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Visit the 31st Annual James A. Porter Colloquium on African-American Art and Art of the African Diaspora on Friday, April 16

WASHINGTON – On Friday, April 16, 2021 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT, visit the 31st Annual James A. Porter Colloquium, virtually, co-presented by Howard University’s Department of Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art and the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at University of Maryland, College Park. Registration is available at art.howard.edu/porter-colloquium

This year’s virtual program will explore the theme “Defining Diaspora: 21st Century Developments in Art of the African Diaspora.” Sessions will investigate the ways in which visual artists and scholars are defining, and redefining, the aesthetic contours and possibilities of the African diaspora in American art spaces. Started in 1990 by the late art historian Floyd Coleman, the Porter Colloquium is the foremost academic setting for innovative dialogue and perspectives from leading and emerging scholars, artists, curators, and cultural critics.

The Driskell Center will present its Distinguished Annual Lecture in the Visual Arts in Honor of David C. Driskell on Thursday, April 15 from 6 to 7 p.m. EDT on Zoom. The National Gallery of Art will live stream presentations with an online audience Q&A on Friday, April 16 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. Artist conversations will be available on Howard University’s colloquium website at a later date. Generous programming support has been provided by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

“For over 30 years, Howard University has served as the host of the James A. Porter Colloquium – the foremost conference on African-American art in the world,” said Lisa Farrington, Ph.D., associate dean of the Division of Fine Arts at Howard University. “Named in honor of Dr. Porter, renowned scholar of African-American art history and past chair of Howard University’s Department of Art, and founded by another Howard leading light and Department of Art chair, Dr. Floyd Coleman, the conference annually draws to Howard’s campus hundreds of eminent artists and scholars of color from across the nation and around the globe. It offers a rare opportunity for students, art historians and artists to share innovative research.”

2021 Porter Colloquium Honorees and Distinguished Speakers

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Renée Stout, artist

Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis, Evjue-Bascom Emerita professor of African and African-American art history and visual culture, departments of Afro-American studies and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

James A. Porter Book Award

“Travel and See: Black Diaspora Art Practices Since 1980,” by Kobena Mercer, professor of history of art and African-American studies, Department of the History of Art, Yale University

“A marvelous work, Kobena Mercer’s “Travel & See” has the potential to introduce a whole new audience to the work of several artists of the Black diaspora, while at the same time shifting our understanding of their artistic practice by radically reframing how we understand the very concept of diaspora and diasporic art.” – Tina M. Campt, author of “Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe”

Opening Lecturer

Erica Moiah James, assistant professor of the Department of Art and Art History, University of Miami

Artist Conversations

Willis “Bing” Davis in conversation with Akili Tomassino, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Aïda Muluneh in conversation with Larry Cook, assistant professor of photography in the Department of Art, Howard University, and Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D., associate professor of the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, Howard University

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About the James A. Porter Colloquium

The James A. Porter Colloquium, established at Howard University in 1990 by former Department of Art Chair Dr. Floyd C. Coleman, is named in honor of the late Dr. James A. Porter, scholar, art historian and former chair of the Department of Art at Howard University. His seminal 1943 publication “Modern Negro Art” formed the foundation for the scholarly study of African-American art. The annual colloquium builds on Dr. Porter’s pioneering work to nurture the scholarly study, appreciation and celebration of African-American art and has attracted scores of internationally renowned speakers, among them: David C. Driskell, Lisa E. Farrington, Okwui Enwezor, Lowery Stokes Sims, Robert Farris Thompson, Kelli Jones and Valerie Cassell Oliver as well as artists Lorna Simpson, William T. Williams, Sam Gilliam, Lyle Ashton Harris, Chakaia Booker and Lorraine O’Grady.

About the Center for Advanced Studies of Visual Arts (CASVA)

The Center for Advanced Studies of Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, founded in 1979 and located in the National Gallery’s East Building, is a research institute that fosters study of the production, use and cultural meaning of art, artifacts, architecture, urbanism, photography and film worldwide from prehistoric times to the present. 

About the David C. Driskell Center

Established in 2001, the Driskell Center provides an intellectual home for artists, museum professionals, art administrators and scholars who are interested in broadening the field of African diasporic studies. The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park, honors the legacy of David C. Driskell (1931-2020), distinguished university professor emeritus of art, artist, art historian, collector, curator and philanthropist, by preserving the rich heritage of African-American visual art and culture.

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 140 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright Scholars. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu

Media Contact: Imani Pope-Johns, public relations manager, Imani.popejohns@howard.edu