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CELAFI 1992 and 1997 debates  focused on issues that were and continues to be of the utmost importance in the lives off Canadian and international arts and culture communities with emphasis on Africans in the diaspora. The  forums  featured noted authorities on topics of artistic creative expression and its spiritual interaction with the humanities, social sciences, politics, new technologies and business. Panel discussions and art discipline-specific round-table dialogues illuminated individual experiences and stimulated further discussions of vital issues such as freedom of speech, human rights and democracy.





Director: Nkiru Nzegwa, Professor of Philosophy and Art History , State University of New York at Binghampton,  conceived and developed the following panel topics to focus on issues of uppermost concern in the lives of the international African artistic community. 

These panels shared individual experiences, stimulated further discussions surrounding issues pertinent to the collective, and initiated dialogue which was later continued in other venues. Each theme addresses some aspect of the creative force as it relates to preservation, philosophy, empowerment, economics, politics and /or social change in the life of the artist of African descent.

Aesthetics Of The African World

This panel discussed the nature of the concepts that define an African-based aesthetics. This may be achieved either by reference to indigenous African artistic heritages, or through identifying recurring aesthetic impulses in the arts of various African communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

Moderator: Russel Gordon (artist, Montreal)

Panel: Samella Lewis (painter, publisher, African-American and African-Brazilian art historian, California), Mary Jane C, Hewitt (Caribbean and African-American are historian, California), Rowland Abiodun (Yoruba art historian, Massachusetts), Chukwuma Azuonye (writer, folklorist, Pennsylvania)

African Legacy In 20th Century Art And World Civilization

African artistic works - both visual and musical - have been appropriated, and have shaped 20th century art and aesthetic. It is important to understand the ways in which the arts of African world have enriched world culture.

Moderator: Maurice Bryan (gallery owner, curator and researcher on cross-cultural art symbolism, Ottawa)

Panel: Francoise Pfaff (writer, film critic, Washington DC), Terry Jenoure (musician/composer, Massachusetts), Jeff Donaldson (artists, art historian, Washington, DC),  Ousmane Sembene (film director and writer, Senegal)

African American Aesthetics

This panel addressed the two general questions of "what is African America aesthetics" and "what do they say"? Since the questions open up numerous lines of investigations, approaches that yield historical, thematic and textual insight were welcomed.

Moderator: Willis Bing Davis (artist, art historian, educator, Ohio)

Panel:  Cornel West (writer on cultural politics of difference, theologian, Princeton University), Barry Gaither (curator, writer, Afro-American Museum, Boston), Floyd Coleman (artist, African-American art historian, Washington),  Fred Wilson: (photographer curator, Bronx Museum of Art, New York) Tony Martin (author, editor, Harlem Renaissance historian, Massachutsetts)

African Canadian Aesthetics

Examined the role of art as a political and cultural tool of empowerment in the Canadian experience. In defining African-Canadian aesthetics, it will be instructive to look at the impact of the national policy of Multiculturalism on African-Canadian art.

Moderator: Francine Gobia (artist, administrator, Edmonton), Jim Adams (painter, instructor, Vancouver), George Elliott Clarke (poet, Ottawa), Henry Bishops (curator, Halifax), 


Métissage And Caribbean Creole Constructs

This panel unraveled the multiple cultural heritages of the Caribbean world and discussed the unique character of the art forms that define and shape Caribbean aesthetics.

Moderator: Austin Clarke (writer, novelist, Toronto)

Panel:  Horace Campbell (Pan African scholar and activist, New York), Leroy Clark (artist, painter, Trinidad), Carlyle Matthew (painter, sculptor, Vancouver)

Art In Cultural And National Identity

In exploring the sorts of cultural issues that relate to art in various national contexts, the issue of access and exclusion was  examined: How does the politics of funding work to exclude/include peoples of African descent from the art establishment; how does it affect the form and mode of artistic representation? What should be the role of museums in breaching this barrier?

Moderator: Carolyn Maitland (artist, NCA President, New York)

Panel:  Kinshasha Conwill (director, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York), Emmanuel Arinze (member UNESCO panel of museums, Nigeria), Mairuth Sarsfield (writer, United Nations liaison, Ottawa)

Icons And Images Of African Heritage In Art

In this panel symposium format,  artists discussed their art and historians discussed the work of artists who critically use the icons and images of African heritage in their works.

Moderator: Napoleon Jones-Henderson (fiber and installation artist, Massachusetts)

Panel: Khadejha McCall (artist, Montreal), Kwaw Ansah (film director, Ghana), 

Feminine Perspectives In Art

The panel explored issues of gender and cultural in art. Since the panelist's work in relation to, or through, feminine analysis, the discussion focused on the strategies surrounding their art production.

Moderator: June-Clark Greenberg (printmaker, Toronto)

Panel: Valerie Maynard (sculptor, printmaker, Maine), Chinwe Uwatse (painter, art administrator, Nigeria), Buseje Bailey (visual artist, Montreal), Mikelle S. Omari-Obayemi (artist, Afro-American & Afro-Brazilian art historian, Arizona)

Inspiration, Spirituality and Creativity

An exploration of the deeper meaning of creativity as it relates to art. The panel focus was on powers, symbolism and metaphors. Artists discussed the dominant impulses that have influenced their art and their creativity

Moderator: Rosalind Jeffries (sociologist, art historian)

Panel: Floyd Sandiford (artists, sculptor, Montreal), Varnette Honeywood (artist, California), Houston Conwill, Estella Conwill Mojozo & Joseph DePace (artists: installation and performance art New York)

Bridging Continents Embracing Cultures

The focus on this panel was on the modalities for establishing mutually beneficial professional and international linkages with artists and scholars of African descent. The objective was to explore the various modes of cooperation, and to examine ways of forging international alliances with artists.

Moderator: Koko Amarteifo (Canada Council, Ottawa)
Panel: Carroll Parrot Blue  (filmmaker, San Diego), Evangeline Montgomery (artist/curator, arts coordinator, Washington), Eric Robertson (curator, African Art gallery owner, New York), Stan Douglas (installation artist, Vancouver)

Faces And Phases: Yoruba Group & Individual Identity 

The panel examined issues of material culture, identity, power and empowerment among Africans of Yoruba extraction in Africa and the Diaspora - questions of individual, pan-Yoruba and sub-ethnic identities from sociological, philosophical and historical perspectives. Panelists also inquired into facial and body marks for personal aesthetic and group identity.

Moderator: A.G. Adebayo (historian, Toronto),

Olufemi Vaughan (sociologist, New York), Femi Taiwo (philosopher, Illinois).

Lesbian And Gay Aesthetics

The panel explored art as a political tool, a communication device and as a record of history in this movement. The ways in which heterosexism and racism deny access to the creation and legacy of an African gay and lesbian aesthete were examined.

Moderator:  Dionne Brand (writer, Toronto), Faith Nolan (musician, song writer, Toronto), Robert Reid-Phair (film and video producer, California), Cheryl Duyne (videographer, Pennsylvania), Marva Pitchford-Jolly (artist, curator, teacher, Illinois).

The PEN Canada Panel

The panel address critical issues facing writers, publishers both nationally and internationally: Questions such as access to publishing, distribution and promotion and development of wider audience for writers from diverse racial and ethnic groups.

Moderator: Cecil Foster (writer, journalist, Toronto)
Panel: Jack Mapanje (writer, Malawi/England), Marth Kumsa: (writer, Ethiopia), Dany Laferriere (writer, Montreal), Ademola Olugebfola (artist, publisher, New York)

The Business of Art

The panel focused on legal and business issues as they relate to the art profession: Topics such as international border crossing and customs, income tax, marketing, and maintaining your own business as it pertains to artist.

Moderator: John Harris (director, Harris Institute for the Arts, Canada/US)
Panel: David R. Paget (president International Arts Management, Canada), Brant Frayne (president Pramantha Pictures Inc., Canada), Bob Roper (vice president, Anthem Entertainment Group, US), Paul Sanderson (LLB attorney, Co-founder ALAS, Canada), Sandra Brooks (director, franchising, Manhattan York Financial, London), David Caudeiron (president, Black Music Assoc. of Canada & Cheers Music Pool, Canada)

Super Sessions & Workshops: How To Present Your Art Professionally

The Computer In Contemporary African Art - In Focus: Artist Acha Debela cibachrome prints of works created with the technologically innovative modes of digitizing and programming in creating art.

Session Leader:  Bamidele Agbasegbe Demerson

Meaning and Photographic Techniques

Instructor: Michael Chambers, Artist Photographer - Toronto CAN

Development of Photographic Based Community Resources

Instructor: Sharon Farmer, Artist/Photographer - Washington DC

Photography Workshop Seminar "the black way of seeing" in a medium that traditionally has not featured Blacks artists.  Workshop Leader/Facilitator: Armet Francis, Artist Photographer

Late Night Sessions

Late Night Sessions

Westbury Hotel - Buckingham Room 

July 9, 1992  - 11:00 pm - 2:00 am

Jazzy, free form, improv, jam sessions, a performance, short video, film, poetry., a reading -  a space for the artist to demonstrate their licks - a catalyst for new works in progress:

Reading: Nise Malange/Poet; Video Screening: Ian D. Farquharson/Director; Perormance Donald Carr/Dancer, Actor; Discussion:Culture & Form Roxana Farrell and Bushra Junaid/Architects; Performance Anilia Soyinka/Dub Poet; Performance Clyde Morgan/Dancer

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Ryerson University's vibrant urban campus in Toronto's downtown core (350 Victoria Street) hosts an unprecedented international gathering
Of artists and academics from around the world in a series of sessions that may challenge preconceptions about the African contemporary art scene and even introduce a whole new vocabulary of criticism in the field.

Director: Adrienne Shadd

African Canadian Art: The Historical Legacy

Thursday July 10, 9-12

This panel challenges the notion that art production by Blacks is a recent phenomenon through scholarly research. 

