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Talk | Diasporic Rhythms

April 21, 202312:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This event takes place on Zoom. Please return to this webpage on the day of the talk to join the webinar via Zoom (Passcode: 190116).

CART captioning is provided.

About the Event

Join us for an online-only conversation between Denzil Forrester—an artist whose vibrant depictions of dancehall culture in the UK appear in the current exhibition Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s-Today—with music scholar and cultural activist Sonjah Stanley Niaah, whose many publications foreground the past and present of dancehall.

Please return to this webpage on the day of the talk to join the webinar via Zoom (Passcode: 190116).

About the Speakers

Denzil Forrester‘s (British-Grenadian, b. 1956) vibrant paintings immortalize the dynamic energy of the London reggae and dub nightclub scene during the early 1980s, a subject that has endured throughout four decades of his practice. In his recent work, scenes of urban dancehalls are juxtaposed with themes of social injustice, vivid recollections from his childhood, and contemporary views of Cornwall.

Forrester had solo exhibitions at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri and Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Florida this year. He has exhibited internationally at venues including The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Tate Britain, London; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Royal Academy of Arts, London; and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. His work can be found in the collections of Tate, London; Arts Council Collection, UK; Government Art Collection, UK; and Long Museum, Shanghai, among many others. Forrester is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sonjah Stanley Niaah is a Jamaican cultural studies and music scholar, cultural activist, and international speaker. A former director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies & Reggae Studies Unit at UWI Mona (2015-21), she holds international appointments as a member of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project (UNESCO) and the Senior Research Associate (honorary) at Rhodes University. She is also an advisor to the executive at the International Cultural Diversity Organisation, an inaugural board member of the Glasgow Caribbean Centre for Development Research (UWI Cave Hill), and has held posts such as vice chair of the international Association for Cultural Studies through which she coordinated the first conference held in the Global South at the UWI (2008). Stanley Niaah is the author/editor of numerous publications. These include Dancehall: From Slave Ship to Ghetto (University of Ottawa Press, 2010); Dancehall: A Reader on Jamaican Music and Culture (UWI Press, 2020); Dancehall In/Securities: Perspectives on Caribbean Expressive Life (Routledge, 2022); A Study on the Creative Industry as a Pillar of Sustained Growth and Diversification – The Film And Music Sectors In Jamaica, UNECLAC Studies and Perspectives Series – No. 72 (2018); “I’m Broader than Broadway: Caribbean Perspectives on Producing Celebrity” (Wadabagei, Vol. 12: 2, 2009); and “Of Sacred Crossroads: Cultural Studies and the Sacred” (Open Cultural Studies Vol. 3, No.1, (2019).


Lead support for the 2022–23 season of MCA Performance and Public Programs is provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman.

Major support is provided by the Alphawood Foundation and by Julie and Larry Bernstein.

Generous support is provided by Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation; Ginger Farley and Bob Shapiro, Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation; N.A., Trustee; Susan Manning and Doug Doetsch; and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.

The MCA is a proud member of the Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.

Lead individual sponsorship for Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990’s–Today is generously contributed by Kenneth C. Griffin.

Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris; Zell Family Foundation; Cari and Michael Sacks; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Jana and Bernardo Hees; Mellon Foundation; Gael Neeson, Edlis Neeson Foundation; and Karyn and Bill Silverstein.

Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein, Robert J. Buford, Citi Private Bank, Lois and Steve Eisen and the Eisen Family Foundation, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Nancy and David Frej, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Anne L. Kaplan, Charlotte Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Generous support is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and by Marisa Murillo.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

This exhibition is supported by Etant donnés Contemporary Art, a program from Villa Albertine and FACE Foundation, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with support from the French Ministry of Culture, Institut français, Ford Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, CHANEL, and ADAGP.

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