Nov 24, 2016
The artistic rebirth of Anta Diop indicates Adé Olufeko’s attempts to pull the astute figure from the grasps of academic dialogue and fringes of mainstream journalism, and place him within the consciousness of everyday people, most of who crave objective enlightenment on African discourses.
Resurrection serves a purpose of generating widespread attention for ideas propagated by the forgotten, and that seems to be what Adé Olufeko set out to achieve with his digital painting of one of Africa’s intellectual saviors, Cheikh Anta Diop. The painting, Diop on canvas, was created in 2014 and made its public debut at the 16th African Business Conference of Harvard Business School, where Olufeko participated as an invited speaker on its digital media and business panel.
Olufeko sets Anta Diop’s face within a splash and strokes of paints, allowing Diop to look away from the viewer, in defiance, perhaps, at his numerous critics mainly from the global academic establishment who considered as heretical his promotion of Africa as the origin of human civilization. The artistic rebirth of Anta Diop indicates Adé Olufeko’s attempts to pull the astute figure from the grasps of academic dialogue and fringes of mainstream journalism, and place him within the consciousness of everyday people, most of who crave objective enlightenment on African discourses.
Anta Diop’s notable work, The African Origins of Civilization: Myth or Reality asserts the greatness of Negro dominated ancient Egypt from where Greece borrowed much of its acclaimed knowledge, which forms the foundation of western civilization today. The book should be compulsory reading in African schools, from primary to tertiary levels. Appropriate adaptations of the very academic text should be made for nursery, primary and to an extent, post-primary curricula. All university and higher institution students should read the text in its entirety prior to graduation. Additionally, implications of Anta Diop’s work across disciplines should be weaved into the curricula of Africa’s tertiary education; Mr. Olufeko has led the way in his field.
Adé Olufeko’s work uses some notable colors such as green, indicating the evergreen nature of Anta Diop’s ideas; their appeal across generations and times. Yellow speaks of the intellectual depth and energy of Anta Diop, the global attention his work draws, in addition to the elation it has wrought for Africans. The splash of paints could be seen as the adoption of Diop’s ideas all over Africa, where it has dyed, for the better and forever, the souls of all committed to Africa’s intellectual liberation and unique idea of progress. Olufeko’s bold and powerful strokes capture the daringness of Anta Diop’s thesis, at the time it was proposed and even today.
Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, PhD, is Senior Lecturer/Researcher at the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics