BA, 1997, Smith College, Northampton, MA; MFA, 2004, SAIC. Exhibitions: Fe Gallery, Philadelphia; Art Loop Open, Chicago; THE LAB for performance + installation, NYC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; "Speak Out, Speak Art" for Illinois Humanities Council at MCA, Chicago. Presentations: Northwestern Block Museum; Vocalo WBEZ; Radio Pacifica; "Intersectionality Series," SAIC; WebVisions; "Black to the Future," Purdue University, Indiana. Publications: "Essays on Afro-Futurism," Chicago Art Magazine; CoonBIDNESS; interviews for Afrofuturism by Ytasha Womack. Awards: NEH Institute Fellow; Illinois Arts Council; CAAP Grant.

Personal Statement

D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem is an Afro-Futurist space sculptor, performance artist, designer, writer, and educator. For the last 15 years, her award-winning work has bridged the disciplines of interior design, site-specific sculpture, public art practice, and science fiction. She creates interactive spaces that interrogate stereotypes, titillate the senses, and empower those who experience them to shape their own futures, rooted in Sun Ra's transformational legacy and asking, "Who controls the future?" She is concerned with issues of incarceration and liberation, both physical and metaphoric. Based on her recent selection as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow for Black Aesthetics Institute, she is developing a new series of photographic portraits based on the Yoruba orisa Osanyin.

Denenge developed the course Afro-Futurism: Pathways to Black Liberation and additionally, over the past eight years has taught Black Arts Movement, Black World Ritual Performance, and Arts of Africa at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as conducting community-based artworks at South Side Community Art Center; Young Women's Leadership Charter School in Bronzeville; Speak Out/Speak Art for Brown v. Board 50th Anniversary (audience interactive for Illinois Humanities Council); and as a Critical Encounters task force member for Rights, Radicals and Revolutions featuring Sam Greenlee's "Spook Who Sat By The Door." Selected exhibitions include: Rapunzel Revisited: An Afri-sci-fi Space Sea Siren Tale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Alter-Destiny 888, THE LAB for performance + installation, NY; Super Space Riff: An Ode to Mae Jemison and Octavia Butler in VIII Stanzas, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. She worked on the King Agyeman Prempeh I, adinkra cloth exhibition at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, DC and was Program Coordinator, Visiting Artists Program, SAIC. Interview excerpts were recently published as part of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha Womack, and she will appear as the voice of Yetunde in Buki + Ezra's new animation The Golden Chain soon to be screened for the Black Radical Imagination film series.

Recent and upcoming presentations on Afro-Futurism and the MARS Project include: "Voyaging the Fantastic: Afrosurrealism and Afrofuturism in Wangechi Mutu and Contemporary Black Art," Block Museum, Northwestern University; WebVisions 2014, Portland and Chicago; National Endowment for the Humanities Institute lecture on Afro-Futurism, Emory University, Atlanta; "Black to the Future" conference with Alondra Nelson keynote, Purdue University, Indiana; and introduction to Space Is The Place for Watershed Media Center Afro-Futurism Film Series, Bristol, UK.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.