Ethiopia artist Wosene Worke Kosrof in conversation with Allyson Purpura, Curator of the Arts of Africa at the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and discussion with Mesai Haileleul of Los Angeles and Patricia DiRubbo of Berkeley.
Ethiopian-born artist Wosene Worke Kosrof has lived abroad for over thirty years. In November 2010, the National Museum in Addis Ababa hosted a major exhibition of Wosene’s work, giving local audiences exposure—most for the first time—to an artist who has long been acclaimed in international art scenes. What are the implications of such “returns,” not only for artists and the cultural politics of their “home” countries, but for unpacking vague but ubiquitous notions of a “global contemporary”? What and where are “home” and “global"? How does the political economy of African contemporary art—its markets, resources, visual literacies, and shifting identities—enable or compromise the critical practice of curators and artists in, and from, different places? What would it mean to curate “beyond the gallery” and take cues from the situated relationships between artists, artworks and audiences? And how might exhibitions become more collaborative, experimental spaces for the production of new knowledge about art, Africa, and curatorial practice?
Please join us in a discussion of these compelling issues with Wosene Worke Kosrof and his curatorial team, led by Dr. Allyson Purpura.
Born in 1950 in the Arat Kilo district of Addis Ababa, Wosene (his professional name) formally trained at the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts, and then as a Ford Foundation Talent Scholar he obtained an MFA from Howard University in 1980. Over the past four decades, Wosene has created an internationally recognized artistic signature as the first Ethiopian-born contemporary artist to use the script forms of his native Amharic as the core of his paintings and sculptures. He maintains a studio and often exhibits in the Bay Area.
Allyson Purpura is curator of African arts at the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has served as Research Specialist and Guest Curator at the National Museum of African Art and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Her publications include “Writing Memory" in Words: From Spoken to Seen: The Art of Wosene Worke Kosrof (2006). Her recent research explores critical capacities of African art on display.
Mesai Haileleul of Los Angeles curated Wosene’s WordPlay exhibition at the National Museum of Ethiopia. Long involved with contemporary arts of Ethiopia, Mesai owned the Addis Gallery in Los Angeles.
Patricia DiRubbo directed the WordPlay exhibition, a two-year project funded in part by The Christensen Fund of San Francisco, CA; Ethiopian Airlines; and the Fulbright-Hays Fund of the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. Together with Wosene, she owns the Berkeley-based fine arts/management company, Color of Words, Inc.
THIS LECTURE IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF MONDAY AFRICA SEMINAR SERIES (MASS) PRESENTATIONS.
EXHIBITING AFRICA, Part II: Artists’ Perspectives on Critical Curatorial Practice
Monday African Seminar Series (MAAS)
UCLA African Studies Center, Co-sponsored by the Fowler Museum, the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, and the Mellon Postdoctural Program "Cultures in Transnational Perspectives."
Faculty Coordinators: Polly Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts
Fall Quarter 2011
In this series, three contemporary artists engage in conversation with curators to consider dynamic approaches to Africa’s representation in museum and exhibition contexts of the 21st century. Most of the discourse in museum and curatorial studies has come from museum practitioners or theorists, but seldom do we hear the voices of artists and their viewpoints with regard to how they might expand, redefine, and possibly transcend exhibitionary frameworks. This forward-looking series of conversations will feature artists’ perspectives and interventions that embrace multiple facets of traditional, modern, contemporary, urban, and diasporic African expression. Through presentation of their work, interwoven with discussion of the global contemporary; on-site performance art and ethnographic encounters; and contemporary artistic production as urban arts activism, the series engages artists in the discourse and actions of curatorial practice.
Mon. October 17th, 4 – 6 pm, 10383 Bunche Hall, 10th Floor:
“Putting the Global Contemporary in Place: Wosene Worke Kosrof, at Home Abroad”
Ethiopian artist Wosene Worke Kosrof in conversation with Allyson Purpura, Curator of the Arts of Africa at the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and discussion with Mesai Haileleul of Los Angeles and Patricia DiRubbo of Berkeley.
Monday, November 7th, 4 – 6 pm, 10383 Bunche Hall, 10th Floor:
“’The Green Room’: New Approaches to Curatorial Practices in Africa and its Diasporas”
Afro-Cuban artist, scholar, and curator Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz of Stanford University in conversation with curator/PhD student César Garcia, UCLA.
Monday, November 21st, 4 – 6 pm, 10383 Bunche Hall, 10th Floor:
“The Artist as Activist: Curating the Calligraphy of Healing”
Senegalese artist Yelimane Fall in conversation with curators/professors Polly Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts of UCLA.
Cost: Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day parking ($11) available in lot 3.
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