Lecture: African Identity in Post-Apartheid Public Architecture

Thursday, April 12, 6pm

Free and Open to the Public

African Identity in Post-Apartheid Public Architecture: White Skin, Black Masks

A lecture by Jonathan Alfred Noble, Associate Professor, University of the Witwatersrand

Since the end of Apartheid, there has been a new orientation in South African art and design, turning away from the colonial aesthetics to new types of African expression. This book examines some of the fascinating and impressive works of contemporary public architecture that ‘concretise’ imaginative dialogues with African landscapes, craft and indigenous traditions. Refering to Franz Fanon’s classic study of colonised subjectivity, ‘Black Skin, White Masks’, Noble contends that Fanon’s metaphors of mask and skin are suggestive for architectural criticism, in the context of post-Apartheid public design. Taking South Africa’s first democratic election of 1994 as its starting point, the book focuses on projects that were won in architectural competitions. Such competitions are conceived within ideological debates and studying them allows for an examination of the interrelationships between architecture, politics and culture. The book offers insights into these debates through interviews with key parties concerned – architects, competition jurors, politicians, council and city officials, artists and crafters, as well as people who are involved in the day-to-day life of the buildings in question.

Cosponsored by the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the African and Black Diaspora Studies Program

For more information contact Mark D. Delancey (mdelance@depaul.edu)