Where no art history exists, critical journals and other related platforms are crucial to molding its discourse and involve all the intellectual processes that such an undertaking implies. In a newly developing field such as contemporary African art, a critical journal should play a significant role in creating the very discourse of the discipline itself.
NKA represents a step forward in that direction. The field of contemporary African and African Diaspora art has been neglected within the art historical debate. Despite growing interest in the field and the modernist and postmodernist experience, most mainstream art periodicals have marginalized African and Diaspora arts in general, let alone the contemporary forms. The few journals that exist in the field of African art either focus primarily on the ethnographic and the so-called traditional or authentic art forms, or give a cursory and mostly superficial look at the contemporary forms. Hence, NKA serves as an urgently needed platform, filling a serious gap in the field. It would be right to say that it has in a short period placed contemporary African art in a global perspective and brought significant aspects of contemporary African culture to the awareness of the world.
NKA has since its inception made an appreciable difference in the lives and careers of numerous African artists, especially those living in the continent who otherwise have little chance of receiving the visibility and support which they desperately need and deserve. It is the editors’ conviction that NKA has made and will continue to make significant contributions to the intellectual dialogue on world art and the discourse on internationalism and multiculturalism in the arts.
NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art is published two times a year by Duke University Press and began with the autumn 1994/winter 1995 issue. NKA has established contacts and connections with African and African diaspora artists and art critics, academics, museums, galleries, and other art-related institutions. It is edited by three leading scholars, art critics, and curators who are actively engaged in the field of contemporary African art: Salah M. Hassan is Goldwin Smith Professor in the Africana Studies and Research Center, Professor of African and African Diaspora art history and visual culture in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University; Chika Okeke-Agulu is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Center for African American Studies, Princeton University; Okwui Enwezor is Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich.