(IR)REVERENCE: Interview with Mellon Creative Residents Chika Unigwe and Niq Mhlongo

(IR)REVERENCE: Interview with Mellon Creative Residents Chika Unigwe and Niq Mhlongo

Fifty years ago, Chinua Achebe wrote the landmark novel Arrow of God. Next week, October 6-9, the Tri-Colleges will host the conference (Ir)reverence in celebration of this anniversary, featuring Mellon Creative Residents Chika Unigwe and Niq Mhlongo. Chika Unigwe is the author of On Black Sisters’ Street, which won Nigeria’s biggest literary prize, the NLNG Prize for Literature. She has written in both English and Dutch. Niq Mhlongo is the author of the novel Dog Eat Dog. The Spanish translation, Perro come perro, won the 2006 Mar de Letras prize. We caught up with these two writers for a sneak peak on the conference. To hear more, come to their writing workshop and panel discussion. Mellon Creative Residencies: Why do you think readers are still attracted to Arrow of God fifty years after publication? Chika Unigwe: Achebe’s writing is timeless. Arrow of God, like the best of his writing, is written in an elegant, warm tone even while it deals with very serious themes, so it is very easy to draw readers in. The effects of colonization are still with us in Nigeria in many different ways, and so Arrow of God remains relevant. Niq Mhlongo: In Arrow of God, I think Achebe had effectively showed that literature can be used to tell the African story from an African perspective. He had successfully demonstrated to readers that literature can be used as a weapon to restore or regain people’s lost identity, self-respect, and dignity. He does this by showing readers in human terms what happened to them and what they had lost. Personally, I subscribe to the notion that...
Strategies of Vision: Mellon Creative Resident Riva Lehrer

Strategies of Vision: Mellon Creative Resident Riva Lehrer

I walked into a small Stokes classroom and discovered an unexpectedly busy hustle and bustle of students setting up extra chairs around the table. Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on Mellon Creative Resident Riva Lehrer’s talk “Strategies of Vision: Artists, Impairment, and Disability Culture.” Riva is an artist, writer, teacher, and curator, and the recipient of many awards, including the 2009 Critical Fierceness Grant—an award that Riva assured us was real and comes from an organization that mostly does “dance raves.” Riva’s work focuses on the physical identity and the body, and she has been curating images of impairment for over twenty years. The course that I sat in on—Disability, Identity, Culture—taught by Prof. Kristin Lindgren, is part of a 360 program this year titled “Identity Matters.” Last week, past students of the class and other professors joined current members of Prof. Lindgren’s class to hear Riva speak. Riva speaks directly and with humor, and is unafraid to bring up controversial topics. She prefaced her talk with the warning, “there’s nothing I’m gonna show you that is not problematic, including my own work.” The millennia of negative descriptions of disability weigh heavy on current representations of disability and impairment, so Riva told us all to maintain a “both and” state of mind, in which the negatives and positives of a work do not negate each other. When she first started curating art related to impairment, Riva recalls an almost universally negative reaction. Twenty years ago, there were almost no positive portrayals of disabled people, “unless,” Riva added, “you count Catholic saints, and I don’t actually...

On “White Boys” /// Conversation with Brendan Wattenberg ’06

As part of the exhibition White Boys currently on view in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, the Creative Residencies Program and the Hurford Center are hosting a panel discussion with four artists from the show and curator Natasha L. Logan this Wednesday, 4/17 at 4:30 p.m. in Stokes 102. Moderating the panel will be Brendan Wattenberg, Director of Exhibitions at The Walther Collection Project Space in New York and Haverford Class of 2006 (While a student at Haverford, Brendan was also one of the first to get involved with the Hurford Center’s student programming). In advance of the conversation, CFG Gallery Assistant Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein ’16 checked in with Brendan to get his thoughts on White Boys and his own time at Haverford. How do you know White Boys Co-Curators Hank Willis Thomas and Natasha L. Logan? When I was in graduate school for Africana Studies at New York University, I had a class with Deborah Willis, Hank’s mother, who is one of the most renowned historians of African American photography. Through Dr. Willis, I met Hank and I began to learn about his work, particularly after his exhibition “Pitch Blackness,” which was shown in 2009 at Jack Shainman Gallery. This winter, Hank, Natasha, and I participated in an amazing conference in Paris, co-organized by NYU and Harvard, called “Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West.” At one point during the conference, as we were rushing around between events, I ran into Natasha and she said: “Remind me – we have to talk about White Boys.” And at first I thought, “white boys”? Like, in general? Were there any pieces...

TONIGHT /// Dufala Bros. & Matthew Callinan on WHYY

Past Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery artists Billy & Steven Dufala will be featured tonight, Friday March 1st, on WHYY’s Friday Arts program, along with Campus Exhibitions Coordinator Matthew Seamus Callinan. Check out a preview and tune in to WHYY TV 12 at 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT. Meanwhile, learn more about the Dufala Brothers’ Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery exhibit PROBLEMY here; and, check out these crazy time-lapse videos created as part of their residency at Haverford, courtesy of the Center’s Visual Studies Postdoctoral Fellow John...

“The Marriage of True Minds” Now Streaming @ Pitchfork.com

The new Matmos record “The Marriage of True Minds” is now streaming on Pitchfork.com; psychic material for the album was recorded as part of a Mellon Tri-College Creative Residencies project with Haverford Professor of English Gustavus Stadler… Haverford folks may notice a few familiar faces/places if they scroll through the images on Pitchfork… Watch footage from Matmos’s psychic sessions and collaborative performance with Haverford students, staff, and faculty here: Read more about the residency here. And, the rest of Matmos’s performance at...