Shade Shorts: on Curation with Aindrea Emelife

Curator and art historian specialising in modern and contemporary art and curator of Black Venus at Somerset House.

*Please note that the sound quality in this episode is compromised due to an unstable internet connection between London and Lagos, where this conversation was recorded. However, Aindrea's insights are not to be missed!

Aindrea Emelife is a Nigerian-British curator and art historian specialising in modern and contemporary art, with a focus on questions around colonial and decolonial histories in Africa, transnationalism and the politics of representation. Aindrea is currently the Curator, Modern and Contemporary at EMOWAA (Edo Museum of West African Art), a new David Adjaye designed museum complex and cultural district in Benin City, Nigeria due to open in stages from 2024.


Born in London, United Kingdom, Emelife studied at The Courtauld Institute of Art before embarking on a multifaceted career as a curator and art historian, producing highly acclaimed exhibitions for museum, galleries and private collections internationally. Recent exhibitions include BLACK VENUS; a survey of the legacy of the Black woman in visual culture which opened at Fotografiska NY and will tour to MOAD (San Francisco, USA) and Somerset House (London, UK) in 2023. Emelife’s first book, A Brief History of Protest Art was released by Tate in March 2022, Emelife has contributed to exhibition catalogues and publications, most recently including Revising Modern British Art (Lund Humphries, 2022) In 2021, Emelife was appointed to the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.

Lou and Aindrea consider Theaster Gates idea that “Black autonomy alone is too radical for current America” within the context of developing dialogues in contemporary art. We discuss the themes in her recent show 'Black Venus' and round up considering a key question of the series: 'Has the BLM period impacted art sector strategy?' We also find out how Aindrea navigates social media as a Black curator.

Shade Podcast is written, hosted and produced by Lou Mensah

Music generously composed for Shade by Brian Jackson

Thank you for listening and for supporting Shade - an independent art show highlighting the work of Black art practitioners via Patreon and Ko-fi

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