Critical Writing Index

The Archaeology of Origin: Transnational Visions of Africa in Borderless Cinema

by Sheila Petty

The Archaeology of Origin, 1999, pp. 1,6-19

Montreal: ABC Art Books, 1999

Dr. Sheila Petty discusses the (re)construction of transnational Black African identity in contemporary African cinema. Petty cites the historically arbitrary displacement of African populations from their native homeland as starting point for the dialectical contestation and reconciliation of ancestral origins and identity recollection in the post-colonial lives of subsequent diasporic generations.

Petty's selection of cinema work comprises an array of transnational perspectives to depict the "loss and hope as defining tension" (Clifford,312; Petty 7) of diasporic consciousness. Subject matter ranges from the initial denial of Africanicty in Sankofa or Sugar Cane Valley to the technologically-determined appropriation of sci-fi filmic conventions in The Last Angel of History for illustrating complex cycles of transnational Self-Other alienation.

In sum, Petty's curating and research of diasporic perspectives culminating to the Archaeology of Origin elucidates the complex, transformative and negotiative nature of intercultural contemporary Black African identity construction.

ITEM 1999.087 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

SankofaHaile Gerima

Rue Cases-Negres/Sugar Cane ValleyEuzhan Pancy

The Last Angel of HistoryJohn Akomfrah

L'homme sur les quais/The Man by the ShoreRaoul Peck

Ye Wonz Maibel/DelugeSalem Mekuria

Welcome to AfricvilleDana Inkster

Making ChangeColina Philips