This essay examines the deployment of written and visual narratives in Chris Abani’s novel GraceLand (2004). The novel treats photographs, films, and other visual representations of cities as emerging cultural narratives in Nigeria. Images of other urban spaces, such as Las Vegas and Budapest, speak to the younger generation’s desire for an alternative urban existence outside of the Lagos slum, while traditional oral and written narratives represent fading notions of cultural solidarity, nationhood, and collective national identity. While Abani’s novel reaffirms the important role literary exchange has played in formations of diaspora, it opens a space for us to consider the ways in which visual narratives are renegotiating and redefining contemporary notions of it. The deployment of visual media in Grace- Land extends formations of diaspora to tropes of images and the interplay between written and visual narratives and it accounts for how visual media shape notions of diaspora in the twenty-first century.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory