Sandrine Colard-De Discussion
June 9, 2023
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, African History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Black History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies

Dear colleagues,


You are cordially invited to the symposium, PANAFRICA: IMAGE, SOUND, TEXT, taking place at K1 (the temporary site for Kanal-Pompidou) in Brussels (Belgium), on June 9th, from 9:30 AM to 7: PM.

Pan-Africanism is seen primarily as a political project. But in the many guises it takes, it also engages in cultural and aesthetic innovation. Imagining Panafrica as the promised land implied a utopian endeavor, new forms of representation and new strategies of dissemination. Focusing on iconography, aurality and poetry, this symposium examines how certain artistic and aesthetic practices of the 20th century shaped Pan-African thought.

Panafrica: Image, Sound, Text kickstarts a multi-year and multi-sited series of public programs connected to Project a Black Planet: The Art and Culture of Panafrica, the first exhibition expressly devoted to surveying modern and contemporary cultural activity through a pan-Africanist lens. The exhibition brings together several hundred examples of creative production in architecture, design, film, literature, sound, and visual art, from the 1920s to the present. The exhibition opens at the Art Institute of Chicago in December 2024, and will subsequently travel to venues including to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Summer 2025) and to KANAL-Centre Pompidou (Fall/Winter 2025/2026).



09:30-10:30 | Welcome & Introduction

Kasia Redzisz, KANAL Artistic Director

Sandrine Colard, KANAL Curator-at-large


10:30-12:00 | Iconography Panel

This panel considers the making, uses, and distribution of iconic images and visual objects within the history of Pan-Africanism. We will consider what constitutes Pan-African iconography and what remains unavailable for iconographic representation.


Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona - MACBA


Alicia Knock, Curator Contemporary Art and Prospective Department, Centre Pompidou Paris.
Nydia Swaby, Black feminist researcher, writer and curator, London.
Hamza Walker, Director LAXART, Los Angeles.


12:00-13:30: Lunch


13:30-15:00 | Aurality Panel

The panel explores the significant role played by sound and listening, from music to political speech, within the history of Pan-Africanism. We will explore the pathways of circulation and practices of reiteration that enable the resonance of these sonic forms across the Black world.


Adom Getachew, Assistant Professor Political Science, Race, Diaspora, & Indigeneity, University of Chicago


Antawan Byrd, Associate Curator Photography and Media, Art Institute of Chicago.
Yasmina Reggad, Independent researcher, writer and curator and performance artist, Brussels.
Satch Hoyt, Multimedia and sound artist, Berlin.


15:00-15:30: Short Break


15:30-17:00 | Poetics Panel

The panel considers how certain literary genres and forms have proved central to Pan-African discourse. We will examine the aesthetic and rhetorical contours of a Pan-African poetics broadly construed.


Matthew Witkovsky, Vice President for strategic art initiatives and Chair of Department of Photography and Media, Art Institute of Chicago


Antoine Tshitungu Kongolo, Professor University of Lubumbashi
Amanda Carneiro, Assistant Curator Mediation and Public Programmes, Museo de Arte de São Paulo.
Nadia Nurhussein, Professor English and Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

17:30-18:30 | Closing Keynote

Tsitsi Ella Jaji, Poet and Bacca Foundation Associate Professor, Duke University, Durham


18:30: Conclusion

Kasia Redzisz, KANAL Artistic Director.
Sandrine Colard, KANAL Curator-at-large.

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