BAHM | 2.16.18 | Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi
Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi is a Nigerian artist, art historian, and curator. He is currently the Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, an historic appointment, as he is the first and only black curator at the institution since its founding more than a century ago, in 1913. He previously served as the first curator of African art at Dartmouth College Hood Museum of Art from 2014. That same year, he was one of three curators of the Dak'Art Biennial, which explored the theme of globalization through African ideas of communalism and anonymity. Previously he guest-curated a survey of African art at the Richard Taittinger Gallery in NY in 2015 as well as the Shanghai Biennial in 2016.
Nzewi studied as a sculpture under the prolific El Anatsui, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he received his B.A. in fine arts in 2001. For 6 years he worked as in independent international artist and curator, working to organize three iterations of the Afrika Heritage Biennial. In 2006, he worked on a yearlong postgraduate program on Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of Western Cape and also completed an artist residency at the Greatmore Studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. In 2013, he received his PhD in Art History from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. While there, he acted as guest curator of Transitions: Contemporary South African Works on Paper at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA. He has received Robert Sterling Clark and Smithsonian fellowships. His writing has been included in several publications including African Arts Journal, Studio, World Art, and SAVVY.