New York, NY 10013
Wangechi Mutu and Adrienne Edwards in Conversation
The Performa 17 biennial artist and curator discuss interrelation of abstraction and performance in Mutu’s work over the past two years.
Contemporary Literature and Radicalization
Helon Habila talks about writing The Chibok Girls followed by a conversation with Kwani Editor Billy Kahora and joined by filmmaker Funa Maduka to discuss her work on Boko Haram.
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.
Helon Habila was born in Nigeria. He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University. He is the author of three novels: Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007), and Oil on Water (2010). He edited The Granta Book of The African Short Story (2010). His most recent book is The Chibok Girls (2016), a work of investigative nonfiction on the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists in northeastern Nigeria in 2014. Habila’s writing has won many awards including the Caine Prize (2001), the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region 2003), The Virginia Library Prize for Fiction (2008), and the Windham-Campbell Prize (2015), among many others.
Billy Kahora is Kwani Editor. His short fiction and creative non-fiction has appeared in Chimurenga, McSweeney’s, Granta Online, Internazionale, Vanity Fair, and Kwani. He has written a non-fiction novella titled The True Story Of David Munyakei and was highly commended by the 2007 Caine Prize judges for Treadmill Love; his story Urban Zoning was shortlisted for the prize in 2012 and The Gorilla’s Apprentice in 2014. He wrote the screenplay for Soul Boy and co-wrote Nairobi Half Life, which won the Kalasha awards. He is working on a novel titled The Applications. A short story collection The Cape Cod Bicycle War and Other Youthful Follies will be released in 2017. He has been awarded writer fellowships in Italy, U.K., Germany, and Denmark. He recently taught at the M.A in Creative Writing at Rhodes University and has taught writing workshops in East Africa for the last 10 years. He is also Managing Editor of Kwani Trust and has edited seven issues of the Kwani journal and other Kwani publications including Nairobi 24 and Kenya Burning. He is also a Contributing Editor with the Chimurenga Chronic. He has been Kwani Litfest Curator since 2008 and recently curated Kwani Litfest 2015 “Writers In Conversation: Beyond The Map Of English.” Billy is a past recipient of the Chevening Scholarship and an Iowa Writer’s Fellowship. He has a M.Sc Creative Writing from University of Edinburgh, U.K. and a Journalism and English degree from Rhodes University, South Africa.
Wangechi Mutu (b. 1972, Kenya) works in New York City and Nairobi. She studied at the Cooper Union and received her MFA from Yale University. She has received the United States Artist Grant (2014), the Brooklyn Museum’s Asher B. Durand Artist of the Year Award (2013), and was honored as Deutsche Guggenheim's first Artist of the Year (2010). She has had solo exhibitions at the Deutsche Guggenheim Museum in Berlin, Musée D'art Contemporain de Montréal, Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others
Image credit: Kwani Trust, Graphic by Michael Araka-Musa Omusi. Concept by Billy Kahora