The multiauthored book accompanying the exhibition World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean organized by Krannert Art Museum is the first interdisciplinary study of Swahili visual arts and their historically deep and enduring connections to eastern and central Africa, the port towns of the western Indian Ocean, Europe, and the United States.
At once exhibition catalogue and scholarly inquiry, the publication features eighteen essays in a mix of formats - personal reflections, object biographies, as well as more in-depth critical treatments - and includes never before published images of works from the National Museums of Kenya and Bait Al Zubair Museum in Oman. By approaching the east African coast as a vibrant arena of global cultural convergence, these essays offer compelling new perspectives on the situated yet mobile and deeply networked social lives of Swahili objects. Moving between the broader structural relations of political economic change to more intimate narratives through which such change is experienced, the essays throw light on the ways in which the material fabric of the arts structure Swahili people's sense of self and community in an ever-changing world of oceanic and terrestrial movement.
Prita Meier is assistant professor of African art history, New York University. She is the author of Swahili Port Cities: An Architecture of Elsewhere. Allyson Purpura is senior curator and curator of Global African Art at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Contributors: Edward A. Alpers, Heike Behrend, Ann Biersteker, Fahad Bishara, Allan deSouza, Jeffrey Fleisher, Athman Hussein, Paola Ivanov, Sarah Longair, Pedro Machado, Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy, Nidhi Mahajan, Janet McIntosh, Jeremy Prestholdt, Allen F. Roberts, Stephen J. Rockel, MacKenzie Moon Ryan, and Nancy Um
Catalogue Details: 384 pages; 125 illustrations (97 color); 6.75 x 9 inches