AboutDavid Heathcote will be delivering a one-hour presentation consisting of illustrated comments on aspects of Hausa art as an introduction to his 20-minute film Hausa Art in Northern Nigeria, followed by a screening of the film itself.
David was an art student in Canterbury and at the Slade. From 1960-67 he taught Art and English in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) before taking charge of Art History at Ahmadu Bello University in northern Nigeria (1967-79). Foreseeing that modern technology would inevitably bring drastic changes to Nigerian culture he embarked on an effort to record the traditional work of artists living in Hausaland, where he was working.
David's research began as a doctoral study of Hausa embroidered dress, which then expanded into the collection of all the artefacts, documentation and photographs for the major Arts of the Hausa exhibition shown at the Commonwealth Institute as part of the 1976 World of Islam Festival in London. Over a hundred items of Hausa embroidered dress collected during this period are among a number of artefacts he collected that are now in the British Museum.
The idea of making a film was inspired by the fact that Ahmadu Bello University had acquired a 16mm cine camera. With little time before the 1976 exhibition, and no instructions for the camera or previous experience of film-making, David nevertheless bought film stock and embarked on the widest survey his limited length of film would allow. However, the subsequent processes for developing and editing the film, and adding commentary and music, were not available locally, so the first screening took place not in 1976, but rather later, in 1978.