New York, NY 10013
3:00 – 4:30pm
Continental Images in the Age of Radicalization
Kenyan artist and poet Neo Musangi discusses contemporary photography on the African continent with Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma and American artist Lyle Ashton Harris.
Afripedia Series (Directed by Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft and Senay Berhe, Countries: Angola/Ghana/Kenya/Senegal/South Africa/Sweden, Year: 2014). A platform and a visual guide to art, film, photography, fashion, design, music, and contemporary culture from African creatives in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Angola, and South Africa.
Nairobi Half Life (Directed by David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, Countries: Germany/Kenya, Year: 2012). A young, aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success in the big city. In pursuit of this and to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he makes his way to Nairobi: the city of opportunity.
The Performa Institute's 2017 program concludes with the residency of Kwani Trust, a Nairobi-based literary network. Kwani Trust presents Everyone is Radicalizing, an experimental subversion of its upcoming printed journal issue Kwani no. 9. The Kwani platform at Performa features an installation which includes photography, oral history, audio recordings, and film, as well as a series of public programs at the Performa Hub. Everyone is Radicalizing takes as its point of departure aspects of radicalization across East Africa with focus on the Kenyan Coast and North Eastern Kenya as a nexus of cultures, religions, and politics. The project uniquely amplifies the area’s historical and cultural context by taking a broad, exploratory look at phenomena often described in monolithic terms, such as terror, insecurity, violent extremism, and radicalization in the region and beyond.
Functioning primarily as a publishing house since 2003, Kwani Trust produces contemporary African writing, offers training opportunities, produces literary events, and has established a place for Nairobi within larger literary networks. The film selections are organized in collaboration with the African Film Festival New York.
For more than two decades Lyle Ashton Harris (born 1965, New York) has cultivated a diverse artistic practice ranging from photographic media, collage, installation and performance. His work explores intersections between the personal and the political, examining the impact of ethnicity, gender and desire on the contemporary social and cultural dynamic. Known for his self-portraits and use of pop culture icons (such as Billie Holiday and Michael Jackson), Harris teases the viewers’ perceptions and expectations, resignifying cultural cursors and recalibrating the familiar with the extraordinary. Harris has exhibited work widely, including at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York) and The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) among many others, as well as at international biennials (São Paulo, 2016; Busan, 2008; Venice, 2007; Seville, 2006; Gwangju, 2000). His work is represented in the permanent collections of major museums, most recently The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2014 Harris joined the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome and was recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize by the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.). In 2016 he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and was appointed a trustee of the Tiffany Foundation. His Ektachrome Archive was featured in the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo in 2016 and the 2017 Whitney Biennial and will be the subject of his forthcoming book Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs to be released by Aperture in November of 2017. Having studied at Wesleyan University, the California Institute of the Arts, and the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, Harris is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Art Education at New York University.
Emmanuel Iduma is the author of the novel The Sound of Things to Come, and co-edited Gambit: Newer African Writing. He is editor of Saraba Magazine, and a faculty member of the MFA Art Writing Program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. A Stranger's Pose, his travelogue, is forthcoming in 2018.
Neo Sinoxolo Musangi experiments with performance, text, and installation art. In search of new methods to ‘read the city’, Neo focuses on the idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment: the non-private space, the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting. Musangi’s practice is characterized by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of danger, chaos, and (dis)order. Neo's work-life has been in academia, art, and activism and has participated in, among others, group exhibitions at Fada Gallery, Johannesburg, at the University of Cape Town, National Museums of Kenya, and is part of the queer art collective, String Fabulations (Nairobi/Dublin/Rotterdam) and recently completed an Art Residency at the University of Amsterdam's Centre for Urban Studies.
Image credit: Kwani Trust, Graphic by Michael Araka-Musa Omusi. Concept by Billy Kahora