The Cooper Gallery spring 2018 exhibition features an interpretive version of the remarkable installation, ReSignifications, by our guest curator, Awam Ampka. ReSignifications was originally presented in 2015 at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy as part of “Black Portraiture[s] II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories.” ReSignifications links classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture and history as it interprets and interrogates the “Blackamoor” trope in Western culture that emerged at the intersection of cross-cultural encounters shaped by centuries of migration, exchange, conquest, servitude, and exile.
WOLE SOYINKA: Antiquities Across Times and Place
Internationally acclaimed dramatist, social critic, and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka is an avid collector of African artworks including those from his home country, Nigeria. We placed the collection in conversation with contemporary artists such as Peju Alatise, Moyo Okediji, Olu Amoda, Chris Abani, Peter Badejo, Osaretin Ighile, Bruce Onobrakpeya, and Tunde Kelani.
Harlem: Found Ways
The exhibition Harlem: Found Ways presented artistic visions and engagements specific to Harlem, New York City, in the last decades. Each artwork employed a distinct set of inquiries and innovative strategies to explore the Harlem community’s visual heritage as it grapples with the challenges of gentrification.
Diago: The Pasts of This Afro-Cuban Present
Juan Roberto Diago is a leading member of the new Afro-Cuban cultural movement, which has valiantly denounced the persistence of racism and discrimination in Cuban society. This exhibition of twenty-five mixed-media and installation artworks traced Diago’s vibrant career from the mid-1990s, when he began to construct a revisionist history of the Cuban nation from the experience of a person of African descent. It is a history of enslavement and cultural loss, but also of resilience and recovery, the kind of history that is required in this Afro-Cuban present.
Curated by Alejandro de la Fuente
Director, Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center