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Modern African Art : A Basic Reading List

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Madagascar

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Andrianetrazafy, Hemerson. La peinture malgache des origines à 1940. Tananarivo: Foi et Justice, [1991]. 130pp., [8]pp. of plates. illus. (color). (Série Arts et culture malgaches). ND1097.6.M3A57 1991 AFA. OCLC 28611250.

The emergence of painting in Madagascar in this century is viewed as part of a larger process of acculturation, of contact and influences from the West. Central to this history is the question of identity: Is there such a thing which can be called a Malagasy painting?

Andrianetrazafy examines painting in Madagascar not only as an aesthetic phenomenon, but also as a series of socio-cultural changes and adaptations. Its antecedents lie in the nineteenth century in the early manifestations of "art colonial" under the influence of French cultural hegemony. In 1922 the École des Beaux-Arts de Tananarive opened; the first exhibition of contemporary art was held the following year. The foundation was thus laid, albeit in the tradition of French academic painting. Painting flourished for the next two decades, but questions arose as to whether there was too much imitative, derivative work and not enough originality. Where was "Malagasy painting"? Where was the indigenous inspiration?

Among the artists whose work was pivotal during these decades are Razanamaniraka (1900-1943), Robert Rasolomanitra (1911-1953), and Alfred Razafinjohany. Sixteen color plates reproduce paintings from the collection of the Musée du Palais de la Reine in Tananarivo.