Abstraction and the Sublime in Art: Bridging the Gap between ‘Modern Art’ and Ewe Vodu Aesthetics

Abstraction and the Sublime in Art: Bridging the Gap between ‘Modern Art’ and Ewe Vodu Aesthetics

A finished balili mural (2016). Klikor, Volta Region, Ghana (courtesy of Sela Kodjo Adjei)

This paper examines the contributions of African art to the rise of global modernism in art. The concept of ‘modernism’ in art history remains inordinately attributed to Western male artists, and often ignores the creative contributions of African women in indigenous communities. These academic lapses highlight the need for more critical research, analysis, and documentation. The paper includes a photographic presentation that captures the creative practice of Ewe artists in South Eastern Ghana. These photographs are the outcome of a collaborative research process and serve as supporting visual ethnography for a discussion of several recurring issues and debates in African art scholarship.