In Senghor's Shadow: Art, Politics, and the Avant-Garde in Senegal, 19601995

Duke University Press, 23/11/2004 - 316
In Senghors Shadow is a unique study of modern art in postindependence Senegal. Elizabeth Harney examines the art that flourished during the administration of Lopold Sdar Senghor, Senegals first president, and in the decades since he stepped down in 1980. As a major philosopher and poet of Negritude, Senghor envisioned an active and revolutionary role for modern artists, and he created a well-funded system for nurturing their work. In questioning the canon of art produced under his aegisknown as the Ecole de DakarHarney reconsiders Senghors Negritude philosophy, his desire to express Senegals postcolonial national identity through art, and the system of art schools and exhibits he developed. She expands scholarship on global modernisms by highlighting the distinctive cultural history that shaped Senegalese modernism and the complex and often contradictory choices made by its early artists.

Heavily illustrated with nearly one hundred images, including some in color, In Senghors Shadow surveys the work of a range of Senegalese artists, including painters, muralists, sculptors, and performance-based groupsfrom those who worked at the height of Senghors patronage system to those who graduated from art school in the early 1990s. Harney reveals how, in the 1970s, avant-gardists contested Negritude beliefs by breaking out of established artistic forms. During the 1980s and 1990s, artists such as Moustapha Dim, Germaine Anta Gaye, and Kan-Si engaged with avant-garde methods and local artistic forms to challenge both Senghors legacy and the broader art worlds understandings of cultural syncretism. Ultimately, Harneys work illuminates the production and reception of modern Senegalese art within the global arena.


Rhythm as the Architecture of Being Reflections on un Âme Ngre
The École de Dakar PanAfricanism in Paint and Textile
Laboratories of AvantGardism
After the AvantGarde
Passport to the Global Art World



Elizabeth Harney is Assistant Professor in the Department of Fine Art at the University of Toronto. She was the first curator of contemporary art at the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of African Art (19992003). She is the editor of Ethiopian Passages: Contemporary Art from the Diaspora.