Kofi Kayiga – The Construction of an Identity

Born to a Cuban mother and a Jamaican father in 1943, in Kingston, Jamaica, Kofi Kayiga - the former Ricardo Wilkins - has traversed several spaces, both external (geographic) and internal (ideological). Having studied at the Jamaica School of Art, The Royal College of Art, London, and Makerere University, Uganda, where he also taught, Kayiga has been at the forefront of that movement, begun in the late 1960s, for the affirmation of that seminal place of an African cosmology in the creation of his art as a New World individual. History accounts that this “New World” arose from the meeting of Europe and Africa on alien soil. This significant undertaking was to influence a generation of Jamaican artists from the 1970s through the 1990s. Escaping possible harm at the hands of Idi Amin’s soldiers, Kayiga returned to the Caribbean to head the Department of Painting at the then Jamaica School of Art in Kingston. He now holds a professorship at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston. This paper takes as its core the locating of Kofi Kayiga within that broad construct of Identity, examining those selfsame indices that are the foundation upon which his work flourish. This it will do from an ideological, religious, social and political perspective, employing that rich tapestry which is Kayiga’s oeuvre.



Author Information
Courtney A. Hogarth, The University of the West Indies, Jamaica

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Arts - Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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