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Three innovative doctorates result from the TPAAE project

The TPAAE project, as part of its extensive research in the field of art and art education in a transcultural perspective, has been geared from the beginning to support the scientific development of the individual researchers involved. Now that we are nearing its conclusion we can rejoice in the results. 

Contemporary Art of Tanzania 

On December 5, 2023, Zofia Potakowska, majoring in History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the University of Lodz, defended her dissertation entitled. “We – Others. From Zoo Humains to Contemporary Art. The Case of Tanzania” written under the supervision of Prof. (UŁ) Aneta Pawłowska, PhD. The dissertation is based on field research conducted by Potakowska in East Africa as a volunteer at the National Museum in Szczecin. 

“Zofia Potakowska’s dissertation entitled. “We the Others. From Zoo Humains to Contemporary Art. The Case of Tanzania” is an original scholarly study devoted to the painting and sculpture of contemporary Tanzania. The work problematizes the issue of the relationship between us and others and observes it through the prism of approaches to contemporary art of the West and East Africa, which are in dialogue with each other. The author reports on the changes in the way African art has been understood from its positioning in the field of ethnographic interest, through its approach as primitive art (including within the concept of négritude) “to the moment when African art is becoming a full-fledged area of interest for many fields of study” (p. 5). The art of Africa, and Tanzania in particular, is a research case, allowing the author to insert herself into the discussion on decolonization not only politically, but especially socially and culturally. It is an arena of redefinition of cultural relations between the Global North and the Global South, expressed symbolically in the space of art, which is a graceful object of interest, providing opportunities for interesting research and deep analysis. This is the path followed by Zofia Potakowska aptly choosing the detailed subject of interest and field research, which is the art of Tanzania.” 

“Potakowska’s broad view of the subject under study combined with a focus on particular artistic styles and silhouettes is valuable. In the presented dissertation, the author presents both items that are the result of ethnographic research and from the field of art history, including items on the art of Africa, including Tanzania, which are still scarce to date. Her perspective is enriched by an outlook of a philosophical nature, recognizing the dissimilarity of European and African aesthetics as based on different aesthetic categories, as well as her own field research, which allows her to provide a broad and detailed treatment of the subject matter explored.” 

– excerpts from a review by Prof. (AS) Aleksandra Lukaszewicz PhD

Kenya’s first doctorate in painting 

On December 18, 2023 at 12:00 pm, the R+ Gallery in the ground floor of the Academy of Art in Szczecin will host the defense of the doctoral thesis in the field of Art in the discipline of Visual Arts and Conservation of Works of Art in the field of Painting by Anne Ntinyari Mwiti, MA, entitled. “Gwata Ntai: They did not get rid of the bruises left in the past. Ndagwata: The East African art of face and body painting by the Masai and related communities” which was created under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lukasz Skąpski.  

Reaching out to the face and body paintings of the Masai people of Kenya, northern Tanzania, and selected communities of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, as well as the riddles and proverbs of the Ameru people of eastern Kenya, Mwiti explores the third space in African contemporary art, located in the transition between the native and the globalized in the context of the theory of the “third space” – the postcolonial liminal space of Homi Bhabha (The Location of Culture 2004). At the same time, in this way, the author explores her own hybrid transcultural identity by creating minimalist abstractions formally reminiscent of the tradition of modernism but rooted in a different culture than the one from which modernism originated.

Fashion photography in the digital environment 

February will also see the defense of Emilia Lapko’s doctoral thesis, which deals with photography in the digital environment, where the medium is taking on an increasingly hybrid form. The subject of Łapko’s dissertation, created under the supervision of Prof. Hubert Czerepok, PhD, is “Artificial Paradises,” a metaphor for the world we have access to through the screen.  

Łapko’s research trips to Kenya as part of the TPAAE project have broadened her perspective to include research on the changes in fashion that are taking place in a rapidly developing society. The way identity is constructed through appearance is increasingly coupled with the digital world. 

Ph.D. Aneta Pawłowska, prof. University of Lodz
Ph.D. Aleksandra Łukaszewicz, prof. Academy of Art in Szczecin
prof. Ph.D. Lechosław Lameński, emeritus of the Catholic University of Lublin
priest prof. Ph.D. Jarosław Różański, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
Doctoral dissertation, summary in English. in English along with reviews are available on the website:-Faculty of Philosophy and History:

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