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Wákàtí: Time Shapes African Art

September 21, 2015 - January 16, 2016


The relationship between time and space in African art was the focus of this exhibition. Wákàtí, a West African concept among the Yoruba, refers to time as it unfolds and marks its passage with signs of change. The works assembled for this exhibition tackled the question: how does time shape African art? With works including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photographs, performance and installation arts, the exhibition presented the relationship between time and space in the making of the art objects, and the shaping of styles from different eras and various areas of Africa.


This exhibition, featuring works from the OSU Museum of Art collection, eliminates the artificial wall often erected between “traditional” and “contemporary” art in Africa by highlighting the seamless transition of time as a natural flow uniting images from ancient to current practices. The works in the exhibition demonstrate the notion of Pabambari, an African esthetic idea for appraising and enjoying the highest form of artistic excellence. In the gallery spaces, the works of living artists including Christopher Adejumo, Orisagbemi Arigbabuwo, and Tinuomi Afilaka, interact with ancestral images from Dogon, Ashanti, Yaka and other indigenous African traditions. 

Guest Curator

Moyo Okediji, Ph.D., Professor of Art History, the University of Texas



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