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ROM’s Of Africa Project Explores Historical And Contemporary African Themes

ROM’s Of Africa Project Explores Historical And Contemporary African Themes

Photo above is of author Binyavanga Wainaina. Photo by Jerry Riley.

African stool -- ROM2013_13509_17

An African stool. Photo courtesy of the ROM.

TORONTO, Ontario – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is proud to announce Of Africa, a three-year multi-platform project exploring African experiences through exhibitions, lectures, performances and events. With contributions by curators, artists, authors, educators, and academics from across Africa and the African Diaspora, Of Africa introduces visitors to historical and contemporary African cultural and artistic expressions. This includes a new display, Maps, Borders, and Mobility in Africa, opening October 11, 2014; a ROM 100 Speaks keynote with famed Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina on October 23, 2014; followed by Of Africa Histories, Collections, Reflections, a two-day symposium beginning on October 24, 2014.

An “Africa Alive!” edition of ROM Friday Night Live (#FNLROM) takes place on October 17, 2014 featuring music by Adrian X, Shi Wisdom, Muhtadi and the World Drummers, and Njacko Backo, beats from Davee Ki, spoken word from Mustafa the Poet, virtual fashion by Chinedu Ukabam, and a curatorial lounge for viewing Maps, Borders, and Mobility in Africa.

At ROM 100 Speaks on October 23, 2014, award-winning Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World (2014), will deliver “I Am An Imaginer, Riding Africa’s Glorious Terrible Hurricane”, a conversation about the contradictory realities faced by contemporary African nations.

A journalist, publisher, advocate and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, Wainaina will also talk about the cultural vivacity of contemporary African cultural landscapes.

This will be followed by a two-day symposium on October 24 and October 25, featuring leading scholars, artists, and curators discussing representations of Africa in museums and beyond.

The symposium closes with a special performance of African, I Guess by multimedia performance artist, Nástio Mosquito.
The ROM’s Maps, Borders, and Mobility in Africa displays the impact of 1884’s Berlin Conference, a defining moment in African geography and history.

A series of maps, spanning over seven centuries, are used to illustrate the evolution of colonial boundaries imposed upon autonomous African nations.

The exhibition also includes a selection of African artifacts, including a late 19th century Asantestyle pipe bowl from Ghana, and objects from the ROM’s own collection.

A video essay, featuring African artists discussing the challenges of mobility within Africa and beyond, complements the display.

Of Africa programming continues through 2017 with additional lectures, film screenings, workshops and a new African-Canadian exhibition to be displayed in the ROM’s Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada.

Presented by ROM Contemporary Culture and ROM World Cultures, the Of Africa ROM100 Speaks Symposium begins at 10:30 am each day.

On October 24, the Symposium will feature 5 panels:

Panel 1 – Learning From Into The Heart of Africa, with speakers: Afua Cooper, Geraldine Moriba, Yaw Oluwasanjo Akyeaw and Dan Rahimi. Moderator: Dr. Honor Ford-Smith;

Panel 2 – Africa and the Diaspora in Western Institutions with speakers: Kenneth Montague, Olubukola A. Gbadegesin, and Zoey Whitley. Moderator: Andrea Fatona;

Panel 3 – African Modernities with speakers: Pablo Idahosa, Elizabeth Harney, Ato Quayson and Fatimah Tuggar. Moderator: Karen Milbourne

On October 25: Panel 4 – Canonical Understanding and Politics of Representation with speakers: Christa Clarke, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi and Ciraj Rassool. Moderator: Warren Crichlow;

Panel 5 – African Curatorial Networks with speakers: Bisi Silva, Mekerm Assegued and Dominique Malaquais. Moderator: Elizabeth Harney;

There will be a special performance by Nástio Mosquito – African, I Guess. Recently named to the list of 10 African Artists To Look Out For (UK Guardian, 2014), Mosquito presents an immersive multimedia spoken word performance.

Symposium tickets are priced at: General Public ($30.00 plus HST), ROM Members ($27.00 plus HST), Teacher/Student ($20.00 plus HST), Groups of 10 or more ($20 plus HST) per day, and are available by emailing: programs@rom.on.ca.

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