He captures eloquently how Africa challenges Western ideals of authenticity:
“Taste is habit, a form of learned behavior. And habit is what we rely on to make us feel at home and comfortable in the world. So judgment based primarily on taste, like most art criticism, is inherently conservative, predictable, fixed.
Africa is a habit breaker. It teaches that the ideal of unalterable tradition is an illusion, that change itself is a tradition, maybe the great modern one. It teaches that now is as authentic as then and already is then. If, on an African visit, such thoughts kick in at all, chances are they ‘ll grow larger and realer. As you gradually- confusedly, delightedly- come to realize, the basic experience of being here is learning how much you don’t know.”