"The Life and Legacy of Ota Benga"



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Moderated by Mary Coffey, Associate Professor and Chair, Art History, Dartmouth College


Thursday, February 11, 2016


Hood Auditorium


Hood Museum of Art

Intended Audience(s)



Featuring Niyi Coker Jr., E. Desmond Lee Professor, African/African-American Theatre, Cinema, Directing, Playwriting, & Acting Center for International Studies Fellow, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Pamela Newkirk, Professor, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University; Fred Wilson, Artist

This panel discussion will present the biography and legacy of Ota Benga (about 1883–1916) within the social, cultural, and political context of the United States in the early twentieth century, during which he was forcibly removed from his home in the Congo to be an exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair, then lived a short and tragic life thereafter. The discussants—a playwright/ filmmaker, a journalist, and an artist—have made Ota Benga’s story a major focus of their scholarly and artistic work over the past decade. The panel will also reflect on the tenth anniversary of the Hood’s collections-based exhibition curated by Wilson, So Much Trouble in the World—Believe It or Not! while investigating the relevance of Ota Benga’s history to American life today. The event will include both a screening of part of Coker’s forthcoming documentary and a discussion of Newkirk’s recently published biography, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (Amistad Press, 2015). It will conclude with a Q&A with the panelists. Cosponsored by the Hood Museum of Art, the Leslie Center for the Humanities, and the Departments of Art History, Studio Art, and Film and Media Studies.

Full Hood Calendar of Events: http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/events#

"Inventory: New Works and Conversations around African Art" Exhibition page: http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/explore/exhibitions/inventory


For more information, contact:

Alison Palizzolo

Permanent URL: https://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/events/event?event=37635

Categories: Arts, Exhibitions, Lectures & Seminars

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.