Slade Lectures 2023

"African Artists in the Age of the Big Man". Presented by Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu, Slade Professor 2022-23

chika slade lectures 2023 website

Chika Okeke-Agulu, an artist, critic and art historian, is Director of the Program in African Studies and Professor of African and African Diaspora art in the Department of African American Studies, and Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University. Born in Umuahia, Nigeria, Okeke-Agulu earned an MFA (Painting) from the University of Nigeria, and PhD (Art History) from Emory University.

His books include El Anatsui. The Reinvention of Sculpture (Damiani, 2022); African Artists: From 1882 to Now (Phaidon, 2021); Yusuf Grillo: Painting. Lagos. Life (Skira, 2020); Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text (Skira, 2016); Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (Duke UP, 2015); and Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (Damiani, 2010). His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, The Guardian (Lagos), October, Huffington Post and South Atlantic Quarterly. He is co-editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and writes the blog Ọfọdunka.

He recently organized (with Okwui Enwezor) the travelling survey El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2019). Okeke-Agulu has co-organised numerous other art exhibitions, including Who Knows Tomorrow, Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2010); Fifth Gwangju Biennale (2004); The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2001); Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1995) and the Nigerian section, First Johannesburg Biennale (1995). He is on the curatorial team of Sharjah Biennial (2023).

Okeke-Agulu serves on the advisory boards of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre, Tate Modern, London, The Africa Institute, Sharjah, and Bët-bi/Le Korsa Museum Project, Senegal. He is also on the advisory council of Mpala Research Center, Nanyuki, Kenya; serves on the executive board of Princeton in Africa, and on the editorial board of Journal of Visual Culture.

His many awards include Honourable Mention, Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award, Arts Council of African Studies Association (2017); The Melville J. Herskovits Prize for the most important scholarly work in African Studies published in English during the preceding year (African Studies Association, 2016); and Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism (College Art Association, 2016). 

The lecture series - "African Artists in the Age of the Big Man"- takes place this term, Hilary Term 2023, in the Examinations School, High Street, Oxford.  #oxfordsladelectures


Lecture 1: African Artists in the Age of the Big Man, Wednesday 18 January, 5pm 

Lecture 2: Gazbia Sirry and Egyptian artists in the Nasserite State, 1950s-1960s, Wednesday 25 January, 5pm-6pm

Due to unforeseen circumstances, please be advised of a change of date for the following lectures:

Lecture 3: To speak in Parables: Dumile Feni in Hendrik Verwoerd’s South Africa, 1960s, Friday 3 February, 5-6pm, East School Room, Examinations School, High Street, Oxford

Lecture 4: Prison Drawing: Ibrahim El Salahi in Al Nimeiry’s Sudan, 1970s, Friday 17 February, 5pm-6pm, South Schools, Examinations School, High Street, Oxford

Lecture 5: Drawing the Line: Obiora Udechukwu and Nigeria’s Smiling General 1980s-1990, Friday 24 February, 5pm-6pm, South Schools, Examinations School, High Street, Oxford

Lecture 6: Defiant Sculpture: Isek Bodys Kingelez and Mobutu Sese-Seko’s Authenticité, 1990s, DATE TO BE CONFIRMED.  Online lecture - booking essential.  More details to follow. 


For any further information, please email