In 2019, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town, appointed Cameroonian-born curator Koyo Kouoh as Executive Director and Chief Curator. Prior to her role at the institution, as the founding Artistic Director of the RAW Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar, she developed numerous art programmes and published widely on contemporary art. She has served as Curator of the Educational and Artistic Program of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair for eight consecutive editions in London and New York, as well as on the curatorial teams for documenta 12 and 13. While governments gradually take steps to enter a new normal and social activity remains uncertain, Kouoh shares with Something Curated a thought-provoking edit of reading material to discover from home. The below are her words.
Politique des Temps, Imaginer les devenirs Africains by Achille Mbembe & Felwine Sarr
In the South of the world, new and original voices are rising and trying to take charge of a thought of our common planet. Africa is not only the place where part of the planet’s future is at stake. It is one of the great laboratories from which new forms of social, economic, political, cultural and artistic life emerge today. This compilation of essays by twenty brilliant African thinkers is the result of the critically acclaimed seminars, Les Ateliers de la Pensée, initiated by Achille Mbembe and Felwine Sarr and held yearly in Dakar since 2017. The publication uses literature, philosophy, history, geography, arts, economics, sociology, pedagogy and poetry to unpack issues, stretch them, translate them and move them into a space of the possible. The collection of essays asks a fundamental question: is it possible to inhabit Africa, and by extension the world, differently; ultimately proposing that another world is possible.
When Attitudes Become the Norm, The Contemporary Curator and Institutional Art by Beti Žerovc
This publication deals with a subject matter that is close to my heart and with which I’ve been grappling ever since I began making exhibitions: the exhibition maker as the author, as the artist; curatorial practice as an artistic practice and the exhibition as a work of art so to speak. Žerovc discusses key aspects of the role of the exhibition maker and how the socio-political objectives of the global curatorial complex manifest contradictory effects for an equal distribution of exhibitions (and access to art) given the inescapable conditions of capitalism and by extension racism and Euro-Americancentric ignorance.
Rouge Impératrice, novel by Léonora Miano
The 15th novel of one of the most prolific writers of her generation. Part novel, part geopolitical futuristic essay. The book sets the canvas for what a whole generation of post-independence youth wants: a unified federal Africa (Katiopa), freed of colonial borders and neo-colonial interference. Rouge Impératrice is written in an assertive, unapologetic, decisive language of reappropriation of the African imaginary power and political ideals. Romance, intimacy, sensuality and sexuality have been at the core of the author’s literary explorations. Here as well, these subject matters are an integral part of a delightfully complex narrative architecture.
The Source of Self-Regard, Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
Just because I am always reading or rereading a piece by Toni Morrison.
Africa Is a Country, (*Not the continent with 55 countries), edited and founded by Sean Jacobs
Arguably the best journal on the global state of affairs from an African perspective. Incisive, poetic, dreamy and realistic all at the same time.
Feature image: Atrium of Zeitz MOCAA – Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa (via Heatherwick Studio)