Gani Odutoku ’ Dialogu with Mona Lisa: Interrogating Implications of Euro-African Interface
Gani Odutokun (1946-1995) was a formidable creative force at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he graduated and taught painting for three decades. He died in a ghastly motor accident while returning from a group exhibition in Lagos. February 2015 marks the twentieth anniversary of this tragic loss. Amongst his celebrated paintings is the piece “Dialogue with Mona Lisa” which only now exists on page 489 of Lois Fichner-Rathus’ (2007) Understanding Art since it is alleged to have been lost during an art exhibition in the United States. This piece provides potentials for addressing imports of “cross-cultural encounter” between Europe and Africa. It also poses questions about the relevance and standards of beauty across cultural divides. Employing formalism and iconographic instruments of critical art writing the paper succinctly employs metaphoric reasoning to interrogate technical processes of additive and subtractive methods of art making as underlying elements for gaining interpretative insights. The paper concludes affirmatively that while detrimental imbalances exists in the interface that Africa and Europe shares, African nationalist efforts must combine concepts of Negritude and Tigritude to reinvent a new African consciousness that rises beyond the ashes of past debilitating conditions.
Key words- Euro-African Interface, Negritude, Tigritude, Implication, Pan-Africanism
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