Oct 14th 2017

Returns with Romi Crawford, Haki R. Madhubuti, Dominique Malaquais, Naeem Mohaiemen, Marilyn Nance, and Floyd Webb
Saturday, October 14
Logan Center Screening Room

12:45pm Welcome by Yesomi Umolu, Logan Center Exhibitions Curator and Bill Michel, Executive Director of UChicago Arts and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

1–2:45pm FESTAC ’77 and Other Pan-African Festivals with Marilyn Nance, Haki R. Madhubuti, and Dominique Malaquais, moderated by Yesomi Umolu

This panel explores the major Pan-African festivals of arts and culture that took place in the 1960s and 1970s. Scholar and curator Dominique Malaquais shares her research and curatorial work on festivals in Senegal, Algeria, and Nigeria. Reflecting on the impact of Pan-Africanism on the development of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago and the US, scholar, author, and educator Haki R. Madhubuti and photographer Marilyn Nance share their personal experiences at FESTAC ’77, the largest Pan-African festival, held in Lagos, Nigeria.

3-4:45pm Afrocentrism, Vernacular Cultures and Social Movements with Naeem Mohaiemen and Floyd Webb, moderated by Romi Crawford

Moderated by scholar Romi Crawford, this panel considers the everyday politics and geopolitical dimensions of Pan-Africanism. Filmmaker Floyd Webb reflects on his involvement with radical social groups in Chicago and his subsequent contact with liberation movements on the continent in the mid-1970s. Turning to the iconic figure of Muhammad Ali, who cultivated an internationalism that connected Black America with Africa and the Muslim Third World, artist and writer Naeem Mohaiemen considers the misgivings and misrecognitions of the famed boxer’s travels to Bangladesh in 1978.

4:45–5:00pm Closing remarks by Yesomi Umolu

What does it mean to return—to a cultural history, to a movement, and to the site of Africa in developing an artistic language?

Taking place from October 13 through 19, 2017, Returns considers the aesthetic and sociopolitical ramifications of Pan-Africanist movements of the early to mid-20th century, which sought to garner connectedness and solidarity among Africans on the continent and those of African descent living internationally. Returns features conversations that unpack the different meanings and uses of the term Pan-Africanism across the diaspora, looking to the ideas spearheaded by prominent scholars such as Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Aimé Césaire, Kwame Nkrumah, and Léopold Sénghor. With a particular focus on activities in Chicago, Returns also explores trends of Afrocentrism in artistic practices and social movements in the city from the 1960s into the 1970s, alongside reflections on the global Pan-African cultural festivals of the era including FESTAC ’77.

Returns is part of a multiyear research project, public program and online platform that explores the history of Pan-Africanism and its articulation in the art and culture of the contemporary African Diaspora, entitled The Ties that Bind: Waves of Pan-Africanism in Contemporary Art and Society. The Ties that Bind creates space for critical discourse and art production, and engages a multigenerational and international group of artists, scholars, and curators across three public forums or “congresses” taking place in Chicago.

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