World is Africa brings together more than 30 important texts by Eddie Chambers, who for several decades has been an original and a critical voice within the field of African diaspora art history. The texts range from book chapters and catalogue essays, to shorter texts. Chambers focuses on contemporary artists and their practices, from a range of international locations, who for the most part are identified with the African diaspora. None of the texts are available online and none have been available outside of the original publication in which they first appeared.
The volume contains several new pieces of writing, including a consideration of the art world ‘fetishization’ of the 1980s, as the manifestation of a reluctance to accept the majority of Black British artists as valid individual practitioners, choosing instead to shackle them to exhibitions that took place three decades ago. Another new text re-examines the ‘map paintings’ of Frank Bowling, the Guyana-born artist who was the subject of a major retrospective at Tate Britain in 2019. The third introduces the little-known record sleeve illustrations of Charles White, the American artist who was the subject of a major retrospective in 2018 at major galleries across the US. Among the other new texts is a critical reflection on the patronage the Greater London Council extended to Black artists in 1980s London.
World is Africa makes a valuable contribution to the emerging discipline of black British art history, the field of African diaspora studies and African diaspora art history.