Of Africa


April 10, 2018

ROM Speaks: Zong!

Renowned Caribbean Canadian writer NourbeSe Philip delivers a moving performance of a selection of works from her recent poetry cycle based on the legal decision, Gregson v. Gilbert, at the end of the eighteenth century, related to the murder of Africans on board the slave ship Zong.


March 4, 2018

When Blue Falls In to the Ocean

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February 11, 2018

Heart of a Poet, An Afternoon with Afua Cooper

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January 27, 2018 to May 21, 2018

Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art

Exhibition Page

January 26, 2018

Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art

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January 26, 2018

#FNLROM: Contemporary Live

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September 3, 2016 to September 4, 2017

Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana

Exhibition Page

June 9, 2017

ROM Connects: Professor George Dei


May 6, 2017 to October 29, 2017

The Family Camera Project

Exhibition Page

January 21, 2017 to April 23, 2017

Isaac Julien: Other Destinies

Exhibition Page

March 7, 2017

ROM Speaks: Migration, People, Places & Politics

Panel discussion

February 28, 2017

Of Africa: Things, People and Ideas

Silvia Forni

February 9, 2017

ROM Daytime: Nineteenth Century Photography and the Black Subject in Ontario

Julie Crooks

February 7, 2017

ROM Speaks: True North: Race, Sexuality and Science in Arctic Exploration

With Lisa Bloom

February 3, 2017

Screening: "Who Killed Colin Roach?"

With remarks by Clifton Joseph

February 3, 2017


Activations included:
SUPAFRIK Central: Since its Toronto inception, SUPAFRIK has showcased contemporary African design/culture to audiences from Paris to New Orleans. SUPAFRIK collaborates with artists that represent the cutting edge of African-inspired creativity, from their fashion/art pop-up shops and their infamous sweatbox parties like GUMBO series or the annual Afrobeats at the Drake to their food events like Palattes of Africa and Jollof Wars. To commemorate 5 years of SUPAFRIK, founder Chinedu Ukabam has assembled an art-dance-food party featuring some frequent collaborators and introducing some new ones as well. Highlights: DJ Deemaks live Afrobeats music-video mixing. The delectably controversial Jollof rice makes its debut FNLROM!

January 26, 2017

ROM Daytime: Isaac Julien Other Destinies

Silvia Forni

January 24, 2017

ROM Speaks: Isaac Julien, In His Own Words

November 9, 2016

ROM Apology for Into the Heart of Africa

Read the press release.

October 11, 2014 to July 31, 2016

Maps, Borders and Mobility in Africa

Exhibition Page

March 22, 2016

ROM Speaks: The Strangers Notebook

Dawit Petros in conversation with Elizabeth Harney

February 6, 2016

Kitchen Conversations: Palettes of Africa

In partnership with fashion designer/curator, Chinedu Ukabam 

February 5, 2016

FNL Encore: One Love

Activations included:

  • Water Carry Me Go
    Curated by Chinedu Ukabam, Toronto-based fashion designer and Creative Director of SUPAFRIK and Afrotropolis Arts Collective), this "fashion-art" installation features seven luminary and rising African or Afrodiasporic designers from around the word. In this unique collaboration, each designer has created an original garment inspired by the theme of water, delivering beautifully diverse interpretations.
  • Screening: RasTa: A Soul's Journey, remarks by Donisha Pendergast

January 31, 2015 to November 1, 2015

Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity

Exhibition Page

October 18, 2015

Worn Dialogues: Exploring Black Feminine Identity

With Andrea Fatona, Jessica Karuhanga, Sylvia Hamilton

October 18, 2015
September 20, 2015
August 16, 2015

Worn Dialogues Gallery Conversations

Jessica Karuhanga, Mimi Joh, and Dalton Higgins

July 2015

Family Funday: Digital Diaspora Roadshow

July 18, 2015

ROM Speaks: Through a Lens Darkly, Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

February 22, 2015

In Conversation: Combat Jack with DJ Kid Capri

Program Partner: Manifesto

February 18, 2015

Screening: The Colonial Misunderstanding

With remarks by Aboubaker Sanogo

February 6, 2015

FNL Encore: Carnival

October 23, 2014 to October 24, 2014

Of Africa Symposium

Keynote Presentation Binyavanga Wainaina In Conversation, with Dan Yon

October 13, 2014

Google Hangout

Re-live the Google Hangout! ROM curator, Silvia Forni, and intern Geneviève Wallen kick off the Of Africa project.


