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Cécile Fromont to Lecture on Kongo Christian Visual Culture

September 29, 2014

Professor Cécile Fromont will speak on “The Art of Conversion: Kongo Christian Visual Culture in the Early Modern Atlantic World” on September 29 in McCormick 106 at 4:30 pm.

Fromont is assistant professor of art history at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include the relationship between artistic form and religious thought, the visual syntax of belief systems, cross-cultural translation by visual means, the role of art and architecture in the political history of the kingdom of Kongo and of the Portuguese colony of Angola, the role of Christian art and rituals in the experience of enslavement in colonial Brazil, the history of artistic encounters between Europeans and Africans, and art and colonialism.

Her forthcoming book, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), examines the advent of Kongo Christian visual culture and traces its development across four centuries marked by war, the Atlantic slave trade, and the rise of 19th-century European colonialism. Using extensive analysis of the religious, political, and artistic innovations through which the Kongo embraced Christianity, her book documents the country’s conversion as a dynamic process that unfolded across centuries and shows how Kongo actively participated in the Atlantic world as an independent, cosmopolitan realm.

This is the first of four lectures organized by Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu in connection with the exhibition Kongo Across the Waters, on view at the Princeton University Art Museum from October 25, 2014, to January 25, 2015. The lectures are cosponsored by the Department of Art and Archaeology, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Center for African American Studies.

Join us on September 29, in McCormick 106, at 4:30 pm, as Professor Fromont discusses this fascinating and neglected realm of visual culture.