Modern African Art : A Basic Reading List

Western Africa : Cameroon


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Schemmel, Annette. Visual arts in Cameroon: a genealogy of non-formal training, 1976-2014. Mankon, Bamenda: Langaa Research & Publishing CIG, 2015. 404 pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (p. 379-396). N7399.C3 S34 2015 AFA. OCLC 946292985.

The art world in Cameroon is populated mainly by non-formally trained artists, and it lacks government support throughout most of the postcolonial period. Artists in Cameroon have not received the attention they deserve. Annette Schemmel in this meticulously researched book—based on her PhD dissertation—redresses this lacuna in Cameroonian art history. Non-formal art education is the framework with which Schemmel explores contemporary Cameroonian art. She presents a nuanced evaluation of artists’ training, social networking, collectives and projects, and impacts of globalization from mid-20th century to the present. She dismantles the myth of the ‘self-taught artist’ and emphasizes the collaborative nature of art production in Cameroon. Through numerous interviews with artists, their self-empowerment and local initiatives are shown to be critically important to expanding their art world.