Setting your Change Agenda with Osei Bonsu
One of the biggest lessons that I was gifted from my mentor, the late, great curator, Okwui Enwezor, is that every curator should have a change agenda. If you keep in mind that one thing you want to change profoundly, whether big or small, my sense is that you stand a very good chance of changing it.
When I arrived at Tate, my change agenda was a very simple one. It was to figure out a way in which one would regard African artists as being on a level footing with their Western counterparts. - Osei Bonsu
In episode 10 of the Latitudes Podcast, host Refiloe Mpakanyane speaks with British-Ghanaian, curatorial powerhouse, Osei Bonsu. A sought-after curator of contemporary art, Osei’s work has taken him all over the world, advising museums, art fairs as well as private collections. Also a lecturer and writer, Osei has contributed to various arts publications and exhibition catalogues. Before joining the Tate Modern as Curator of International Art, he had established the digital platform, Creative Africa Network, where he drew upon his experience to mentor artists and re-imagine more meaningful ways to create value for and among African artists on the continent. Osei shares why this mission to effect change abides in his current work and why a more textured and nuanced art space that grows the western canon, benefits us all. Osei’s expansive view on the purpose and potential of art moves our conversation to the importance of family as well as his take on professional recognition.
Osei Bonsu is a British-Ghanaian curator and writer based in London and Paris. He is currently a curator of International Art at Tate Modern, where he is responsible for organising exhibitions, developing the museum’s collection and broadening the representation of artists from Africa and the African diaspora. As a leading curator of contemporary art, he has advised museums, art fairs and private collections internationally and mentored emerging artists through his digital platform, Creative Africa Network. Bonsu has worked as a contributing editor for Frieze magazine and has contributed to a number of exhibition catalogues and arts publications including ArtReview, Numero Art and Vogue. Through his writing, Bonsu focuses on the relationship between art and issues of migration, race and identity in contemporary society. He has lectured widely on these subjects at various institutions including the University of Cambridge, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Royal College of Art among others. Bonsu holds a Masters in History of Art from University College London, and a BA in Curatorial Studies from Central Saint Martins. In 2020, he was named as one of Apollo Magazine’s ‘40 under 40’ leading African voices.
Osei Bonsu, portrait, courtsey Osei Bonsu
About the Latitudes Podcast
Hosted by dynamic broadcast journalist and penchant for the arts Refiloe Mpakanyane, The Latitudes Podcast, which is the only podcast dedicated to contemporary African art, is an immersive and engaging platform that builds a new layer of access to the contemporary visual arts from Africa.
Latitudes is now a pan-African platform with a global audience, and this podcast is an additional discoverability tool for global audiences to uncover African art and learn about the featured topics and speakers.
Season one of the Latitudes Podcast explores new ways of accessing and thinking about the contemporary visual arts from Africa, while building a robust archive of thought leadership.
About Refiloe Mpakanyane
Refiloe Mpakanyane is a broadcast journalist, with a penchant for the arts. Known for her love and support of local African literature, art and artists, Mpakanyane has an Honours Degree from the Wits School of Journalism and majored in International Relations, Media Studies and English Literature for her undergrad. Her firm grounding in the critical, analytical and creative thinking of the humanities discipline has underpinned her passion for broadcasting, leading her to delve into working not only behind the scenes in radio and television production, but in front of the camera and hosting her own radio shows as well.
About Latitudes Online
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Further Reading In Articles
African Artist Directory