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Reflections on the "Architecture of Independence"
Nnamdi Elleh
Mar 03, 2016 (6pm)

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The five countries—Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia—whose modern architectural productions are featured in Architecture of Independence, present the opportunity to examine where the collective and the individual fit in the post colonial era. In his lecture architecture historian Nnamdi Elleh will connect the sociopolitical conditions of the newly independent countries with the modernist buildings erected post-independence. Elleh will address several key questions: Why did these countries fall into different states of violence following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, an era that has been seen as the rise of neoliberal economy in the world and in Africa in general? This lecture will draw from the exhibition to explore the challenges facing these countries and different parts of the continent today.

Nnamdi Elleh is associate professor of architecture, history and theory at DAAP, University of Cincinnati. He was trained as an architect and received his PhD in art history from Northwestern University. He was a Fulbright Teaching-Research Scholar at the University of Cape Town, where he studied post-apartheid nationalist inspired architecture in South Africa. His research focuses on modern and contemporary architecture as diverse, multi-centered, regional and localized experiences in different parts of the world. Elleh’s selected books include African Architecture, Evolution and Transformation (McGraw Hill, 1996); Architecture and Power in Africa (Praeger, 2001); and Reading the Architecture of the Underprivileged Classes: A Perspective on the Protests and Upheavals in Our Cities (Ashgate, 2014).

image: Photomontage of Bernard Nivert and Robert Boy’s Building for the Fund for Stabilization and Support of Agricultural Produce Prices (CAISTAB), 1970, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, featuring the country’s primary agricultural produce. Originally published in the national magazine Fraternité Matin, November 1981.

For more information on the exhibition, Architecture of Independence: African Modernism, click here.