Masquerade and Money in Urban Nigeria
Title Details

382 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

95 illus total, 1 b/w, 94 color, 2 tables Illustrations

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Masquerade and Money in Urban Nigeria

The Case of Calabar

by Jordan Fenton

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Examines the economic and spatial importance of performance arts in West Africa through a close analysis of the masquerade culture of Calabar, the capital city of Nigeria's Cross River State.
Driving into urban Calabar, one is struck by two imposing, monumental rectangular columns, operating not unlike ancient triumphal arches, framing the entrance into Nigeria's capital city of the Cross River State. Relief carvings of Calabar's renowned masking characters adorn the monument. The icons, dramatically captured in choreographic poses, freezing the maskers in time, enshrine masquerade as the city's heritage and past identity. Far from being merely "traditional" and relegated to an earlier time, though, the masquerade culture of urban Calabar has a contemporary and global context and is a vital part of the changing patterns of city life.
While the topic of cultural change is not necessarily new to African art history and cultural studies, few have attempted to understand why African arts so readily change. This book, the first full-length monograph addressing contemporary Calabar, explains the fluidity and thriving nature of masquerade by analyzing the ways in which masking is steeped in economic transaction and how street performances have become more public and spatially calculated. By unraveling the urban layers of masquerade arts and their performances, this book shows how so-called traditional culture gains new roles or currencies within a contemporary, city-based context.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Part I: Setting the Urban Stage
Chapter 1: Introduction, Masquerade as an Artistic Pulse of the City
Chapter 2: "Face No Fear Face:" Unmasking Youths
Part II: Space
Chapter 3: "If they Burn it Down, We will Build it Even Larger:" Confrontations of Space
Chapter 4: "People Hear at Night:" Sounds and Secrecy of Nocturnal Performance
Chapter 5: "Idagha Chieftaincy was Nothing like what it is today:" The Spectacle of Public Performance
Part III: Money
Chapter 6: "We Call it Change:" An Artistic Profile of Artist Ekpenyong Bassey Nsa
Chapter 7: "Look at it, Touch it, Smell it-this is Nnabo:" Trajectories and Transformations of "Warrior" Societies
Chapter 8: "For this Small Money, I No Go Enter Competition:" Masquerade Competition on a Global Stage
Part IV: Local Voices
Chapter 9: "I know Myself:" Masquerade as an Artistic Transformation
Coda: "I Think About my Kids and Feeding Them"
References

JORDAN A. FENTON is Associate Professor of Art History at Miami University (Ohio). He has carried out fieldwork in Calabar (Nigeria) since 2008.

Hardcover

9781648250262

February 2022

$99.00 / £80.00

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781800104211

February 2022

$24.99 / £19.99

Forthcoming

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Title Details

382 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

95 illus total, 1 b/w, 94 color, 2 tables Illustrations

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Imprint: University of Rochester Press