Project

Nigerian Popular Culture: Everyday Performance and Cinema

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Project log

Debra Klein
added a research item
My comments during the book launch, hosted by the University of Regina, for *The Cinema of Tunde Kelani: Aesthetics, Theatricalities, and Visual Performance*. Tundé Kelani’s body of work, mobilized through Èṣù-like storytelling, offers new myths that awaken our spirit and desire to create a more balanced and beautiful world. Thank you, Oga Kelani, for all the years of inspiration, joy, and provocation! We eagerly await your new projects! E ku ori re o! A dupe o!
Debra Klein
added a research item
This article opens with the suggestion that the art of world-renowned and critically acclaimed Nigerian filmmaker, Tundé Kelani, is analogous to the work of Òrìṣà Èṣù, supernatural trickster who opens the portal to the spirit realm, the past, and the future. Drawing from long-term ethnographic research with Yorùbá performing artists in Òṣun and Kwara states, this article builds on Yeku’s concept of Alter/Native narrative and Meyer’s discussion of aesthetic formation to argue that Kelani’s innovative evocations of Yorùbá traditional culture can be understood as aesthetic formations of a morality for the present and future. Kelani’s films evoke and create aesthetic formations that reimagine and recontextualize Yorùbá traditional culture into new allegories and myths for contemporary audiences. Illustrating how Kelani’s representations of Yorùbá traditional culture and morality are central to his films’ allegorical impact, moral themes in thirteen Kelani films are identified. Through Èṣù-like storytelling, Kelani’s films reimagine tradition and offer new allegories that challenge postcolonial institutions and awaken our spirit and desire to create a more balanced world.
Debra Klein
added a research item
This article opens with the suggestion that the art of world-renowned and critically acclaimed Nigerian filmmaker, Tundé Kelani, is analogous to the work of Òrìṣà Èṣù, supernatural trickster who opens the portal to the spirit realm, the past, and the future. Drawing from long-term ethnographic research with Yorùbá performing artists in Òṣun and Kwara states, this article builds on Yeku’s concept of Alter/Native narrative (2012) and Meyer’s discussion of aesthetic formation (2015) to argue that Kelani’s innovative evocations of Yorùbá traditional culture can be understood as aesthetic formations of a morality for the present and future. Kelani’s films evoke and create aesthetic formations that reimagine and recontextualize Yorùbá traditional culture into new allegories and myths for contemporary audiences. Illustrating how Kelani’s representations of Yorùbá traditional culture and morality are central to his films’ allegorical impact, moral themes in thirteen Kelani films are identified. Through Èṣù-like storytelling, Kelani’s films reimagine tradition and offer new allegories that challenge postcolonial institutions and awaken our spirit and desire for a better world.
Debra Klein
added a research item
This article celebrates and pays tribute to the work of Karin Barber by joining analyses of the history of political and economic conditions with analyses of the relationship between people's lifestyles and aesthetic forms of production. This paper analyzes a Yorùbá alárìnjó (traditional singing, dancing, drumming, and masquerade) performance and a recent Yorùbá film by Túndé Kelani to illustrate the interconnections between “lifestyle” and aesthetics (Bourdieu, Distinction). This article concludes that a local performing troupe produced an aesthetics of liminality that emerged from its immersion in local and global markets of the 1990s, while the Kelani film produces an aesthetics of ambivalence, exploring relationships between traditional and modern cultural politics in the early 2000s. Grounded in long-term fieldwork in southwestern Nigeria, this piece illustrates Barber's insight that cultural preservation requires innovation and argues further that popular culture is an important part of this process (Anthropology of Texts).