Experience and Memory: The Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970) and its Effect on Nigerian Contemporary Art


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Art History


Experiences and memories of the Nigerian Civil War have profoundly impacted Nigerian art. Through art produced in wide-ranging media created from 1967 to the present, artists have responded to wartime atrocities and grappled with the war’s complex place in Nigerian history, visually recollecting a conflict that has not been properly memorialized or historicized in Nigeria’s public sphere. This project analyzes these practices to discuss how art intersects with propaganda, how artists chronicle their wartime experiences, and how art is affected by memory and trauma. This study further develops a theoretical framework based on loss, witnessing, and testimony to examine how experience and memory shape recurring themes in war-related artworks, the sociopolitical and cultural conditions of their production, and the lasting impact of armed conflict on the cultural realm.