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Modern African Art : A Basic Reading List

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Allainmat Mahine, Basile and Benoît Arenaut. Art contemporarin Bantu; [third biennale of CICIBA, Libreville, juillet 1989]. Libreville: Centre International des Civilisations Bantu, [1989]. 87pp. illus. (pt. color). N5090.L69A416 1989 AFA. OCLC 22721420.

The third biennale of contemporary artists from central Africa, organized by CICIBA in July 1989 in Libreville, awarded prizes in painting and sculpture. The grand prize winner was painter Walker Onewin of Gabon. The winning works are illustrated (in color) in the catalog along with other submissions, each accompanied by a brief description and commentary. The artists represented came from Angola, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Rwanda and Congo (Democratic Republic). A separate section shows entries on the theme of anti-apartheid.

Arenaut, Benôit. Art contemporain Bantu; [quatrième Biennale du CICIBA, Bata, juillet-août 1991]. Libreville: Centre International des Civilisations Bantu, 1992. 199pp. illus. (pt. color)., bibliog. N5090.L69A68 1992 AFA. OCLC 30454483.

The fourth biennale of contemporary Bantu art, held in Bata, Equatorial Guinea in 1991, awarded a variety of prizes and honors to painters and sculptors from CICIBA countries: Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, São Tomé & Principe, Congo (Democratic Republic) and Zambia. The grand prize went to Gabonese painter Marcellin Minkoe-Minze. He and other top award winners are profiled and their winning entries are illustrated in color. Other biennale entries are illustrated and described. Addresses of participating artists are appended.

Badi-Banga Ne-Mwine. Art contemporarin Bantu; [deuxième biennale du CICIBA, Kinshasa, juillet 1987]. Libreville: Centre International des Civilisations Bantu, [1987]. 71pp. illus. (pt. color)., portraits, bibliog. N5090.K56B13 1987 AFA. OCLC 22643206.

The second biennale exhibition of artists from seven CICIBA countries brought together eighty-eight works by seventy-one painters, sculptors, ceramicists and copper repoussé artists, working in a wide range of styles and media. A few Cuban artists were also featured. A selection of the works are illustrated and described; the grand prize works are illustrated in color along with bio-data of the winning artists.

See also the article by Badi-Banga Né Mwine: "CICIBA: La Deuxuème Biennale à Kinshasa," Zaïre-magazine (Kinshasa) no. 10: 75-77, 1987.

Bissek, Nicolas, 1958­ . Les peintres du fleuve Congo / Nicolas Bissek. [Saint­Maur]: Editions Sépia, c1995. 157pp. illus. (color), bibl. refs. (page 157). ND1099.C7B58 1995X AFA. OCLC 34224513.

Cameroonian poet Nicolas Bissek turns his artistic eye to painters of the river, the mighty Congo and its tributary, the Ubangi. Sixteen painters from Bangui, Brazzaville and Kinshasa (plus two from Cameroon) whom Bissek feels best represent the vitality of a central African aesthetic of modern painting are singled out for recognition. The river is the leitmotif of many of these works, and the tradition of figurative, narrative painting predominates. All paintings are reproduced in color. Bissek writes praise poems and essays on each artist in which he describes the content and painterly style and traces the career path. The sixteen are: Michel Ouabanga and Jean Tubind of Bangui; Botembe Mimbayi Lita, José Kankinda, Lema Kusa, Mambengui Tondo, and Nkusu Felelo of Kinshsa; Jean-Paul Epondet, Guy Léon Fylla, Marcel Gotene, Michel Hengo, David Makoumbou, Hilarion Ndinga, Francis Tondo Ngoma of Brazzaville; and Claudie Poinsard and Francis Mbella of Cameroon.

Bissek, Nicolas. Les peintres de l'estuaire. Paris: Editions Karthala, 1999. 159pp. illus. (color). ND1091.65.B57 1999 AFA. OCLC 43532207.

In his earlier book Les peintres du fleuve (1995), Bissek showcased painters from the two Congos. In the sequel Les peintres de l'estuaire, he presents painters from Gabon and Cameroon. Featuring artists include from Gabon: Félix Benoît Arenaut; Georges Mbourou; Marcellin Minko Minzé; Ernest Walker-Onewin; Robert Oyono; from Cameroon: Blaise Bang; Emati; Nazaire Kolo; Francis Mbella; Othéo; Sandey Nzante (aka Spee); and Hervé Youmbi. For each artist, Bissek offers a short essay and tribute along with a poem and from six to twelve color reproductions of paintings.

CICIBA (Organization). Biennale (5th : 1994 : Brazzaville, Congo). Art contemporain bantu: cinquieme Biennale du CICIBA, Brazzaville, juillet/aout 1994 / text by Benoit Arenaut and Simao Souindoula. Libreville, Gabon: Centre international des civilisations Bantu, c1994. 128pp. illus. (chiefly color), bibliog. (pp. [123]-127). N5090.L69A68 1994 AFA. OCLC 36322377.

The fifth CICIBA Biennale held in Brazzaville honored the Poto-Poto school of painting on its forty-fourth anniversary. Guy Léon Fylla, one of the Poto-Poto painters, provides a retrospective look at this informal school of painting established by Pierre Lods in 1950. Artists from seven Central African countries (Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the two Congos, Gabon and São Tomé and Principe) and the Comoros participated in the 1994 competition. Prizes were awarded in the categories of painting, sculpture, copper repoussé, and ceramics. The grand prize winners were Angolan painter Fernando Caterça Valentim (1950- ) and Congolese painter Jonas Boboma Mionzo (1964- ). Their paintings and other award-winning works are illustrated in color.

Souindoula, Simâo. "Bienniale of Contemporary Bantu Art: African art revived," Courier (Brussels) no. 123: 47-50, September-October 1990. illus. qHC59.69.C862 AFA.

The Bienniale of Contemporary Bantu art was launched in 1985 as a means of promoting the plastic arts and of recognizing excellence among artists from central and southern Africa -- member states in CICIBA. In addition to the juried exhibition and awarding of prizes, there are workshops and seminars for artists. The best of the art works are kept for the permanent collection of the CICIBA museum. Souindoula reviews the first three biennials (1985, 1987, 1989), highlighting the trends and noting outstanding artists. Among the painters and engravers, he identifies naturists, realists, and symbolists. For modern sculptors wood is the preferred meduim, although metal sculptures are becoming more common; stone is seldom chosen. Many of the artists adhere to their "schools," formal and informal, e.g., the Barraçao in Luanda or Poto Poto in Brazzaville, but others are breaking out and experimenting with new forms and media.