Wole Soyinka's Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse, and Dissonance in African Art Traditions offers a highly personal perspective on the complex role of art traditions in contemporary Africa. For Soyinka, aesthetic considerations need to constitute the core of the world of African art because the ambiguous connections of the aesthetic with political, ideological, and cultural experiences mediate the ongoing debate on the contemporary conditions of social life in Africa. As the book's title suggests, what lies beyond a meaningful use of African aesthetics is the challenge of recalibrating the politics of perception, framing, and circulation of artistic heritage in and outside Africa because political and ideological interests have generated a practice of abuse and dissonance that negates any transformative use of art in Africa's personal, sociocultural, and political spheres. Soyinka advocates for a new appreciation of the social and political significance of African art traditions and an innovative valuation of traditional...

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