Shade × Hauser & Wirth: Michael Ohajuru

15 June 2021

Unencumbered Voices in Curated Spaces: Inspired by the life & work of Sir Frank Bowling

The second episode in a special series of conversations from Shade, supported by Hauser & Wirth, is with art historian Michael Ohajuru.

‘Unencumbered Voices in Curated Spaces’ is a three-part podcast series inspired by the life and work of Sir Frank Bowling, providing a collaborative platform for diverse perspectives investigating freedom of expression today and throughout art history. Hosted by Lou Mensah, Shade engages a wide community of creatives across disciplines, who have challenged existing narratives on representation and identity within their work.

‘First, there’s history, factual history. There’s a painting with a Black presence. What does it mean? … I think there'll always be a need to understand Black presence from a historical point of view, a kind of a factual interpretation. What does this mean to us today? The paintings have a meaning then and they have a meaning now.’—Michael Ohajuru

Based in London, Michael Ohajuru is a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies where he leads the ‘What’s Happening in Black British History’ workshops, fostering a creative dialogue between researchers, educators, archivists, curators, and policy makers. He speaks regularly on the Black presence in Renaissance Europe at the National Gallery, Tate Britain, British Library, National Archives and the Victoria Albert Museum, highlighting the overt and covert Black presence in national art collections. 

His new book coauthored with With S. I. Martin, ‘The Guide to Black London,’ is forthcoming from September Publishing. –   Discover more conversations from Shade podcast, nominated for ‘Best Art & Culture Podcast’ in the British Podcast Awards 2021. ‘Unencumbered Voices in Curated Spaces: Inspired by the life & work of Sir Frank Bowling’ is produced and hosted by Lou Mensah of Shade, supported by Hauser & Wirth.  ‘Frank Bowling. London / New York’ is on view Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street from 5 May and Hauser & Wirth London from 21 May 2021.