• Pan African Space Station (Radio Pop Up)


    October 23, 2019 - November 09, 2019

    Public Reception Friday, October 25, 5:30-6:30pm

    From October 23 - 25, 2019, Chimurenga will install its Pan African Space Station (PASS) at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, New York City.  After PASS’ three-day broadcast, the gallery transforms into a reading and listening space of Chimurenga’s radio archives and publications as well as recording and performance space by WNSR New School Radio students and as well daily jazz recitals by duos, trios, and quartets of students from The New School’s College of Performing Arts students (see below for details).

    The PASS broadcast will explore the participation of African American artists, activists, and intellectuals in the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC '77, held in Lagos, Nigeria, in January-February 1977. The nearly 700-strong US delegation at FESTAC '77 was "the largest single group of African Americans ever to return to Africa in one body" (Ebony Magazine), and featured luminaries such as Sun RaStevie Wonder, Audre LordeAlice WalkerJayne CortezBarkley Hendricks, Betye SaarLouis FarrakhanFaith Ringgold, and many, many more. The poet Kalamu ya Salaam described the event as "the culmination of the Black Art Movement oriented artistic conferences, festivals, and gatherings".

    The Pan African Space Station in NYC will feature many of the participants in the 1977 event [names to come] and will close on October 25th with a rare performance of composer and trombonist Craig Harris' suite titled FESTAC '77 at the John L. Tishman Auditorium – Harris traveled to Lagos as a member of Sun Ra's Arkestra.

    This PASS landing will also serve as a presentation of Chimurenga's new book on FESTAC '77, the first publication to consider FESTAC in all its cultural-historic complexity, addressing the planetary scale of the event alongside the personal and artistic encounters it made possible.

    Listen to PASS live here


    Chimurenga, a pan African platform of writing, art, and politics was founded by Ntone Edjabe in 2002. Drawing together myriad voices from across Africa and the diaspora, Chimurenga takes many forms operating as an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa by Africans.

    Outputs include a journal of culture, art and politics of the same name (Chimurenga Magazine); a quarterly broadsheet called The Chronic; The Chimurenga Library – an online resource of collected independent pan-African periodicals and personal books; the African Cities Reader – a biennial publication of urban life, Africa-style; and the Pan African Space Station (PASS) – an online radio station and pop-up studio.

    Taking advantage of both the intimacy and unpredictability of the live radio studio space and the reach and scope of the internet, the Pan African Space station seeks to forge new collaborations across time and space. A combination of live conversations, discussion sessions, and performances, together with exhibitions of new and archival material interrogate our shared histories.

    The Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice (formerly the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics) 2018-2020 is awarded to the Pan African Space Station and is organized by Carin Kuoni, director, and Eriola Pira, curator, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and is made possible by Prize Founding Supporters James Keith (JK) Brown and Eric Diefenbach, Elizabeth R. Hilpman and Byron Tucker, Jane Lombard, Joshua Mack, and The New School for Public Engagement.


    Related Events: (All events in the gallery unless otherwise noted.)

    Sun Ra Arkestra and the jazz avant-garde at FESTAC
    Wednesday, October 23, 2019
    4:00–6:00 pm

    As revealed in Chimurenga's recent publication, which compiles stories from/about FESTAC, Sun Ra's Astro/Afro-mysticism was initially rejected by an important section among FESTAC participants – including some members of the US contingent. In conversation with trumpet and composer Ahmed Abdullah, and trombonist and composer Craig Harris, both Arkestra members who formed part of Sun Ra's group at FESTAC, we will listen to the Sun Ra Arkestra performances (and other free jazz musicians such as Milford Graves) in Lagos. The musicians are joined by photographer Calvin Reid (who documented the Sun Ra Lagos sessions), and jazz educator Richard Harper.

    Black Women Collectives at FESTAC
    Thursday, October 24, 2019
    4:00–6:00 pm

    Iconic black male poets often dominate stories of the Black Arts Movement. However, Black Women Collectives were represented at FESTAC via their members: Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Louise Meriwether, from the writers' group The Sisterhood; and Charlotte Ka Richardson, Faith Ringgold, Valerie Maynard, and many more from the visual arts group Where We At.

    In her reflection on black women's collectives and FESTAC, poet, choreographer and myth-scientist Harmony Holiday asks: "Can we override those epigenetic tendencies rooted in generational trauma, by simply gathering and sharing ideas on our own terms, or is it too late for that pure and reckless kind of love, that troubled and troubadour Black love?... Can a festival turn into eternal solidarity?"

    Harmony will read her text in the PASS studio in the company of some of the artists listed above.

    Black photography and the visual memory of FESTAC
    Friday, October 25, 2019
    3:00–5:00 pm

    The US mainstream media mainly ignored FESTAC–reporting and analysis from media outlets such as New York Times and Washington Post, among others, focused more on lamenting the absence of whites and poor organization of the event than covering the month-long program featuring original productions by some 30,000 artists from all over the Black world. A visual memory of FESTAC exists primarily through the perseverance of independent photographers such as Marilyn Nance, Calvin Reid, Kofi Moyo, Bob Crawford, among others, as well as the coverage produced by black media outlets such as Ebony.

    Nance, Reid, and other black photographers who documented FESTAC will join us in the PASS studio.

    Craig Harris FESTAC '77
    Friday, October 25, 2019
    John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100
    7:30-9:00 pm

    Craig Harris’ performance of “FESTAC ’77” is part of Chimurenga’s three-day installation of its Pan African Space Station in New York, in collaboration with the Vera List Center at The New School. This project explores the legacy of African-America’s participation in FESTAC ’77.

    Readings, concerts, and WNSR New School Radio
    October 27–November 10, 2019, 12:00-6:00 pm 

    • Tuesday, October 29, 12:00–1:00 pm
      The Valerio Aleman Quartet
    • Wednesday, October 30, 12:00–1:00 pm
      The Andrea Cagnola Trio
    • Thursday, October 31, 12:00–1:00 pm
      The Chris Lee Duo
    • Tuesday, November 5, 12:00–1:00 pm
      The Arta Jakobsone Duo
    • Wednesday, November 6, 12:00–1:00 pm
      The Arta Jakobsone Quartet
    • Thursday, November 7, 12:00–1:00 pm
      The Chris Lee Trio