Curatorial Studies

Simon Njami © Photo Copyright: Cyrille Choupas

Curatorial Lectures: Simon Njami

Curating and Globalisation


Each academic year, S.M.A.K., Ghent University, and Curatorial Studies at KASK & Conservatorium School of Arts co-organise the Curatorial Lectures series presented by renowned curatorial practitioners in relation to a specific theme. Following ‘Working with Artists’ (2017-18), ‘Learning from Artists’ (2018-19), ‘Working with Collections’ (2019-20), and ‘Working with Space’ (2020-21), the 2021-22 series casts a wide eye on curatorial practices that lie at the nexus of change by inviting reflective and engaged curators and scholars to bring fresh outlooks and expand our insights about a wide array of topics in relation to the curatorial.

Curatorial Lectures is a lecture series co-organised by S.M.A.K. and the Curatorial Studies postgraduate programme at KASK & Conservatorium in Ghent, Belgium.

The second lecture will be given by Simon Njami, who is a Paris-based independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and novelist.

"There was a time when the notion of curating was restricted to certain areas. There was a time when the notions of Center and Periphery were highly discussed. There was a time when art history was exclusive rather than inclusive. There was, finally, a time when the notion of contemporaneity was restricted to certain geographical areas. My question is: has anything changed? And if yes, why and how? And what does the notion of globalisation really represent in our contemporary times and is that discussion included in our practices? I shall address the notions of “outsider” or “maverick” to try and tackle those issues."


Simon Njami is a Paris-based independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and novelist. Njami was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art. He has written four novels and two biographies (James Baldwin, Léopold Sedar Senghor). He has served as artistic director of the first Johannesburg art fair in 2008, the Bamako photography biennale for ten years, and the Dak’art Biennale (Dakar, Sénégal, 2018/2018. He co-curated the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Njami has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art and photography, including Africa Remix (2004/2007) and the first African Art Fair, held in Johannesburg in 2008. The Divine Comedy (2013), at the MMK (Museum fur Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, SCAD, Savannah (2014), and The Smithsonian in Washington DC (2015). Xenopolis (Berlin 2015), Afriques Capitales (Paris, Lille 2017) Metropolis (Maxxi 2018),I am the Other, Galleria Nazionale (Rome, 2018) The Studio (Kampala Biennale 2019) This space between us (Las Palmas 2020), Materia Prima (San Giminiano, 2021), Kind of Blues (Abu Dhabi, 2021) He was a member of the scientific boards of numerous museums and institutions, Visiting Professor at UCSD (University of San Diego California 1991/93) In 1998, he created the Pan African master classes in photography, with the Goethe Institut and directed it over 12 years, and set up the collection of contemporary art for the Memorial Acte museum in Guadeloupe. He published and edited numerous books among which the latest Stories Histories, the story of Revue noire (2020). Njami studied literature, law and philosophy (Sorbonne Paris).

Simon Njami: Curating and Globalisation