New publication ZADOKELI. EFO SELA x MAWULI ADZEI x ELIKPLIM AKORLI (ed. by G. Edzordzi Agbozo and Niklas Wolf) available open access https://zenodo.org/record/7998232 (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7998232)
The word “zadokeli” in Ewe, means “eclipse of the sun”. During the global pandemic in 2020, 6 eclipses occurred within the year including 4 lunar eclipses across the world, with one total and one annular solar eclipse in addition. The first eclipse of 2020 occurred between 10th and 11th January, foreshadowing a dark year ahead. In the Ewe worldview, an eclipse, whether solar or lunar, is of deep spiritual significance. Thus, in the event of an eclipse, traditional priests, priestesses and diviners seek answers and offer prayers. These holders of esoteric knowledge engage with the divinities to ‘restore’ normal cosmic order through propitiation rites. Adjei’s role here is as an artist drawing links between the 2020 eclipse and the rise in anti-Black violence and injustice, and positions him among the far-seeing priests and diviners who seek answers in an effort to ‘restore’ both cosmic and social order. Thus, through his new collection of paintings, Sela Adjei visually expands the discussion of analogizing the Black predicament with a recurring image of a gloomy eclipse; Zadokeli is the same theme that animates Mawuli Adzei’s new poetry anthology bearing the same title. The book was edited by G. Edzordzi Agbozo, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA) and Niklas Wolf, M.A. (University of Zurich). The contributing scholars include: Asana Greenstreet, M.A. (Royal College of Art), Matthew Francis Rarey, Ph.D. (Oberlin, Ohio, USA), Elikplim Akorli, M.Phil, Damawa L. Jallah, Alan Dunyo Avorgbedor, Ph.D. (McGill University’s Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture), kwabena agyare yeboah (University of California, Santa Barbara), Kate Wand, MFA, Nii Kotei Nikoi, Ph.D. (College of Wooster, Ohio, U.S.A.), and Fidelia Ankomah, M.Phil (University of Cape Coast, Ghana).
As outcome of her research project “Material Expressions of West African Spirituality in the Americas: Transatlantic Continuities in Haiti” Zainabu Jallo’s conversation with Holger Jebens (Frobenius Institute, Goethe University Frankfurt) on “Acquisition and Display Ethics”, dealing with object transfers, methods of ethical investigation, and display, was published in PAIDEUMA Zeitschrift für kulturanthropologische Forschung 68, Reimer: Frankfurt am Main 2022.
Material Culture in Transit: Theory and Practice (Routledge 2023) – new Publication out now (DOI: 10.4324/9781003282334)
The book was edited by Zainabu Jallo, featuring a contribution by Niklas Wolf.
The study of artefacts, objects, and things – or in whichever term the material world is described – is not only restricted to their physical attributes but engages in an interplay between people and things. (…) This stresses that Onthology, unlike semiotics, is geared towards being and experiencing. (Zainabu Jallo, Moving Matter: Worlds of Material Culture, DOI: 10.4324/9781003282334-1)
Material Culture in Transit: Theory and Practice constellates curators and scholars actively working with material culture within academic and museal institutions through theory and practice. The rich collection of essays critically addresses the multivalent ways in which mobility reshapes the characteristics of artefacts, specifically under prevailing issues of representation and colonial liabilities. The volume attests to material culture as central to understanding the repercussions of problematic histories and proposes novel ways to address them. It offers valuable reading for scholars of anthropology, museum studies, history and others with an interest in material culture.
In probing various representations of Vodun objects within European museums, cyberspace and other non-religious domains, Niklas Wolf scrutinises the agencies of West African Vodun objects in the political contexts of migration and globalisation. The „Material Culture of Vodun“ offers some indications of the meanings and instrumentality of a contemporary and globalised Vodun. Wolf raises questions on issues of „(im)mobilisation, appropriation, and continuous actualisation“ while introducing aspects of steadfast connections between Vodun’s display and material culture in West African shrines. (Niklas Wolf, The Material Culture of Vodun. Case Studies from Ghana, Togo, Germany and In-Between, DOI: 10.4324/9781003282334-11)