1-54 Forum

10th Anniversary Edition. Curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif

15 & 16 Oct 2022
Screening Room
South Wing

1-54's multi-disciplinary programme of talks, performances, workshops, and readings curated by Dr Omar Kholeif.

Tickets are free but a valid ticket to 1-54 is required to attend.

Saturday 15 October 2022

13.00 - 14.15
Introduction & Overture Number 2/A Re-Play: Koyo Kouoh: The Curator as Storyteller with Dr. Omar Kholeif

Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director, and Chief Curator of Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town and Founding Director of RAW Materials Company in Dakar, in conversation with Kholeif, narrates a path — as a storyteller who weaves and builds upon the intimacies of human relationships. Here, Kouoh, leads, guides, and enables us through her commitment to a nurturing curatorial practice of multiple convenings with artists and curators. How did this all begin, and where to from here, for Koyo Kouoh? The path may not always have been traditional, perhaps even thorny, but Koyo has utilised divergent routes to construct pavements for African artists, authors, historians, and curators to be seen. What shall, and can we do together? In this talk, curator Kholeif, invites Koyo to walk down lanes of memory, to a beginning — tracing itineraries, developing maps, and building worlds, which might offer audiences an inventory for how to consider art in the present.

15.00 - 16.00
Narrating our “Pan-Afrikan” Connections: Claudette Johnson and Marlene Smith in-dialogue with Lubaina Himid

Marlene Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator recognised for her research on Black Artists and Modernism in the UK. Claudette Johnson, known for her large-scale figurative drawings, are acknowledged for their ‘defiant’ contribution to the study of Black visuality. Both Claudette Johnson and Marlene Smith were co-founders of the East-Midlands based, BLK Group formed in Wolverhampton in 1979, setting the stage for the anti-racist discourse of the British Black arts movement, which would follow the early 1980s. Lubaina Himid is an artist, who spent much of her life working to create space for herself and other Black women in the UK’s artistic ecosystem, simultaneously operating as a curator, cultural historian, and as an educator. Here, she speaks to Marlene Smith and Claudette Johnson about the complexities of negotiating one’s individual artistic practice, while also giving credence to the effective power of collective movement and action in shaping and nuancing our multiple histories of art. The panel draws its title from an exhibition held at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in 1983. 

16.30 - 17.30
Ageing Ruins…: A Listening Session with Otobong Nkanga and a response by Dr. O.  

Otobong Nkanga, one of the leading artistic voices of her generation, returns to FORUM to present four tracks from her forthcoming vinyl record release, developed from her award-winning installation, ‘Ageing Ruins Dreaming Only to Recall the Hard Chisel from the Past,’ at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE, commissioned as part of Sharjah Biennial 14. Here, audiences are invited to an intimate evocation that explores the use of the artist’s voice within her practice, proffering possibilities and questions about the multiple forms of imagination that can be conjured through this form of embodiment. Here, the duo discusses the voice in relation to the body as a site contingency with its natural surroundings — the environment, which is forever transmuting, seeping through our hands, as much as it is responding to the contours of our hands. A discussion with the audience will follow. 

Sunday 16 October 2022

13.00 - 14.15
Introduction & Exhibition Itineraries with Dr. ‘Ugochukwu-Smooth’ Nzewi and Dr. Omar Kholeif 

Ugochukwu-Smooth’ Nzewi is an artist, art historian, and curator who currently serves as the inaugural Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. Both trained as artists, Nzewi and Kholeif, take a winding path through the exhibition halls of memory, reflecting on the projects that inspired and gave route to formative trajectories, such as the Dak’Art Biennial in Senegal, through to the art spaces, that nourished and inspired them — from Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. In this conversation, the duo negotiates the tension between the notion of ‘tradition’ in art history against the accumulated concept of the contemporary. They consider the ethnographic and the anthropological in a dialogue that summons individual ways of looking and narrating art of Africa and its diasporas. 

The Poetry Salon: (My) Episodes of Everyday Racism, Interrupted with Raymond Antrobus, Phoebe Boswell, Lakwena Maciver, Andra Simons, and Dr. O.
Drawing inspiration in-part from Grada Kilomba’s book, Plantation Memories, and Lola Olufemi’s Feminism, Interrupted, the FORUM’s second edition of the poetry salon invites artists and writers to present and reflect on poems that disrupt and challenge the very concept of ‘everyday racism’. The mask, the mouth, and the wound are expressed and amplified from the interstices of silence — not marginal, but rather, enabling new centres of reclaimed imagination to come to bear. Merging oral testimony, with the diaristic, the meditative, and the propulsive — the readings are followed by a group discussion of lived experience, and the power of ‘interruption’ facilitated through the singularity of the voice. 

16.30 - 17.30
Being “African” in the so-called “Middle East”: Curating our Multiple Selves with Touria El Glaoui, Dr. Omar Kholeif and Dr. Ridha Moumni.
How does one define one’s sense of ‘African-ness’ in an age where slippages around both language and its comprehension; visuality and its contradictions, are no longer subject to the binary of a singular form of identarian position or politics. In this series of stories and provocations, speakers reflect on the evolving definition of African legacies and heritage and consider the contradictions that arise when a creative individual occupies more than a single identity.