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Danila Mayer

The Istanbul Biennial (IB) editions, as cultural events for the wider region and the Middle East, are examined in this article with regard to their relevance for art and artists and their interactions with their host city. Biennials of contemporary art, as main exhibition events of the present, and the urban transformations of Istanbul form the context of the research. Biennials, including the IB, often address controversial topics. Accordingly, the discrepancy between the critical stance of curators and artists, as well as the uses that a Biennial is subjected to by various interest groups, has to be taken under scrutiny.

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Keeping the Goddess Alive

Performing Culture and Remembering the Past in Osogbo, Nigeria

Peter Probst

This article focuses on the debate about cultural heritage in the context of art, history, and politics in the Yoruba town of Osogbo in southwest Nigeria. Some forty years ago, Osogbo became the center of a vibrant art scene. Today Osogbo’s fame as a symbol for the renaissance of Yoruba art and culture has faded. What has survived, however, is the debate about the shrines and sculptures shaped by the Austrian-born artist, Susanne Wenger, and her local collaborators in the grove of Osogbo’s guardian deity Osun. It is argued that the present day conflicts about the meaning of the image works standing in the Osun grove are based upon their perception not so much as art but rather as media which in the very sense of the word—mediate between different realms of social importance in terms of time, space, power, and wealth.