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Art as Time-Lines: Family Representation in Sacral Spaces

Nkiru Nzegwu


This essay brings together strands of philosophy and modes of African representation to explore the intersecting categories of time, space and reality in the creative expressions of African artists. Taking family spaces as points of departure, I focus on the complex idea of time- lines that family memorials and artists representation of sacral objects reveal about how we inhabit spaces, inscribe values to such spaces, and carry the articulated systems within us. Drawing attention to the philosophical ideas behind these memorials and artistic forms, I trace the temporal lines these objects chart in expanding our spatio-temporal notion of reality, and in linking our experiential present to the past, future, and the afterlife. The idea of objects as time-lines speaks to the imaginative ways forms of representation code information and knowledge, and alludes to the existence of different spheres of life. To better describe our situatedness in the realms of the physical, the mental, and the pneumatic, I use the terms body-space, ideational space, and spirit-space to capture the different conditions and qualities of the three environments, and to simultaneously complicate and enrich our understanding of uwa (universe). Body- space, refers to the physical environment of our everyday pattern of action and social interaction; ideational space, refers to the non-tangible mental realm of thoughts, ideas and concepts; while spirit-space, refers to mmuo or the

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Ijele: Art eJournal of the African World. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editor: Nkiru Nzegwu; Film Review Editor: Phyllis J. Jackson; Exhibition/Curator & Book Review Editor: Azuka Nzegwu

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