“If Objects Could Speak”: A Screening and Panel Discussion on African Art, Museum Reckoning, and the Politics of Restitution
The keynote for the KAM-CAS Global African Community Forum offers a screening of the short film, If Objects Could Speak, co-directed by Kenyan filmmaker Saitabao Kaiyare, followed by a zoom conversation with Kaiyare and scholar/activists Njoki Ngumi (in Nairobi) and La Tanya S. Autry (in New York). Using the film as a point of departure, the speakers will engage the audience in a critical conversation about colonial-era removals and thefts of African objects, restitution, and what it’s like being on the receiving end of long lost objects returning to Africa. Connecting these three provocative thinkers in conversation across the Atlantic presents an excellent opportunity to reckon with these issues with African voices at the lead. This hybrid event includes CART captioning and can be accessed in over languages 27 languages through Zoom.
Accessibility: The Art & Design Visitors Series endeavors to be accessible to all. If you have questions or would like to request an accessibility accommodation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Tanya S. Autry is a cultural worker, educator, and co-producer of #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, La Tanya S. Autry is an avid reader, tea drinker, and lover of the arts. She has created exhibitions and programming in institutional and non-institutional spaces as well as collaborative freedom projects including the Social Justice & Museums Resource List, Art of Black Dissent, the Black Liberation Center, and the Arts & Social Justice Workout. Lately, she has been exploring writing as curatorial formation – “Beholding and Curating with Care,” Hyperallergic, 2022; “A Trouble-Making Conjuring/Love Spell for ‘We’ Who Care,” Creative Time Think Tank: Invitations Toward Re-Worlding, 2022; and “Critical Black Memory as Curatorial Praxis and Collective Care,” in Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches, 2023. La Tanya is completing her PhD in art history at University of Delaware. Her dissertation, The Crossroads of Commemoration: Lynching Landscapes in America, examines the interplay of race, representation, memory, and public space.
Dr. Njoki Ngumi is a non-clinical general practitioner, whose wider health knowledge and related expertise has been critical in the creative sector and connected arenas to enhance socioeconomic equity, equality and advancement for all, especially youth, women, and marginalised people. Njoki’s cross sectoral work, networks and organizing was core to the founding and set-up of three institutions: The Nest Collective, a multidisciplinary arts collective, in 2012; HEVA, Africa’s first cultural and creative economy catalyst facility, in 2013; and Strictly Silk, a festival, club and multimedia entity focused on people marginalised by gender, in 2018. As a freelance consultant, she remains central to creative and cultural sector public engagements, including education, policy work, stakeholder support and engagement, network building, and general government dialogue. Njoki was also a key player in the invisible Inventories Programme at the National Museums of Kenya.
Saitabao Kaiyare is a filmmaker from Kenya with a decade of experience in the film industry working both in Africa and Europe. His short films, documentaries, and TV shows have been critically acclaimed across numerous film festivals internationally. He directed and produced the short documentary If Objects Could Speak, which won Best Documentary at the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards 2022, The Ousmane Sembene Prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival 2021 and Best Short Documentary at the Los Angeles Cinematography Awards 2020. Kaiyare is the co-founder at Baruu Collective, a creative agency and production house that re-imagines the African narrative using multi-media platforms that go beyond documentation to create a conducive environment for the sustainable audience and community participation in the conservation of cultural heritage.
The Global African Community Forum is funded in part by the Center for African Studies through the US Department of Education’s Title VI NRC Program, Krannert Art Museum, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, The School of Art & Design, Program in Art History, Department of History, Department of Anthropology, Women and Gender in Global Perspectives, The Office of Minority Student Affairs, the iSchool, the Bruce B. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, and the Humanities Research Institute Supplemental Event Fund.