Kinshasa street comic artist Papa Mfumu’eto’s papers the focus of international workshop

This week, February 8-10 the University of FloridaCenter for African Studies’ 17th Gwendolen M. Carter Conference devotes a critical public forum to new methods and politics in curation and text-image studies. The focus is on a newly acquired vernacular manuscript collection under the curation of Dan Reboussin, and accessioned in the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections at the George A. Smathers Libraries.

Emphasizing juxtapositions, sequences, montage, friction, and postcolonial politics, conference sessions will problematize archival, field, and curatorial techniques in the global humanities. We aim to interrogate art, fables, lexicons, dreams, and disorder in everyday, artistic, research, and curatorial practices.  The History Department is a proud sponsor of this event, to be held primarily in the Reitz Union.

The conference celebrates the 2017 arrival of an extraordinary vernacular archive: one Congolese street artist’s personal collection of his comic art produced in Lingala, and generously acquired from Papa Mfumu’eto, who produced comic zines for over 20 years in the megacity of Kinshasa; and the collection intertwines religious, popular, aesthetic, and political dimensions. The conference will enable a collaborative curatorial process as the very first solo exhibitions of this eccentric artist, including one at the Harn Museum of Art, are conceptualized.

Over 15 scholars, curators, & artists from four continents will grapple with sequential art, creative writing, and vernacular archives from the Global South. The contemporary moment also will be present: We live in a new era when African immigration is massive, global, and hotly contested in many quarters and milieus, and not only in America or Europe. Africans are on the move, with many not fugitives in flight. Challenging racialized friction and xenophobia as they migrate into and inhabit new worlds, some intervene and engage through art. We invite Gainesville’s publics to join in thinking about such text-image engagements and the contemporary. Additional public events are co-sponsored with the City of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and the Sequential Artists Workshop.

This event is open to the public. For the full program and more information, please visit:

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