Moderator: Sylvia Hamilton (filmmaker/writer, Halifax)
Panel: Norman Otis Richmond (Music, journalism, Toronto), Sharon Irving (curator, Toronto), Ruth Ann Shadd (educator, Windsor, George A. Arron's (archaeologist/anthropologist, Toronto)

Visionary Pan-African Through The Eyes Of The Artists For The 21 Century And Beyond

Thursday July 10,  1-3
This panel focuses on strategies for renewed Pan-Africanism through artistic impression.

Moderator: TBA
Panel: Peter Hudson (Cultural critic, Vancouver), Animata Sow Fall (novelist, Senegal)

Beyond "Primitivism": Defossilizing Contemporary Africa Art

Thursday July 10, 3 - 5pm

Is there a contemporary African Art? "Traditional" versus "Modern" in what is shown at galleries and institutions.

Moderator: C.A. Malcolm Coker (art education, Concordia University, 
Panel: Zab  Moboungou (dancer/choreographer, Montreal), Fry Camara (museum curator, Mexico) Gyan Apraku (master wood carver, Ghana), Simon Njami (writer/ publisher, Revue Noire, France)

On The Highway or At The Curb: Art and the New Technologies

Friday, July 11,  9 - noon
How are artists incorporating "hyper/cyber" technologies?

Moderator: TBC
Panel: Acha Debela (professor of Art computer graphics, North Carolina), Marva Jackson (writer/publicists, Toronto)

Identity, Loyalty and Belonging: Transgressing Blackness

Friday July 11, 1 - 3pm

How do difference and pluralism transgress standard notions of "Blackness"?

Moderator: TBA
Panel: Gerry Atwell (musician/composer, Winnipeg), Patrick Bellegarde-Smith (scholar Haitian culture, Milwaukee), Artis Lane (sculpture, New Mexico), David Sealy (writer/philosopher, Ottawa)

The Medium is The Word

Friday, July 11, 3 - 5pm

Will the oral tradition continue to have an important influence on Africa-based aesthetics in the new millennium?

Moderator: Winston Smith (jazz radio host, bookstore opener, Toronto)
Panel: Chalkdust (calypsonian/ musicologist, Trinadad) M Nourbese Philip (author, Toronto)

Ooohwee Baby, You're So Good

Saturday,  July 12, 9 - noon

Deconstructs notion of black sexuality in artistic production.

Moderator: TBA
Panel: Lyle Ashton  Harris (Visual Artists, Los Angeles), Gertrude Eden (PhD candidate, Literature, Montreal), Greg Tate (writer, Village Voice, musician, New York)

African Canadian Contemporary Art: Defining the Aesthetic

Saturday, July 11, 1-3pm  

Is African Canadian art transformed by the Canadian Landscape?

Moderator: Nkiru Nzegwa (curator, professor SUNY, Binghampton)
Panel: Rinaldo Walcott (cultural theorist, Toronto), George Elliot Clarke (author, professor, North Carolina), Colina Philips (filmmaker, Toronto)

Media Representation and Cultural and National Identities

Saturday, July 12, 3-5pm  

African/Black artists reshape and transform the main stream media.

Moderator: TBA
Panel: Charles Quist-Adade (sociologist Windsor), Kwame Dawes (professor of Literature, USA), Palesa Ka Letlaka (filmmaker, South Africa), Donald Byrd (jazz musician/musicologist, Delaware)

The Business of Art and the New Millennium 

Sunday, July 13, 3-5pm  - Breakfast Roundtable meeting, 9-11:30

Marketing, tax, international copyright, legal and business issues.

Moderator: TBA
Panel: Kofi Hadjor (CATS Management Services, Toronto), Simon Njami (Revue Noire, France), Vince Cannon (business manager, New Mexico), Lyle Ashton Harris (visual artist, Los Angeles) 

Canada Council Visual Art Workshop and Information Session

Ryerson University

Friday, July 11

Demystification of the arts funding process.

Design Artists' Workshop

Sculpture garden Harbourfront

Canadian and international artists' workshop and demonstration.

Curator: Scott Marsden

Theatre Round Table Discussion

Thursday, July 10 to Saturday July 12
Ryerson University in association with WUM Theatre

Thursday, July 10, 10 - 1pm 
Black Theatre History in Canada

Friday, July 11
10- 1 pm Black theatre and the Avante-grade
2-5pm Trekking Black Theatre across Canada (touring)

Saturday, July 12
10 - 1pm Trekking Black Theatre across Canada (touring)
2-5pm On/Black/Stage

Then and Now Music workshop

4:30 - 7 pm
Topics: The Kara Mandingo instruments of choice Senegalese Montrealer Baubacar Diabate; Talking Drums: Pillar of communication in Africa society with Master drummers from the Yoruba Association drummers (Nigeria/Toronto); The Steel Pan: The 20th century's only new musical instrument, and much more...

Admission Free

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