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Visual revision: Intersecting art and film in the work of Jean-Marie Teno and Raoul Peck

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Abstract:

In the films Afrique, je te plumerai/Africa, I will fleece you (Jean-Marie Teno, 1992), and Lumumba: la mort du prophete/Lumumba: Death of a Prophet (Raoul Peck, 1992), issues of cultural genocide and assimilation are explored in reference to the visual arts of two specific West and Central African countries. This article examines the lasting and multi-layered effects of colonialism as presented by the directors through the specific scenes focusing on the visual arts of the Cameroon Grasslands and Congolese Basin kingdoms. The use and meaning of visual art objects offers a complex dialogue with the colonial history of the African continent, highlighting not only their ability to readdress the ideas and methods of colonialism, but also their ability to operate as a visual index for the cultures from which they were produced. By referencing the visual arts, both directors provide powerful statements regarding the fleecing of indigenous culture during the colonial and postcolonial periods, and bring to light the ability of the visual arts to generate new dialogs regarding history, context and meaning.

Keywords: AFRICAN ART; BAMUM; CAMEROON; JEAN-MARIE TENO; PATRICE LUMUMBA; RAOUL PECK

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jac.3.1.81_1

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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