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Conference announcement: Art Historical Association of Nigeria

From July 18-21, 2018, the Art Historical Association of Nigeria (AHAN), in conjunction with the Department of Fine And Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka is organising a conference on art history in Nigeria.

Theme:“The harvest is plenty, but the labourers are few”: Art Historians in Nigeria and the Challenges of Historiography

Date: July 18-21, 2018

Venue: Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.


By the second decade after the civil war in Nigeria, the pioneer art historians in Nigeria had emerged; namely, Babatunde Lawal, Ola Oloidi, Chike Aniakor and Dele Jegede. For a modern art tradition dating back to about 1900, that was a late development. In spite of the boom of modern Nigerian art in the 1990s and beyond, the gap between studio practice and the business of historiography is far from shrinking. Not even the Ph.D. spree occasioned by NUC‘s order, that university teaching staff, including visual arts faculty, should obtain Ph.D. (in anything), has helped the situation of art history in Nigeria. While a significant number of art historians has emerged in the last decade, armed with masters or doctoral degrees, only few are committed to the business of art historiography. The implications of this reality are easily palpable in the art departments in our universities and other tertiary institutions; as well as in the field of practice where art historians should construct the stories that oil the wheel of art. This situation remains very worrisome, in view of the traditional role of art history and the enormity and robustness of Nigerian art; much of which begs for investigation and documentation by professional art historians. In response to this situation, this conference invites papers from art historians on any of the subthemes below or on any other issues that are relevant to the development of art history in Nigeria:

a. Nigerian Art and the Challenges of Professional Art Historiography

b. Jack of All Trade/Master of None: Artists as Artists and Historians

c. Art History in Nigeria: Towards Proper Research Methodology

d. Successes and Failures of Engaging the Verbal-visual Challenges in the Nigerian Art Field

e. Problems of Art History in Nigeria: the National Universities Commission (NUC) Benchmark as Anti-Art

f. Colonisation, Art History and the Need for Decolonisation

g. TheNigerian Art Historian and the Politics of Postcoloniality

h. Art History, Art Criticism and the Space In-between

i. Curricular Problems in Art History Training in Nigeria

j. Art History in Nigeria and the Global Standards

k. Repositioning Art History in Nigeria for the Challenges of the Future

Prospective participants are to submit an abstract of not more than 250 words before April 30, 2018. Abstracts should indicate the full title, name, and institutional affiliation of the author(s) as well as keywords. Send abstracts and enquiries to or Conference registration fee is N15,000, payable not later than two weeks before the conference.


AHAN convenes this conference in honour of its retiring founding president, Emeritus Professor Ola Oloidi and the other pioneers of art history in Nigeria, Prof. Babatunde Lawal, Prof. Chike Aniakor, Prof Emmanuel Odita and Prof. Dele Jegede. These icons will be honoured at the conference in Nsukka.

Elections will beconducted to usher in a new executive.

conducted to usher in a new executive.



Professor Babatunde Lawal; Prof. Chike Aniakor


Chuu Krydz Ikwuemesi, MFA, PhD


Painter, Art Critic, Ethno-Aesthetician, Writer and Culture Entrepreneur


Associate Professor of Fine Art, University of Nigeria, Nsukka;

International Secretary, The Pan-African Circle of Artists;

Emeritus President, The Art Republic;

Editor: Letter from Afrika, The Art Republik;

Ag. Director, Anambra Book and Creativity Festival;

Coordinator: Death Studies Association of Nigeria;

Japan Foundation Fellow, Hokkaido (2009;

ACLS-AHP Doctoral Fellow (2012);

Leventis Fellow, SOAS (2017)

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