Curatorial Lectures Simon Njami

Simon njami Cyrille Choupas

Every academic year, S.M.A.K., Ghent University and Curatorial Studies of KASK & School of Arts jointly organise the series of Curatorial Lectures. On Thursday 9 December 2021 Simon Njami will discuss this year's theme, 'curatorship on the cutting edge of change'.

"There was a time when the notion of curating was restricted to certain areas. There was a time when the notions of Center and Periphery were highly discussed. There was a time when art history was exclusive rather than inclusive. There was, finally, a time when the notion of contemporaneity was restricted to certain geographical areas."

"My question is: has anything changed? And if yes, why and how? And what does the notion of globalization really represent in our contemporary times and is that discussion included in our practices? I shall address the notions of “outsider” or “maverick” to try and tackle those issues."

Who is Simon Njami?

Simon Njami is a Paris-based independent curator, lecturer, art critic and novelist. Njami was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art. He has written four novels and two biographies (James Baldwin, Léopold Sedar Senghor). He has served as artistic director of the first Johannesburg art fair in 2008, the Bamako photography biennale for ten years and the Dak’art Biennale (Dakar, Sénégal, 2018/2018. He co-curated the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007.

Njami has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art and photography, including Africa Remix (2004/2007) and the first African Art Fair, held in Johannesburg in 2008. The Divine Comedy (2013), at the MMK (Museum fur Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, SCAD, Savannah (2014) and The Smithsonian in Washington DC (2015). Xenopolis (Berlin 2015), Afriques Capitales (Paris, Lille 2017) Metropolis (Maxxi 2018),I am the Other, Galleria Nazionale (Rome, 2018) The Studio (Kampala Biennale 2019) This space between us (Las Palmas 2020), Materia Prima (San Giminiano, 2021), Kind of Blues (Abu Dhabi, 2021)…

He was member of the scientific boards of numerous museums and institutions, Visiting Professor at UCSD (University of San Diego California 1991/93).

In 1998, he created the Pan African master classes in photography, with the Goethe Institut and directed it over 12 years, and set up the collection of contemporary art for the Memorial Acte museum in Guadeloupe. He published and edited numerous books among which the latest Stories Histories, the story of Revue noire (2020).

Njami studied literature, law and philosophy (Sorbonne Paris).

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