Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 29, December 2001 

 
 

REVIEW

Glendora Review: African Quarterly on the Arts, vol. 3 no. 2. Plus Glendora Books supplement no. 6 2001
ISSN 1118-146X. Annual subscription: individuals inside Africa $70, outside Africa $92/58. Institutions inside Africa $82, outside Africa $112/70. Glendora International Nig. Limited, 168 Awolowo Road, PO Box 50914, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. +234 1 2692762 (tel/fax), email: 05271.11@compuserve.com; www.glendora-eculture.com

Position: An International Arts Review, vol. 1 no. 2. Plus Review of Books supplement
ISSN 1595-6512. Annual subscription: individuals inside Africa $70, outside Africa $95/68. Institutions inside Africa $85, outside Africa $135/75. Back Page Productions 33, Little Road, PO Box 604, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, +234 1 4707570 (tel), +234 1 866910 (fax), email: positionngr@yahoo.com; www.positionmagazine.com [site under construction]

Review by Sulaiman Adebowale

Both Glendora Review and Position reconfirm that the shortcomings of identity-embedded construction are not so glaring because of the fluid diverse nature of the inhabitants of the world we live in. Rather, that the seemingly distinguishing elements among groups, peoples, classes, individuals etc., are becoming more in line with the varying approaches to how we define and redefine ourselves today. Hence, the similarity and divergence of these two bold publications from Nigeria on popular arts and culture.

Where Glendora Review positions itself in the backdrop of 'a time of swift and confounding changes...that simultaneously invites and rejects statements of self-definition and redefinition...that the idea of "Africa" would seem most problematic' (p.144), Position reviews conventional publishing concepts of market and readership. Instead of answering the questions 'who do you publish for? Which is your world?', it retorts with 'Position. Whose position?' It believes 'that maintaining faithfulness to a defined geography of publishing would be at the expense of sincerity... [when] there are enduring principles ...[which] owe no citizenships nor keep nationality boundaries. There are experiences that we share, sometimes painful experiences; in relating with them we learn about other lessons that bring us into a better understanding of ourselves and situations' (p. 3).

Equally audacious is what they have both set out to achieve. Glendora believes it is on the right track by 'consciously cultivating an aesthetic space for heterodoxy, a celebration of the eclectic, and even the confounding'. It reiterates that given the context of its being 'forged in the crucible of marginalization', its role as a vehicle for varying forms of literary and artistic genres becomes the more relevant for creative artists around the 'African hemispheres'. As a reminder, this well-produced journal is bold in typography and design, with typefaces literally collapsing and merging on top of one another.

In its third volume and backed by a new team of substantive editors and editorial board (comprising Sola Olorunyomi, Akin Adesokan, Olakunle Tejuoso, and Ololade Bamidele), Glendora promises a 'fascinating experience'. In this issue, Glendora attempts a 'utopian' exploration of that phantasmagoric city of contradictions called Lagos. Utopian not for its depiction of Lagos but, as Dele Jegede, the guest editor admits, for the limitations of trying to capture the essence of such a complex city in a medium as the journal. Yet the issue manages to paint a rich nostalgic and contemporary canvas of Lagos. Elements of anonymity and indifference are captured through architecture, night life, music, video film-making, poetry etc; the mixed bag of colours and sounds which make the city both vibrant and pitiful. A city bursting with relentless energy amidst collapsing infrastructure and barbed-wire fences.

Position in its vol. 1 no. 2 issue suggests another stimulating attempt at reaching out to spaces - or 'pulses' - of transition both within and without, at home and abroad, with a view to understanding our changing selves and environments. The images of Beirut, Lebanon and the Niger Delta in Nigeria impact strikingly for both their familiarity and explosiveness. There is an ironic twist to the fact that, in the eyes of for instance the Lagosian or the West African, the images of the Lebanese 'other' merge so much with theirs. With a group of informed editors and contributors (Dapo Adeniyi, Ben Zulu, Maja Pearce, Kofi Anyidoho, Mia Couto, Bisi Sylva, Karen King-Aribisala, Funso Aiyejina, Omowunmi Segun and Remi Raji-Oyelade), one would also expect an exciting exploration.

Arguably, these are seductive yet daring perspectives from two publications devoted to contemporary art forms and culture. Scholarly publishing, in which the two publications are camped, is a tough cookie. Much as we may want to view multiple spaces in multiple times with multiple eyes, the bottom line in a ruthless, dogmatic, unforgiving sector still remains sustainability. That is, regular, high quality and efficiently distributed publications. Long may they succeed.  [end]  [BPN, no 29, 2001, p 13.]

 

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