Professor Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie is a recipient of the Smithsonian Institution Senior Fellowship Award (2016/2017) for his book project titled Rethinking African Art History: Indigenous Arts, Modernity, and Discourses of the Contemporary. The book project investigates a fundamental split between the study of pre-colonial African art forms, and those that developed in response to colonial and postcolonial experiences, urbanization, and globalization. It proposes a historiography of modern and contemporary African art that analyzes principal texts, artists/artworks and discursive practices that maps how the shift from historic to modern and contemporary arts affects African art history and suggests analytical frameworks that link both contexts in order to give the former discursive relevance and the latter historical awareness.
Professor Ogbechie has previously received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, Institute for International Education, Getty Research Institute, Mbanefo Foundation, American Academy in Berlin, and TEDGlobal. He is the founder and editor of Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture and has taught at UCSB's History of Art and Architecture department since 2001.
For more details about Dr. Ogbechie's work and this prestigious award, read Shelly Leachman's article, "At the Apex," on UCSB's news site The Current.