In 2017, we spoke with Bisi Silva, a curator based in Lagos, Nigeria. She explained that, until recently, an infrastructure hadn’t been in place in most African countries to support contemporary curatorial practice as a profession. “The idea of a contemporary curator is a recent phenomenon,” Silva said. “Very few have a long history of curating—and some might find it uncomfortable calling themselves a curator, even though that’s what they’ve done for years.” But things are starting to change across the continent as professional training and university programs emerge.
Curator Bisi Silva explains how contemporary curatorial practice is developing as an established profession in Africa. Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on September 9, 2016.
Bisi Silva was an independent curator based in Lagos, Nigeria. She was founder and artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA), and served as artistic director of ART X Lagos Art Fair—West Africa’s first international art fair (2016). Silva co-curated The Progress of Love, a transcontinental collaboration between the Menil Collection, Houston, TX; Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, MO; and CCA (2012–13), as well as the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Greece (2009). Silva passed away in February 2019.