Of Africa stems from an original idea of independent curators Julie Crooks and Dominique Fontaine. Since 2013, Crooks and Fontaine have been working with ROM curator Silvia Forni to develop a platform that would enable a more open and dynamic presentation of the diversity and creativity of the African continent. With Of Africa, the curators will present and promote historical and contemporary cultural and artistic production in Africa and its Diasporas to highlight issues that impact the present and evoke the potential of an infinite future.

Julie Crooks

Julie Crooks is the Assistant Curator, Photography at the AGO, and her first exhibition in that role was Free Black North (April 29 – August 20, 2017). She received her PhD in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where her research focused on historical photography in Sierra Leone, West Africa and the diaspora. Prior to joining the AGO, Crooks curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions in Toronto, including No Justice, No Peace: From Ferguson to Toronto in February 2017, co-curated with Reese de Guzman (co-organized by the Ryerson Image Centre and BAND). Julie is also the co-curator for the Of Africa project at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where she was awarded the Rebanks Postdoctoral Fellowship to research the various engagements of Black and African audiences with the ROM’s African Gallery, and the photographic history of Blacks in Canada.

Dominique Fontaine

Dominique Fontaine is a curator and Founding Director of aPOSteRIORI, a non-profit curatorial platform – researching, documenting, developing, producing and facilitating innovation in diverse contemporary art practices. Fontaine graduated in visual arts and arts administration from the University of Ottawa (Canada), and completed De Appel Curatorial Programme (Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

Her ongoing research: Evidence: Inter-documentation, surveys Contemporary Visual art practices by Black artists, curators, critics, theorists and art historians as a response to a gap concerning the accessibility of updated material on diverse artistic propositions from Africa and its Diaspora. Her curatorial projects include and- in. the light of this.______ Dineo Seshee Bopape, 2017, Darling Foundry, Montréal; “Images, Imageries, Imaginaires” – International Photography Exhibition of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, December 2010, Dakar (Senegal); “Forms and topographies: African Cityscape in flux”, 2009, Thessaloniki Biennale (Greece); “Moshekwa Langa: Unlimited”, Art Star Video Biennial, August 2005, Ottawa (Canada). Dominique is also the co-curator for the Of Africa project at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Silvia Forni

Dr. Silvia Forni is Curator of African Arts and Cultures in the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) Department of World Cultures. She is also Associate Professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Forni's research focuses on tensions, dynamics, and feedback that inspires contemporary creators in Africa and the diaspora and the way art challenges the stereotypical constructions of the Western imagination.

At the ROM she has curated several partial gallery reinstallations and exhibitions. Her most recent exhibition project have been Isaac Julien: Other Destinies (2017); Art. Honour and Ridicule: Asafo Flags From Southern Ghana (2016); and Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity (2014). Since 2013, together with Julie Crooks and Dominique Fontaine, she is responsible for the Of Africa project, a multiplatform project aimed to support a sustained and long-term promotion of the cultural and creative diversity of Africa and its diaspora through an engagement with the collections in the museum and in dialogue with artists and creators active today.

She recently edited with Christopher B. Steiner the award-winning volume Africa in the Market. 20th Century art from the Amrad African Art Collection. Toronto: ROM (2015) and co-authored with Doran H. Ross Art, Honor, and Ridicule: Fante Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana (2017).

This program is generously supported by the William Thorsell Forum Fund.