SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Savage, Polly (2022) '‘The New Life’: Mozambican Art Students in the USSR, and the Aesthetic Epistemologies of Anticolonial Solidarity.' Art History, 45 (5). pp. 1078-1100.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0).

Download (3MB) | Preview


This essay traces the histories and reverberations of the socialist scholarship programmes which brought art and graphic design students from Africa to the USSR during the 1980s. Drawing on the accounts and archives of art students and cultural workers who participated in or supported these programmes, it follows the path of one Mozambican cohort through a Graphic Design degree in Uzbekistan. It shows how, by navigating between the emancipatory opportunities offered by the programme, and the pedagogical expressions of state power that constrained it, the students developed affiliations and aesthetic positions which would survive, appropriate, and resist dominant geopolitical epistemologies. Ultimately, I argue that their artworks and recollections allow alternative, unofficial histories of Cold War solidarity networks to come into sharper focus.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts
Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General)
N Fine Arts
ISSN: 14678365
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2023 10:29
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item