Installation View from The Short Century: Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé. Reuben Ayo Ibitoye. From the series Paradigm Shift:African Stories, 1997

Okwui Enwezor

Contemporary African Photography and Film

Date 5/3/06

Affiliation Curator & Dean, Art Institute of San Francisco, San Francisco


Okwui Enwezor's presentation will draw from four works in progress. Two are books: The Postcolonial Constellation: Contemporary Art in a State of Permanent Transitions, and Archaeology of the Present: The Postcolonial Archive, Photography and African Modernity. Two are exhibition projects: Snap Judgments: Recent Positions in Contemporary African Photography, and On Governmentality: Techniques and Technologies of Critique, Dissent, Resistance and Solidarity in Contemporary Art.


Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor is a highly respected curator and art historian and is Dean of Academic Affairs at San Francisco Art Institute. He has been Visiting Professor in Art History at University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University, University of Illinois, and the University of Umea, Sweden. Enwezor was Artistic Director of Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (1998-2002) and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1996-1997) and is currently Artistic Director of Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo in Seville.

He has served on the jury of the Carnegie International, Venice Biennale; Hugo Boss Prize, Guggenheim Museum; Foto Press, Barcelona; Carnegie Prize; International Center for Photography Infinity Awards; Young Palestinian Artist Award, Ramallah; and the Cairo, Istanbul, Sharjah, and Shanghai Biennales.

As a writer, critic, and editor, Enwezor is a regular contributor to exhibition catalogues, anthologies, and journals. He is founder and editor of the critical art journal Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art published by the Africana Study Center, Cornell University. His writings have appeared in journals, catalogues, books, and magazines such as: Third Text, Documents, Texte zur Kunst, Grand Street, Parkett, Artforum, Frieze, Art Journal, Research in African Literatures, Index on Censorship, Engage, and Atlantica. Among his books are Reading the Contemporary: African Art, from Theory to the Marketplace (MIT Press, Cambridge and INIVA, London) and Mega Exhibitions: Antinomies of a Transnational Global Form (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich) and the four volume publication of Documenta 11 Platforms: Democracy Unrealized; Experiments with Truth: Transitional Justice and the Processes of Truth and Reconciliation; Creolitè and Creolization; Under Seige: Four African Cities, Freetown, Johanneburg, Kinshasa, Lagos (Hatje Cantz, Verlag, Stuttgart).

Enwezor has curated major museum exhibitions such as The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Gropius Bau, Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and P.S.1 and Museum of Modern Art, NewYork; Century City, Tate Modern, London; Mirror's Edge, Bildmuseet, Umea, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Tramway, Glasgow, Castello di Rivoli, Torino; In/Sight: African Photographers, 1940-Present, Guggenheim Museum; Global Conceptualism, Queens Museum, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, List Gallery at MIT, Cambridge; David Goldblatt: Fifty One Years, Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, AXA Gallery, New York, Palais des Beaux Art, Brussels, Lenbach Haus, Munich, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, Witte de With, Rotterdam; co-curator of Echigo-Tsumari Sculpture Biennale in Japan; co-curator of Cinco Continente: Biennale of Painting, Mexico City; Stan Douglas: Le Detroit, Art Institute of Chicago.

Enwezor received awards and grants from Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, International Art Critics Association, and the Peter Norton Curatorial Award. Enwezor lives in New York and San Francisco.

-- As of 5/3/06