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Curator, Writer

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir

  • CountryUnited States
  • Born1961


Sidney Kasfir entered the PhD program in fine arts at Harvard but interrupted her studies for several years to run the Nommo Gallery in Uganda, then the country’s only venue for contemporary art.

She earned her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 1981 after three years spent at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria researching 19th and 20th-century art history among the Idoma. Since then her work has been focused on local encounters between “traditional” African art production and modernity in the form of commodified genres.

From 1991 to 2002 Kasfir made annual visits to Samburu district in northern Kenya or tourist enclaves at the Kenya coast and have produced a book African Art and the Colonial Encounter: Inventing a Global Commodity, published in 2007. In 2003 she also spent time in Uganda studying the effects of globalisation on two groups: professionally trained artists from Makerere University and political refugee artists from the eastern Congo who made sculptures for the global tourist market.

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