Politics, Africa, and Performance: The Social, Political, and Spatial Impact of Visual and Performance Arts in African Contexts

Oct. 20 & 21, 2009: "Politics, Africa, and Performance" brings together writers, scholars, performers, and activists in a two-day discussion focusing on the ways in which the visual and performing arts provide crucial links between lived experience and political power.

Politics, Africa, and Performance:
The Social, Political, and Spatial Impact of Visual and Performance Arts in African Contexts

October 20th & 21st, 2009

Organized by Professor Jesse Weaver Shipley (Anthropology, African & Africana Studies). Supported by the John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center's Mellon Arts Residency Planning Grant Initiative.

About:

"Politics, Africa, and Performance" brings together writers, scholars, performers, and activists in a two-day discussion focusing on the ways in which the visual and performing arts provide crucial links between lived experience and political power. While Africa continues to be seen as underdeveloped, it is often at the forefront of new political movements.

For scholars in Anthropology, History, and a range of other fields seeking to make sense of violence and change, dialogues with artists provide keys to understanding the seeming contradictions of populist struggle in today's global world.

Schedule:

 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

4:30 p.m. "Politics, Africa, and Performance" Panel Discussion/Workshop
Chase Auditorium

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Imagining Global Arts Residencies at Haverford and Beyond
CPGC Café 7:30 p.m. Performance: Mo Faya!
Ryan Gym

Eric Wainaina

Eric Wainaina is a leading singer, songwriter and performer from Nairobi Kenya. His music, a blend of modern and traditional Kenyan sounds, speaks on issues of social justice. His accolades are numerous and include several Pan African awards. Recently the Guardian Newspaper in the United Kingdom called him a living national icon. In 2002 the African Almanac listed him as one of the 100 most influential Africans after he took on rampant corruption prevalent in the government of the day. He is an ambassador for several local and international organizations including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He was recently awarded an Escopetarra- a guitar made out of a decommissioned AK-47 assault rifle. Other recipients of that award include Koffi Annan, Bob Geldof and the Colombian superstar, Juanes.

Isaac Mugunda Omamu

Isaac is one of Nairobi's most sought after guitarists. His versatility as a musician is exemplary allowing him to switch between genres with great ease. His influences range from the African greats like Franco and Tabu Ley from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jimmy Dludlu from South Africa/ Mozambique and George Benson. He plays for several bands in Nairobi and is the Bandleader for Eric Wainaina's band Mapinduzi which he has been with for the last 6 years.

Mumbi Kaigwa

Mumbi Kaigwa is a cultural activist, performer, writer and producer of theatre, film and TV. She has numerous stage credits to her name, and her screen credits include The Constant Gardener, Die Patriarchin (for German TV) and The Knife Grinder's Tal. Mumbi is a board member of Media Development for Africa (MEDEVA Ltd.), the Sarakasi Trust, and Mira Nair's Maisha Film Lab, all of which work to develop intellectual and physical spaces for performers and filmmakers in East Africa.

Martin Kimani

Martin Kimani is an Associate Fellow at the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King's College, London, where he also pursued his doctoral work. He previously served in a senior advisory position to a regional security program for the six member states of the InterGovernmental Authority on Development - a sub-regional diplomatic organization in the Horn of Africa. Martin writes regularly for The East African and has published essays in Kwani?, Chimurenga, Farafina, Süddeutschen Zeitung, and Juxtapoz. He also comments on development policy, conflict and terrorism on various BBC television and radio shows and in Australia, New Zealand and Rwanda. He is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing. He is the founding editor of Kwani?, a leading African literary magazine based in Kenya. He has written for The EastAfrican, National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), Granta, The New York Times and The Guardian (UK). Wainaina has taught at Union College and Williams College, and is currently the Director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Literature and Languages at Bard College.

Jesse Weaver Shipley

Jesse Weaver Shipley a filmmaker, artist, and scholar. He is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College. Publications include "Visuality to Postcolonial African Politics: A Conversation with Mohamed Saidou N’Daou" and "'The Best Tradition Goes On': Popular Theater and Televised Soap in Neo-liberal Ghana." In 2007 he released a feature documentary film Living the Hiplife with Third World Newsreel on popular culture and politics in Ghana.He is currently completing two book on performance and politics in Ghana, Africa, and the African Diaspora. He was the founding Director of the Chinua Achebe Institute for Global Africana Arts at Bard College. In 2009 he received a Wenner Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship.