With the recent protests that began in America and has caused black communities all over the world to fight for justice, we recognise the importance of these battles we face. Sometimes words are not enough, action is needed.
Representation, visibility and wealth, these are a few things that are important to black and African individuals and artists. At Art News Africa, our aim is to shine the light on individuals and institutions that continue to create, uplift and contribute to the culture.
And thus, we are back again! This time, with Part 2 of our curators list. If you missed the first list, read up on it here (insert hyperlink for article above).
Nana Oforiatta Ayim
Nana Oforiatta Ayim is a writer, filmmaker and art historian. She studied Russian and Politics and worked for the Eastern European section of the Department of Political Affairs of United Nations in New York. She then went on to do a Masters in African Art History. She is a founder of the ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge through which she has pioneered such projects as The Mobile Museum and The Pan-African Cultural Encyclopedia; curating groundbreaking exhibitions such as Ghana’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019; and speaking globally on cultural narratives and institution-building in countries like Ghana, Senegal, the UK, US, Germany, Holland, Denmark, France and Brazil. She has made several films, a cross of fiction, travel essay, and documentary, that have been shown at museums like The New Museum, Tate Modern, and LACMA.
She has written for publications like frieze, ArtNews, African Metropolitan Architecture; and her first novel, The God Child, was published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2019. She is the recipient of various awards and honours, having been named one of the Apollo ’40 under 40’; one of 50 African Trailblazers by The Africa Report; one of 12 African women making history by Okayafrica; and a Quartz Africa Innovator. She received the 2015 the Art & Technology Award from LACMA; the 2016 AIR Award, which “seeks to honour and celebrate extraordinary African artists who are committed to producing provocative, innovative and socially-engaging work”; the inaugural 2018 Soros Arts Fellowship, and was a 2018 Global South Visiting Fellow at Oxford University. She has been appointed to the Advisory Council of Oxford University from January 2020, will be a MOMA Curatorial Leadership Fellow from March 2020, and a Principal Investigator for the Action for African Cultural Restitution from April 2020.
Osei Bonsu is a British-Ghanaian curator, critic and art historian based in London and Paris. His activities encompass exhibition programming, publishing and cultural strategy in the field of visual arts. He has developed projects focused on transnational histories of art, collaborating with museums, galleries and private collections internationally. In 2017, he curated the 10th edition of Satellites, an exhibition co-commissioned by Jeu de Paume and CAPC: Centre for Contemporary Art, Bordeaux. He has also worked on the development of a number of projects focusing on African art, including ‘Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America’ (Saatchi Gallery, 2015) and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (2013-14). He holds a Masters in History of Art from University College London, where he earned a distinction for his dissertation on Surrealism and African sculpture. Bonsu is a contributing editor at frieze magazine.
Joseph Gergel is the director of JG | Curatorial Projects, an art advisory firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. He currently serves as Director of the Arthouse Foundation’s Artist Residency Program in Lagos, and is a Specialist/Curator at Arthouse Contemporary, the international auction house. He is also Senior Editor at Moon Man, an experimental publication based in London that profiles global art and culture, and is a founder/director of ARTOJA, the online marketplace for contemporary African art and design. Gergel served as co-curator for three editions of the Lagos Photo Festival and as a curator at Art Twenty One and African Artist’s Foundation (AAF) in Lagos. He has contributed to international publications of contemporary art including The New Yorker, Foam, Aperture, British Journal of Photography, DIS Magazine, Guernica, I AM and Art Africa.
Sarah Rifky is co-founder of Beirut, an art initiative in Cairo, and founder of CIRCA (Cairo International Resource Center for Art). She has served as artistic director of ArteEast in New York (2017–18), co-curator of Jogjakarta Biennale XII (2013), curator of Townhouse (2009–11), and curatorial Agent for dOCUMENTA(13) (2012). She is co-editor of Thresholds 47: Repeat, Positionen: Zeitgenössische Künstler aus der Arabischen Welt and Damascus: Artists, Tourists and Secret Agents. She is author of The Going Insurrection (2012). Rifky is a Ph.D. candidate in History, Theory and Criticism and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Antawan I. Byrd
Antawan I. Byrd is Assistant Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and a PhD candidate in modern and contemporary art history at Northwestern University. His dissertation, Interferences: Sound, Technology, and the Politics of Listening in Afro-Atlantic Art, examines how artists in Africa and the African diaspora combine sound and visual technologies to address mid-twentieth century politics.
Byrd was co-curator of Kader Attia: Reflecting Memory (2017) at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art, and an associate curator for Telling Time, the 10th Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography (2015). He edited the biennale’s publication (Kerher Verlag, 2015), and co-curated [Re]Générations: Une exploration des archives des Rencontres de Bamako, which received the 2017 Award for Curatorial Excellence by the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. Byrd was a curatorial assistant for J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Moments of Beauty (Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, 2011), and a Fulbright fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos from 2009-2011. His writing has recently appeared in Sanlé Sory: Volta Photo (Steidl & The Art Institute of Chicago, 2018), Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art (Steidl & The Walther Collection, 2017), and “Platform Africa” (Aperture, May 2017).