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Tags for: Memory, Materiality, and Transformation: Contemporary Artists and African Traditions
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(left) Untitled (Jua Kali Series) (detail), 2014. Tahir Carl Karmali (Kenyan, b. 1987). Archival pigment print; 45.7 x 30.5 cm. © Tahir Carl Karmali

(right) Male Figure (detail), late 1800s–early 1900s. Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Songye people. Wood, glass beads, brass (including upholstery studs), copper alloy, iron alloy, raffia, reedbuck antelope horn, rawhide, animal hair, human teeth, organic material, minerals, and plant fibers; 64 x 24.5 x 24 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, 2010.451

Memory, Materiality, and Transformation: Contemporary Artists and African Traditions

Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 6:00 p.m.

About The Event

Watch artists Nnenna Okore and Tahir Carl Karmali in conversation with exhibition curator Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, moderated by host curator Kristen Windmuller-Luna, as they reflect on the themes of memory, materiality, and transformation and discuss how contemporary artists engage with traditional African arts. This event is organized in tandem with the CMA exhibition Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art

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Tahir Carl Karmali is a photographer and mixed-media artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Karmali began his practice as a painter and sculptor, and subsequently turned to photography while traveling through East Africa and Southeast Asia. His attention to material and process is integral to the way he communicates narratives centered around global environmental, political, and socioeconomic issues.  

Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi is an artist, art historian, and the Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Nzewi was the curator of African art at the Cleveland Museum of Art from August 2017 to August 2019 and at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire, from August 2013 to July 2017.  

Nnenna Okore has received international recognition for her fiber art sculptures and installations. Her highly tactile sculptures respond to the rhythms and contours of everyday life, combining reductive methods of shredding, fraying, twisting, teasing, and washing with constructive processes of tying, weaving, stitching, and dyeing. As an environmentalist, she uses her work to raise concerns about human footprints on the natural world. She is a professor of art at Chicago’s North Park University. 

Art historian and curator Kristen Windmuller-Luna joined the Cleveland Museum of Art in January 2020 as curator of African art. Before her appointment at the CMA, Windmuller-Luna worked at the Brooklyn Museum as the Sills Family Consulting Curator of African Arts and as a Mellon research specialist in African arts at the Princeton University Art Museum.