African Art and Agency in the Workshop

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir & Till Förster



The role of the workshop in the creation of African art is the subject of this revelatory book. In the group setting of the workshop, innovation and imitation collide, artists share ideas and techniques, and creative expression flourishes. African Art and Agency in the Workshop examines the variety of workshops, from those which are politically driven or tourist oriented, to those based on historical patronage or allied to current artistic trends. Fifteen lively essays explore the impact of the workshop on the production of artists such as Zimbabwean stone sculptors, master potters from Cameroon, wood carvers from Nigeria, and others from across the continent.


A closer examination of the workshop provides important insights into art histories and cultural politics. We may think we know what we mean when we use the term 'workshop,' but in fact the organization of groups of artists takes on vastly different forms and encourages the production of diverse styles of art within larger social structures and power dynamics. -
Victoria Rovine University of Florida


Sidney Littlefield Kasfir is Professor Emerita of Art History at Emory University.

Till Förster holds the chair of social anthropology since 2001 and is founding director of the Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland.