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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ROM’s Of Africa project explores historical and contemporary African themes

(News Release)

Renowned African “Imaginer” Binyavanga Wainaina delivers ROM100 Speaks Keynote on October 23

Multimedia artist Nàstio Mosquito performs African, I Guess at the Of Africa Symposium

Of Africa continues with three years of exhibitions, lectures and performances

(TORONTO, October 7, 2014) - 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 ROM100 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 ROM100 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. 

This is followed by a two-day symposium on October 24th and October 25th, 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.
About Maps, Borders, and Mobility in Africa

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 Asante style 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.

Of Africa Programming Highlights include:

October 17, 2014          ROM Friday Night Live
7:00 pm-12:00 am
Africa Alive! #FNLROM launches the Of Africa public programming with performances by musicians and multimedia artists and more. Guests at the ROM’s Africa Alive! #FNLROM receive a 10% discount on ticket purchases to the Of Africa symposium.

October 23, 2014          ROM100 Speaks, Binyavanga Wainaina In Conversation with Dan Yon
                                    I am an Imaginer, Riding Africa’s Glorious Terrible Hurricane
                                    7:00 pm (Keynote presentation), 8:00 pm (Reception)
 Of Africa ROM100 Speaks Symposium
Presented by ROM Contemporary Culture and ROM World Cultures, symposium begins at 10:30 am each day.   
October 24, 2014          Panel 1 - Learning From Into The Heart of Africa
Speakers:  Afua Cooper, Geraldine Moriba, Yaw Oluwasanjo Akyeaw, Dan Rahimi
Moderator: Dr. Honor Ford-Smith

Panel 2 – Africa and the Diaspora in Western Institutions
Speakers: Kenneth Montague, Olubukola A. Gbadegesin, Zoey Whitely
Moderator: Andrea Fatona

Panel 3 – African Modernities
Speakers: Pablo Idahosa, Elizabeth Harney, Ato Quayson, Fatimah Tuggar
Moderator: Karen Milbourne 
October 25, 2014          Panel 4 – Canonical Understanding and Politics of Representation
Speakers: Christa Clarke, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Ciraj Rassool
Moderator: Warren Crichlow

Panel 5 – African Curatorial Networks
Speakers: Bisi Silva, Mekerm Assegued, Dominique Malaquais
Moderator: Elizabeth Harney

Special Performance – 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. Tickets are available by emailing: programs@rom.on.ca.

An Of Africa Google+ Hangout takes place on October 8, 2014, at 1:00 pm, with Silvia Forni, ROM Curator, World Art & Cultures, and Rinaldo Walcott Associate Professor, University of Toronto, member of the Of Africa advisory committee.


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