cloth), 978-0-253-22295-4, US$24.95 (paper) This book traces the remarkable global career of the Nigerian town of Osogbo, an important centre of Yoruba history and religion and also home to a vibrant art scene. In the 1950s Osogbo became internationally famous for its Osogbo Art School, cofounded by the German Africanist Ulli Beier, the Austrian artist Susanne Wenger, and the Nigerian dramatist Duro Ladipo. Somewhat in the spirit of cultural nationalism that characterized independence movements throughout Africa, the school’s experimental vision was the revitalization of Yoruba art for a new time. The close involvement of Wenger in the reshaping and revitalization of the Osun Grove, the spiritual abode of the guardian deity of the town, Osun, was another aspect that made Osogbo famous beyond the Nigerian borders. Wenger and her Nigerian collaborators, especially Adebisi Akanji, not only repaired deteriorating shrines but, with the permission of the town’s ruler, Adenle, also installed new cement sculptures and structures in the grove that differed substantially from the formal canon of ‘traditional’ Yoruba art. This created a calculated effect. For Wenger, herself a
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Feb 25, 2014
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