Okeke-Agulu: Let me clarify. Ottenberg,  in the context of my anecdote, was not interested in the question of definition of contemporary African art; I used his statement about his experience to propose my understanding of contemporary art. And I would think that while I am certainly not asking for a definition of contemporary African art in order to mark hard boundaries, an understanding of what a curator of in this field sees as constitutive of her subject ought to be important to her audiences, not the least because they at least would know where the curator is coming from in terms of what certain kinds of visual practices might more likely be included or excluded in her curatorial projects. Having said that, my use of the figure of a subject who inhabits the same spaces in which we curators do (and present our) work as a benchmark of the contemporary makes for a very dynamic understanding of contemporary African art. Because it does not matter what media the artists work with, what their academic backgrounds are, whether they live and work in Uyo, Lubumbashi, Cape Town, or New York, and it does not matter if the spaces of the encounter and exchange is in Lagos, or Venice.

Advertisements