About the Class
This class explores the histories of photography—the art of writing with light—in Africa. We will look at a wide array of images, from the first daguerreotypes ever taken in Ethiopia in the 1840s, to studio portraits from the independence era in West Africa, to contemporary archival interventions. Through the work of artists such as Seydou Keïta, J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere, Sammy Baloji, and Lebohang Kgayne, we will discuss how African photographers and their patrons have appropriated the medium and introduced new ways of seeing.
The class is online-only. More about online classes.
This course will:
- Increase your understanding of art-related concepts.
- Increase the ways you think critically about art.
- Improve your ability to communicate about art.
- Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.
Lebohang Kganye. Ka 2-phisi yaka e pinky II, 2013. Image © Lebohang Kganye. Courtesy of the artist.
Paoletti is assistant professor in the Department of Art at the University of Virginia. Her research and curatorial practice focus on the histories of modern art and photography in Africa. She has published extensively and received awards from the American Council of Learned Societies/Getty; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art among others. Her next book, on photography in Senegal, will be published in 2024 by Princeton University Press.
Art in Context
Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?
Recent Barnes Class Testimonials
“[The] professor was highly engaging, facilitated excellent discussions, and [was] very knowledgeable. I learned a lot about teaching art history from watching her.” Course: Matisse and Picasso with Martha Lucy
“Every single second of the course was a productive, valuable, and interesting use of my time. The instructor's enthusiasm and reference to outside resources sparked a greater interest in me as a learner and resulted in me exploring even more on my own. I couldn't have enjoyed the experience more.” Course: Salvador Dalí: Surrealism and Beyond with Jonathan Wallis
“I am not an artist and prior to this course I had not thought about what an artist might be 'thinking,' as opposed to 'feeling.' I loved this course and plan to immerse myself in color theory.” Course: Visualizing Memory with Lucas Kelly
“This course is equal to or exceeds art history courses I have taken at several major universities in terms of syllabus and quality of instruction.” Course: The School of Paris with Joseph Tokumasu Field