Sela Adjei - the power of authentically African artistic research
Sela’s work as an artistic researcher first came to our attention with a paper he presented at the ARA2020 Conference in Johannesburg. Entitled "The Philosophy of Art in Ewe-Vodu Religion", in his paper he described his engagement with the Ewe-Vodu belief system through a combination of auto-ethnography and his own artistic practice. In the field of artistic research which is so dominated by paradigms developed in the Global North, Sela’s paper was a flash of light from a genuinely African perspective. Not only did Sela’s paper seek to integrate African art, philosophy and indigenous knowledge systems into modern art practices. He also described the spirtual paradigm shift that he went through as a result of his artistic research.
In this conversation, we explore Sela’s journey as an artist and researcher, and examine the challenge of engaging with forms of esoteric knowledge in Africa that do not reveal themselves to outsiders. We also look at the impact the American/Black Lives Matter and the endSARS protests in Nigeria on Sela’s work and how this manifests in his latest collaborative exhibition, Zadokeli.