For the 5th year in a row as ART HK's official education partner, Asia Art Archive presents Backroom Conversations, a series of discussions in which leading experts and practitioners in the contemporary art field consider key issues affecting the art world. For the second year, the ‘AAA Burger Collection Keynote Lecture’ honours a significant voice in the field today and ‘Open Platform’ selects projects from around the world that demand to be heard. 

AAA Burger Collection Keynote Lecture: Okwui Enwezor

The AAA Burger Collection Keynote Lecture recognises an academic voice that has made significant contributions to the field and invites that individual to present his/her ideas.

This year, AAA welcomes Okwui Enwezor. One of the most influential curators and theorists in contemporary art, Enwezor is a curator, art critic, writer, poet, educator, and specialist in art history. His extensive accomplishments include serving as artistic director of Documenta 11 (1998–2002), the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1996–1997), and the 7th Gwang-ju Biennale (2008). He currently serves as Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany and Adjunct Curator of the International Center of Photography in New York.


Okui Enwezor is a scholar, writer and one of the most influential curators and theorists in contemporary art. Before becoming Director, Hau de Kunst, Munich, Enwezor served as adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago and he was dean of academic affairs and senior vice president at San Francisco Art Institute from 2005-2009. He has held academic appointments as visiting professor in art history at University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University, New York, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and University of Umea.

Enwezor was the 2010-11 Joanne Cassulo Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2011 he delivered the Alain LeRoy Locke Lectures at Harvard University, and in 2012 he is serving as Kirk Varnedo Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Chief Curator of La Triennale, Paris 2012, Enwezor has served as the artistic director of several leading biennials and international exhibitions including the 2nd Johanneburg Biennale (1996-1997); documenta 11 (1998-2002); the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville (2005-2006); and the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2007-2008). He co-curated Cinco Continentes Biennial, Mexico City; and served as curatorial advisor for Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennal; and 2011 Dublin Contemporary. He is currently Artistic Director of Meeting Points 6, a performance and visual arts project bringing together theater, dance, film, and contemporary art in eight cities (Beirut, Amman, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, Tangier, Brussels, Berlin).

Enwezor's extensive curatorial credits include exhibitions presented in museums and venues around the world, including Guggenheim Museum, Tate Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, Museo Tamayo and more. Amongst his numerous exhibitions are 'Snap Judgments: New Positions in African Photography'; 'Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art'; 'Century City'; 'Global Conceptualism' and more. He is currently completing work on two historical exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York, including 'The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Bureaucracy, Institutions and Everyday Life'; and 'Sun in their Eyes: Photography and the Invention of Africa, 1839-1939' as part of a trilogy of exhibitions focusing on the African continent.

Okwui Enwezor is the founding publisher and editor of NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Additional book publications include Events of the Self: Contemporary African Photography from the Walther Collection (Steidl, 2010); Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (with Chika Okeke-Agulu; Damiani Editore, 2009); Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art (ICP/Steidl, 2008); and Mega Exhibitions: Antinomies of a Transnational Global Form (Fink Verlag, 2002).

Enwezor is a recipient of numerous awards and honours for his work including Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, London (2010); Award for Curatorial Excellence from Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture, Bard College (2009); Agnes Gund Curatorial Award from Independent Curators International (2007); Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Criticism by the College Art Association (2006); and Peter Norton Family Foundation Curatorial Award (1998). His book Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography received Best International Photography Book of the Year Award from Photo España (2006), and the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (2007).



In conjunction with ART HK 12
Sponsored by Home Affairs Bureau
Additional support from Burger Collection, Platform, Yana & Stephen Peel
Media Partners: ArtAsiaPacific, Time Out

Relevant content

Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art
Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art
Exhibition Catalogue

Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art