Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 5:00pm

Jaffe 113

Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz, "Kongo Art and the Rethinking of Civilization"

This lecture will focus on agency in Kongo society, exploring a complex state of social development in which legal, political, religious and visual systems motivate responses to and interpretations of Kongo cultural principles in the Atlantic world. Martinez-Ruiz will argue that the myriad forms of communication known as Ndinga i Sinsu seamlessly integrate into a wide range of audio and visual communicative techniques that he terms ‘graphic writing systems’. Such systems also include proverbs, mambos, syncopated rhythms, a large variety of written symbols, and oral traditions that are rich sources of cultural and social histories, religious beliefs, myths, and other expressions of the shared Bakongo worldview. The lecture will incorporate key examples gathered through fieldwork among the Kongo people in northern Angola, southern Democratic Republic of the Congo and within Kongo-based religious traditions in the Americas.

Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz is an art historian with research interests in African and Caribbean artistic, visual, and religious practices. His books include Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign (2013), Faisal Abdu’Allah: On the Art of Dislocation (2012) and Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (2007). He has also curated exhibitions on African art and presented his own multimedia work in the United States and Europe.