British filmmaker John Akonfrah will be artist-in-residence this Spring at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs. He is joined by the Ethiopian-American musician Meklit Hadero. The institute has a number of events planned around these two with the theme “The African Diaspora And/In The World.” They’re described as being “at the forefront of … [the] politics of new Pan-Africanism formations.” The institute’s website does not say much else as to what that implies (nor do the email notices I receipt about Akomfrah’s visit),so we’ll find out over the next two months.
It is the first time I hear of Hadero, but Akomfrah, born in Ghana and raised in Britain, is a brilliant filmmaker.
He has made almost 20 films (including on Martin Luther King Jnr. and Malcolm X). Try and see his 1986 film “Handsworth Songs,” about racism and racial violence in 1980s Britain; a masterpiece. There’s also “The Last Angel of History/Mothership Connection” (1995). I have also heard great things about his most recent film, “Mnemosyne.”
At various point they’ll be joined by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo (from Cameroon), academic and poet Fred Moten, some of the participants of the Black Portrait Symposium, Ethiopian-American musician Danny Mekonnen, and artist Coco Fusco.
Separately, Hadero will perform a concert on April 3rd. Here’s a sample: