Faculty

photo, Drewall.

Henry J. Drewal

4117 Helen C. White Hall
608-263-2380
hjdrewal@wisc.edu

Henry J. Drewal is an art historian specializing in the arts of the Yoruba-speaking peoples of West Africa and the African Diaspora. His six years of research and study in Africa included apprenticeships with Yoruba sculptors. He is the author of Beads, Body, and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe (1998); Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (1989); Gelede: Art and Female Power Among the Yoruba (1983, 2nd Edition, 1990); exhibition catalogues: Introspectives: Contemporary Art By Americans and Brazilians of African Descent (1989); Shapes of the Mind (1988); African Artistry: Technique and Aesthetics in Yoruba Sculpture (1980); and numerous articles in African Arts and other journals. He is currently working on an exhibition/book project about the visual history and culture of the African water spirit, Mami Wata, and books on Ijebu-Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian art history.

Education

  • Ph.D., Columbia University, N.Y., 1973.
  • Certificate of African Studies (M.A.), Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, 1969.
  • M.A., Columbia University, 1968.
  • B.A., Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., 1964.

Books

  • 1998. Beads, Body, And Soul: Art And Light In The Yoruba Universe (with John Mason). Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 288 pp. (Finalist, Herskovits Award of ASA,1999, and ACASA Arnold Rubin Award, 2001)
  • 1996. Editor with introduction, "Reflecting on African Reflections," Elvehjem Museum of Art Bulletin, 1993-5, pp.5-79.
  • 1994. Editor with essay (with Rowland Abiodun and John Pemberton III) entitled The Yoruba Artist: New Theoretical Perspectives On African Arts. Smithsonian Institution Press with the support of the Societé Suisse d'Études Africaines and the Rietberg Museum, Switzerland. 275 pp.
  • 1991. Yoruba Art and Aesthetics (with Rowland Abiodun and John Pemberton III). Zurich: Rietberg Museum. 103 pp.
  • 1989. Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art And Thought (with John Pemberton III and Rowland Abiodun). New York: Alfred Knopf and The Center for African Art. 256 pp.
  • 1989: Introspectives: Contemporary Art by Americans and Brazilians of African Descent (with David Driskell). Los Angeles: The California Afro-American Museum. 104 pp.
  • 2002. "Celebrating Water Spirits: Influence, Confluence, and Difference in Ijebu-Yoruba and Delta Masqueraades," in Ways of The River: Arts And Environment of The Niger Delta (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History), pp. 193-215, 353.

Selected Publications

  • 2001. Common Ties: Dots, Dashes, Beads, Beauty (Madison: Wisconsin Union Gallery). 10 pp.
  • 2001. "Crowning Glories: Hair, Head, Style, and Substance in Yoruba Culture," in Tenderheaded: a Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories, eds. Juliette Harris and Pamela Johnson. New York: Simon and Schuster, pp. 227-36.
  • 2000. "Terre et Tonnerre: L'Art Yoruba destine aux Ancestres et aux Dieux," ["Of Earth, Ancestors, and Gods: Yoruba Art for Osugbo and Sango"] in Arts D'Afrique (Paris: Dapper Museum and Gallimard), pp. 49-65, 324-5.
  • 1999. "Art History, Agency & Identity: Yoruba Transcultural Currents in the Making of Black Brazil," in Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization, UCLA Latin American Center Publications, pp. 143-174.
  • 1999. "Memory and Agency: Bantu and Yoruba Arts in Brazilian Culture," in Diaspora and Visual Culture, ed. N. Mirzoeff (London: Routledge), pp. 241-253.
  • 1998. "Gelede: Masking for Our Mothers among Yoruba-Speaking Peoples," Art and Life in Africa -- Cd-Rom Project, Christopher D. Roy, ed. (Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa).
  • 1997. "Ogun and Mind/Body Potentiality: Yoruba Scarification and Painting Traditions in Africa and the Americas," (with John Mason) in S. Barnes, ed. Africa's Ogun (2nd rev. ed.), pp. 332-352.
  • 1996. "Aesthetic Evaluations (African)," and "Yoruba," The Dictionary of Art. London: Macmillan, Vol. 1, pp. 235-40, Vol. 33, pp. 553-60.
  • 1996. "Pasts as Prologues: Empowering African Cultural Institutions," in P. Schmidt and R. McIntosh, eds. Plundering Africa's Past. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 110-124.
  • 1996. "Signifyin' Saints: Sign, Substance & Subversion in Afro-Brazilian Art," in A. Lindsay, ed. Santeria Aesthetics in Contemporary Latin American Art. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 263-289.
  • 1996. "Mami Wata Shrines: Exotica and the Construction of Self," in M. J. Arnoldi, C. M. Geary, and K. Hardin, eds. African Material Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 308-333.

Research Interests

Arts (visual and performing) of Africa and African Diasporas including the Americas (Brazil, Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, Cuba) and South Asia (India).

Courses Taught

  • Graduate Seminar: "Representation/Exhibition: Practicing Theory"
  • Graduate Seminar: "Diaspora Dynamics"
  • Graduate Seminar: "Arts of Masking in Africa and Diaspora"
  • Graduate Seminar: "Imaging the West in Africa, Asia, and the Americas"
  • Graduate Seminar: "Theories & Field Methods”
  • Graduate Seminar: “African Art”
  • Seminar: "African Art: Image and Idea"
  • Graduate Seminar: "Yoruba Art History and Philosophy"
  • African Antiquity Seminar
  • Art and Artists in Africa Seminar
  • Undergraduate Seminar: "Beads, Body & Soul”
  • African Art: The Arts of the Yoruba
  • Afro-American Studies 241: Introduction to African Art and Architecture
  • Art History 479: Art and History in Africa