Meleko Mokgosi's monumental installation Pan-African Pulp presents a complex and multi-layered reflection on histories of Pan-Africanism, Black Consciousness, and Southern African resistance movements. Made up of five parts, it engages with its audience in various ways, encouraging visitors to access this rich history through the medium of history painting, through popular posters, through comic books, academic literature or stories written in Mokgosi's mother tongue - Setswana. Multiple interpretations and readings are not only possible but are explicitly encouraged by the artist, whose work is saturated with archival research, theory and deep thinking about the history of artmaking and the powerful role artworks have (and continue to have) as sites of resistance and activism.
Taking Pan-African Pulp as their starting point, five different speakers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University will bring their unique points of view to the table, offering up new and perhaps unexpected interpretations, exploring how one artwork may act as a prism for diverse readings.
The program will take place in the Mokgosi installation on the first floor between the UMMA Shop and Cafe.
Bénédicte Boisseron, from the U-M Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), will respond to the mural examining the complexity of blackness;
Anita Gonzalez, from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the stories from Setswana oral tradition.
Annette Joseph-Gabriel, from the U-M Department for Romance Languages and Literatures, the 1969 Algiers Pan-African manifesto annotated by the artist;
Jamie Monson, Director, African Studies Center at Michigan State University, on the historical posters from internationalist and Pan-African movements from around the world;
Randall Scott, from the MSU Comic Art Collection, the large-scale panels inspired by African photo novels of the 1960s and ’70s.
The discussion will be moderated by Laura De Becker, UMMA’s Helmut & Candis Stern Associate Curator of African Art.