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From Professor Obiora Udechukwu, April 5, 2011:

Ulli Beier passed on yesterday in his house in Sydney, Australia.  His first son, Sebastian, sent me an email yesterday, and I spoke with him last night.

Some of you will remember that Ulli spent several days on campus in 1999 — gave the CLR James Lecture, visited several classes.  And some years ago, the Brush Gallery showed his photographs of Mbari Houses.  As we say in Nigeria, a mighty tree has fallen.

You may want to read the announcement in a Nigerian daily (see link below) — not many people know that Ulli taught Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka (both also visited SLU in 2000).

Ulli Beier, founder of Osogbo arts school dies at 89 (Sun News Online)

While doing research today, I came across a thoughtfully written blog called Emotan by Tola Adenle.  She wrote about Ulli Beier and the Beier collection of Yoruba textiles and photographs at Amherst College.  Amherst organized the exhibition “Cloth Only Wears to Shreds,” which was presented at the Brush Art Gallery in 2005, alongside work by Chika Okeke-Agulu and Marcia Kure.

Image credit: Tola Adenle.


 

We are fortunate to bring Jessica Bailey to the AKALA project.  As Assistant Curator of Visual Resources at Johns Hopkins University, Jessica oversees the daily workflow of the department’s collection and coordinates image digitization, editing, and archiving.  She also provides original cataloging for a wide range of art and art-related objects, as well as reference and technical support for faculty and students.  She is familiar with both of the Gallery’s digital presentation formats, ContentDM and ARTstor, as well as metadata standards and vocabularies that we’ve adopted for our other digital collection projects.

Jessica holds a M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a B.A. in English from Penn State, where she worked with one of the artists in the AKALA project, Chika Okeke-Agulu.  She cataloged hundreds of examples of art from Yoruba, Nok, Igbo, and other West African cultures for Dr. Okeke-Agulu’s personal teaching collection and for the Penn State Department of Art History’s digital image collection.

bailey

I’ve decided to create a blog for the Nsukka artists and contemporary Nigerian art digital collections project. (Be sure to see the About page for a more complete description of the project.) The blog will be a forum that evolves over time to document our activities this year and also a site with links to artists’ Web sites and other Web-based resources, a cataloging bibliography, and teaching materials–writing and research assignments for courses and programs across the curriculum, including studio art assignments as well as ideas for music and performance classes. I’ve done a little research to see if I could find any similar sorts of blogs and haven’t found anything yet; I’ll keep looking.

With regard to blogging, I often refer back to a quote from Eric Janssen (NITLE) that he shared when he came to St. Lawrence to talk about teaching with technology in a liberal arts environment. “The process is the product.” It is a statement so simple on the one hand and one that has held true for every digital image collection I’ve worked on in the past few years. What better way to document both as we move forward on this project.