Theme: Art and Identity in the Global Community
Sponsored as a Fellow by Professors Marisa Parham and Manu Mukasa
Born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Suheir Hammad immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, New York, when she was five. She has published two volumes of poetry, Born Black, Born Palestinian, and Zaatar Diva, and an autobiography, Drops of This Story. Hammad has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and was a member of the 2003 Tony Award-winning cast of the original Broadway show. She believes poetry is a place for imagination, exploration, dissent, and critical thinking and is committed to making it a popular art.
Sponsored as a Fellow by Professors Heidi Gilpin and Wendy Woodson
Zeina Nasr graduated from Amherst in 2006 with two summa cum laude theses, one in English and one in Theater and Dance. She is currently based in Lebanon, the country of her birth. As a Copeland Fellow, she will study voice in preparation for a degree program in composition. She will also benefit greatly from the opportunity to interact with the more established artists in the colloquium, addressing her cross-disciplinary interests in literature, film, theater, and music.
Sponsored as a Fellow by Professors Christian Rogowski and Rowland Abiodun
Daniel Kojo is an Afro German painter who divides his time between Munich and Kumasi, Ghana. A series of his recent paintings, titled “brother Beethoven,” reflects on the encounter between European and African cultures in the context of the African Diaspora. Many of his paintings feature the recurring motif of the afronaut—a ghostly visual presence based loosely on Lee “Scratch” Perry, a Jamaican record producer and kind of post-modern shaman whose provocative and enigmatic persona challenges notions of stable, “racial” identity.
Sponsored as a Fellow by Professors Leah Hewitt, Helen von Schmidt, and Rhonda Cobham-Sander
Jean-Marie Teno was born in Cameroon and educated at the University of Valenciennes, France. A filmmaker whose works have spanned documentary and fiction films, his work often focuses on the post-colonial experience in Africa. Foregrounding the gaps between perception and perspective, his work reframes many of the standard perspectives developed by early documentary filmmakers who trained their anthropological gaze on Africa. His prize-winning documentary Le Malentendu Colonial turns an anthropological eye on European society by offering a detailed critique of the German colonial adventure in Namibia.
Sponsored as a Fellow for the Fall Semester by Professor Christopher Dole
Entang Wiharso was born in Central Java, Indonesia, and now divides his time between Foster, Rhode Island, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Indonesian Fine Art Foundation has recognized him as one of his country’s Top Ten Painters. Wiharso has exhibited his paintings and given performances around the world, and he has been described as a man “who can paint the uncertainty of identity honestly.” His work explores his heritage as an Indonesian citizen on the larger global stage, often openly examining humanity’s duplicitous and contradictory nature, as well as scrutinizing social relations.