By Siobhan Carroll, The Space Programmer
We in the public programme team have been putting together a very lively series of events that coincide with the current Jean Genet exhibition. Artists, scholars, writers and others who knew Genet personally will descend on Nottingham for three daytime symposia that will reflect on his life and work – not simply looking back, but also investigating his legacy as it still holds relevance today. The symposia will concentrate on elements of Genet’s later life and plays as well as his experience with the Palestinian people and the Black Panther Party.
The first symposium (which happens tomorrow!) will consider Genet’s literary and theatrical assaults on colonialism and conceptions of sexual identity. Speakers, artists and academics such as Clare Finburgh, Carl Lavery, Adrian Rifkin, Agnès Vannouvong, and Lili Reynaud-Dewar will offer insights into the writer’s complex confrontations with French society in the backdrop of May ‘68.
On 29 September, we’ll explore Genet’s involvement with the Palestinian people with guests Leila Shahid, Anjalika Sagar from The Otolith Group, Hadrien Laroche and Doreen Mende. Each will discuss Genet’s exchange with, and representation of, the Palestinian struggle. Leila Shahid, for example, was a close friend during the writer's final years and was with him when he visited the Chatila Refugee Camp. Now General Delegate of Palestine at the European Union, she will discuss Genet's passion for this displaced people and what she sees as his lasting contribution to the understanding of the Palestinian cause.
Finally, on 30 September, we will welcome Emory Douglas, Kodwo Eshun and Lili Reynaud-Dewar, with John Akomfrah OBE and Kobena Mercer who will join the day’s discussion via Skype video chat. The first half is a rare lecture by Emory Douglas (have you seen his murals at the gallery yet?) – the Panthers' former Minister of Culture – who is travelling over from California for the event.
After the last symposium we’re delighted to welcome back Derby based DJ Devon Daley to help us wind down and reflect on the day’s events in the Cafe.Bar with Panther-inspired soul, funk and hip hop records.
Whether you’re looking for discussion with artists, debate about politics, or just some stimulating history and good music – all of which is free of charge – we hope to see you around the gallery this month! (Dates, times and booking links are below.)
Genet: Sex, Power and Dramaturgy – Book
Tomorrow, Wednesday 14 September 2pm – 6pm
Genet and the Palestinians – Book
Thursday 29 September, 3pm – 6.30pm
The Panthers and Genet – Book
Friday 30 September, 11am – 4pm