Beier, Ulli (1922–2011) By Greven, Katharina
Ulli Beier (b. 1922, Glowitz, Poland – d. 2011, Sydney, Australia) was a Polish-born publisher, writer, translator, lecturer, curator, theatre producer, and particularly a promoter and collector of arts. Throughout his career, Beier’s interests shifted between Aboriginal Art in Australia, outsider art in India and Papua New Guinea, but the focus of his life’s work was centered in Nigeria, where he would come to shape the arts as one of the first outsiders to recognize and support the emerging modern art movement in this country. By promoting and collecting traditional and modern art he shaped a very specific image of Africa. Beier’s initiatives such as the Black Orpheus magazine, the Mbari-Club in Ibadan, and the Mbari-Mbayo-Club in Osogbo helped new forms of African art to develop a voice and aesthetic. From 1981–1996, Beier was the director of the Center of African Culture at the University in Bayreuth, the Iwalewa-Haus, where he continued to promote art from all over the world, in exhibitions, festivals and publications, until he retired with his wife Georgina Beier to Sydney, Australia, where he died in 2011.