Future Museums

Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 7 - 8:30pm

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Nana Oforiatta Ayim gives a free, public lecture as part of the 2018 Fall Intra-Disciplinary Seminar (IDS) lecture series. 

Nana Oforiatta Ayim is a writer, filmmaker, and art historian. She has written for publications like frieze, ArtNews, African Metropolitan Architecture, and is publishing her first novel, The God Child, with Bloomsbury Publishing in 2019. She has made several films, a cross of fiction, travel essay, and documentary, that have been shown at museums like The New Museum, Tate Modern, and LACMA. In her work, she has sought to understand the various relativities of cultural contexts, and to give voice to that understanding in a way that speaks to both the actors and communities of that context, as well as the wider world. She has spoken widely on cultural narratives and institution-building in Africa in institutions like the British Museum and Cambridge University.

Oforiatta Ayim founded the ANO Institute of Arts & Knowledge in 2002 to uncover and create new cultural narratives of the African continent. Since its inception it has launched radical and innovative narratives, movements, works and artists. These have included creating new cultural institutions and paradigms like the Mobile Museum and Cultural Encyclopedia; introducing artists like James Barnor and Ibrahim Mahama to international audiences; creating publications, like Kiosk Culture, and films, like its forthcoming series on Ghanaian Arts for TV3.  It is locally rooted in the Ghanaian context, started and run by an entirely Ghanaian team, regularly engaging with institutions like KNUST, AccradotAlt, the Ministry of Culture, and in public spaces. It has also for the last fifteen years branched out continuously on an international scale to institutions, like Dak’Art, the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, Liverpool Biennial, Palais des Beaux-Arts, LACMA, and New Museum.

Nana Oforiatta Ayim's lecture is in partnership with the Open Society Foundations. Oforiatta-Ayim is a recipient of the Soros Arts Fellowship, a new initiative of the Arts Exchange at the Open Society Foundations. This fellowship is designed to support innovative mid-career artists and cultural producers using art and public space to advance pluralistic, democratic, and just societies.

The Fall 2018 IDS Lecture Series at The Cooper Union is organized by Leslie Hewitt and Omar Berrada. The IDS Public Lecture Series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding and support from the Robert Lehman Foundation for the series. The IDS Public Lecture Series is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.