May 4, 2016 - RAW MATERIAL COMPANY - 1:54 FORUM NY 2016
May 4, 2016


1:54 FORUM NY 2016
at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York 2016
May 6–7, 2016

Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St
New York, New York 11231
United States
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RAW Material Company is pleased to announce the return of FORUM to New York, May 6-7, 2016. 

As an independent section of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, FORUM's discursive program aims at exploring convergences across artistic and cultural production, critical thinking and ideas. FORUM is curated by Koyo Kouoh (RAW Material Company, Dakar and the 2016 EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art). Kouoh welcomes Adrienne Edwards (Performa and Walker Art Center), Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Hood Museum of Art) and Dexter Wimberly (independent New York-based curator) to this year's program as collaborators.

With contributions from a rising generation of cultural producers and entrepreneurs, this year’s theme unfolds around modes of dissemination in an increasingly digital age. The conversations will build on current waves of productivity steadily metabolising the digital as a valuable tool for connecting with forms of knowledge and experience.

1:54 PERFORMS, a performance section for this year's edition co-presented with Performa and curated by Adrienne Edwards (Curator at Performa and Curator-at-Large at the Walker Art Center), will center around a performance by artist Dave McKenzie.

1:54 FORUM Full program

Friday, May 6

1–1:25pm: Welcome & opening remarks by Koyo Kouoh and Touria El Glaoui

1:30–2:30pm: Beyond Cultural Polarities: Africa’s Creative "Repats"
As Africa’s international creative class becomes more visible on the continent—particularly in major metropolises like Dakar, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Luanda and Johannesburg—many diaspora Africans are choosing to return to the continent. Many of these returnees, known as "repats," are highly educated and skilled and while they have shown that they can seize new opportunities and transfer skills to Africa’s nascent creative industries, they face plenty of challenges. This panel frames the concept of African repatriation through the insight of three entrepreneurs: Andrew Dosunmu (filmmaker based in Nigeria), Nina Keïta (entrepreneur based in Côte d'Ivoire) and Elinyisia Mosha (journalist based in Tanzania). Moderated by Claude Grunitzky (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TRUE Africa). 

3–4pm: Media Platforms for the Promotion of the Arts, Visual Cultures and Social Experiences of and about Africa and the Diaspora 
This panel explores the new wave of omnibus digital content providers focused on African and African Diaspora contemporary cultures and social activities. The discussants are Claude Grunitzky (Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of TRUE Africa) and Abiola Oke (CEO of Okayafrica). Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Curator of African Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College).

4:30–5:30pm: The Politics and Privilege of Play: Dexter Wimberly in conversation with ruby onyinyechi amanze (artist) 
Navigating the liminal space between fantasy and reality, ruby onyinyechi amanze's drawings envision speculative narratives of self-discovery, supernatural existence and spatio-temporal escapism to evoke ideas around cultural hybridity, belonging and displacement.

Saturday, May 7

2–3pm: Emerging Social Entrepreneurs and Cultural Brokers 
This panel explores the changing dynamics and growing interest in contemporary art and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora. It spotlights an upcoming generation of African social entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity to mobilize new platforms of discussion. Discussants are Ifeanyi Awachie (Curator of Africa Salon: Yale University’s contemporary African arts and culture festival), Shimite Obialo (lawyer and Founder of the digital platform Anoko), Sharon Obuobi (Founder of Art Accra) and Amy Sall (Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SUNU Journal of African Affairs, Critical Thought + Aesthetics). Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi.

3:30–4:30pm: Museums and Contemporary African Art 
The panel explores practices in collecting, curating and the display of contemporary art by African artists in American museums with discussants Kevin Dumouchelle (Associate Curator of Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the Brooklyn Museum), Karen Milbourne (Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art) and Yesomi Umolu (Curator of Exhibitions at University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts). Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi.

5–6pm: Materiality, Storytelling and Grand Narratives in Contemporary African Art: Dexter Wimberly in conversation with Billie Zangewa (artist) 
Billie Zangewa is an internationally celebrated Johannesburg based Malawian artist who works with fabrics, mostly silk, to create intricate tapestries. By way of her rich, elaborate silk "paintings," Zangewa celebrates black femininity, self-empowerment and the importance of storytelling.

6:30–7:30pm: Typing Machine: Adrienne Edwards in conversation with Dave McKenzie (artist) 
McKenzie is a conceptual artist working in performance, photography and video. McKenzie has been invited by Adrienne Edwards to compose a special text-based performance for 1:54, which will be performed at intervals throughout the fair. This conversation between Edwards and McKenzie explores the depth of the project as an expression of the influence of printmaking on the artist’s approach to multi-disciplinary performance.


Friday & Saturday, May 6–7, performed at intervals throughout the building and grounds of Pioneer Works 

Dave McKenzie, This ship would set sail, even anchored as it was, 2016
As a special project for FORUM, Dave McKenzie composes a slow text-based performance using sneakers he is currently prototyping. The performance takes as its point of departure the curatorial proposition centered on the centennial anniversary of Pan-African leader Marcus Garvey’s arrival in New York City in 1916. Trained in printmaking, McKenzie’s new work references and reimagines newsprint, a communication tool and vital organizing vehicle for Garvey once he arrived in the United States. Much like letterpress, lithography, and woodblock printing, McKenzie’s actions produce misprints as well as a record of the act of mark-making impressions. In McKenzie’s hands, the newspaper is rendered an ephemeral form as the artist creates images and text using his body and objects, creating a visual and sonic matrix through which we come to think about the possibilities for a story and a body to merge as image and speech. Visitors will receive prints as he converses or interacts with them.

Entry to FORUM is included in tickets to 1:54. Unreserved seating. Full details here.

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