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DATE & TIME

29 November 2022 - 29 November 2022

6:30PM - 6:30PM

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‘When We See Us’: Black is Beautiful: Pan-Africanism & the Afropolitan Impulse in Contemporary Art

Following the successful public opening of the much-anticipated exhibition titled When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting, the webinar series – a parallel discursive programme that provides a theoretical framing for the project –  continues via Zoom.

The next episode in the series is titled Black is Beautiful: Pan-Africanism & the Afropolitan Impulse in Contemporary Art and will consider the identifiable turn towards Black figuration and portraiture as a way of visualising a liminal and multifaceted sense of Black identity and experience in the work of contemporary artists of African descent. It will furthermore inform and complicate our perception of contemporary Black identities, inviting connection and relation across the African diaspora. 

Conceived by Zeitz MOCAA in collaboration with the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the When We See Us webinar series is part of a larger project that comprises a major exhibition of the same name as well as an extensive publication. When We See Us will attempt to unveil the deeper historic contexts and networks of a complex and underrepresented genealogy that stems from African and Black modernities and spans several generations from the early 20th century to the present. To watch previous episodes, please click here.

Zeitz MOCAA’s curatorial and exhibition programming is generously supported by Gucci.

Date and time: 

Tuesday, 29 November 2022
6.30 pm SAST,  12.30 pm EST

Cost: The series is free and takes place via Zoom. No registration is required.

Event link: us06web.zoom.us/j/81274809286


Participating Speakers:

Nana Adusei-Poku (PhD)

Nana Adusei-Poku, PhD, is Assistant Professor in African Diasporic At History in the Department of History of Art at UC Berkeley in California, United States. She was previously Associate Professor and Luma Foundation Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York. She is the author of Taking Stakes in the Unknown: Tracing Post-Black Art (2021) and editor of Reshaping the Field: Art of the African Diaspora on Display (2022). Her articles have been published in Nka: Journal of Contempoary African Art, e-flux, Kunstforum International, Flash Art, L’Internationale  and darkmatter. She has also curated events, including Performances of Nothingness at the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany (2018) and Black Melancholia at the Hessel Museum, Bard College, New York (2022).


O’Neil Lawrence, Chief Curator, National Gallery of Jamaica

An artist, curator, researcher and writer, O’Neil Lawrence has worked at the National Gallery of Jamaica in various capacities since 2008, most recently as Chief Curator. He was the lead curator on the exhibitions Seven Women Artists (2015), Masculinities (2015), I Shall Return Again (2018) and Beyond Fashion (2018). His photography and video work have been included in several international exhibitions, most notably Rockstone and Bootheel at Real Art Ways, Connecticut  2009), In Another Place and Here at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (2015), and his solo show Son of a Champion at Mutual Gallery, Kingston ( 2012). His research interests include race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean and African diasporal art and visual culture; memory, identity and hidden archives; and photography as a medium and social vehicle. In 2018, Lawrence served on the board of the Davidoff Art Initiative and he is currently on the Advisory Council of the Caribbean Art Initiative.


Renée Akitelek Mboya, writer, curator and filmmaker

Renée Akitelek Mboya is a writer, curator and filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her custom is one that relies on biography and storytelling as a form of research and production. Renée is presently preoccupied with looking and speaking about images and the ways in which they are produced but especially how they have come to play a critical role as evidence of white paranoia, and as aesthetic idioms of racial violence. Renée works between Dakar, Kigali, and Nairobi and is a collaborative editor with the Wali Chafu Collective. 


Taiye Selasi, writer and photographer

Taiye Selasi is a writer and photographer of Nigerian and Ghanian descent. Born in London, United Kingdom, and raised in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, she now lives between Rome, Italy and Berlin, Germany. In 2005, she published the much-discussed (and controversial) essay ‘Bye-Bye, Babor (Or: What Is an Afropolitan?)’, which offered an alternative vision of African identity for a transnational generation. Prompted by writer Toni Morrison, the following year, she published the short story ‘The Sex Lives of African Girls’ in the literary magazine Granta. Her first novel, Ghana Must Go, was published in 2013 and is a tale of family drama and reconciliation that follows six characters and spans generations, continents, genders and classes.

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