Contemporary Art of the Global South: New Engagements Between South Africa and China


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Fine Arts


This research creates new bridges between the study of contemporary art of South Africa and China in order to explore and complicate recently revived Sino-African relations. Responding to the “Western” bias of the international art world, it positions current Sino-African engagements in the scholarship of the “Global South,” and critiques metageographies that stereotype African and Asian societies. Further, this mobilizes a critique of Western-driven theories of diaspora and globalization. Contemporary visual art is analyzed as a way of examining sociopolitical changes, and as a way of responding, in a nuanced way, to China’s global socioeconomic and cultural expansion. Major themes include contemporary clashes with traditional culture; commodification and kitsch; walls as metaphors for boundaries and security; text, meaning, and power; and nation, place, and site-specificity. Following these themes, “conversations” between specific Chinese and South African artists will be explored.