Henry Drewal

Position title: Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison

An apprenticeship with a Yoruba sculptor in Nigeria transformed his life and led him to interdisciplinary studies at Columbia University in African art history and culture where he earned two Masters’ degrees and a PhD. Since 1991 he has been the Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. His published work includes several books, edited volumes, exhibition catalogues, and many articles on African/African Diaspora arts: Introspectives: Contemporary Art by Americans and Brazilians of African Descent; Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought; Beads, Body, and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe; and Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and its Diasporas. His current work, called Sensiotics, considers the crucial role of the senses in shaping body-minds, arts, cultures, and histories that inspired the current multi-sensorial, interactive exhibition Whirling Return of the Ancestors.