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Highlights from David Olusoga

David Olusoga is a historian, broadcaster and filmmaker and he writes regularly for The Guardian and The Observer. David employs his expertise in Empire and military history to look at the relationships between global cultures and at the notion of Progress. Here are three striking examples from his films.

16th - 17th Century

David Olusoga

The Benin Bronzes

David Olusoga views the Benin Bronzes, brought to London in 1897, as tragic works of art, loaded with a sense of loss. They are evidence of a sophisticated culture Victorian Britons could barely believe existed in Africa.

18th Century

David Olusoga

Bamboo in Wind and Rain and Cracked Ice - Maruyama Okyo

The optical devices Dutch traders took to Japan influenced the way her artists depicted the world. Okyo’s drawing of cracked ice is, according to David Olusoga, one of the most sophisticated works of cultural synthesis ever made.


David Olusoga

Bar at the Folies Bergères - Manet

Manet’s painting of a barmaid was still in his studio when he died and its disturbing undertones belie its surface beauty. It’s a masterclass in ambiguity in which a forlorn figure stands in the middle of a place of glamour and luxury.