Studio Salon |
The African Lookbook

Untitled, 1952.
Unknown, Senegal.

May 15, 2021


Upcoming Event, Watch & Listen 2021, Conversations & Screenings

The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women is a personal archive and unprecedented visual collection representing photography from Africa between 1870 and 1970. Join us for a special conversation and workshop celebrating the book's release and the practice of self-fashioning as forms of art, craft, and resistance. Author Catherine McKinley will read from The African Lookbook and join in dialogue with multidisciplinary artists Fatimah Tuggar and Lola Keyezua. The program will be moderated by historian Tanisha C. Ford. Following the conversation, artist and educator Jazmine Hayes will facilitate a workshop using the publication as a point of departure to explore texture and textile through meditation, writing, and art-making. The workshop will begin at 1:10 pm EDT.

Live CART Captioning will be provided.



This program will consist of two parts. The first half will consist of a reading by the author and brief presentations by the artists, followed by a moderated discussion. After a break, the interactive workshop will begin with a guided meditation. The artist facilitator will then lead writing activity encouraging participants to engage with family photographs before demonstrating an art-making process that participants will have dedicated time to explore.

Suggested workshop materials

Family photographs or photo album
Colored pencils
Scraps of fabric
Braiding hair

Participant Bios 

Tanisha C. Ford is an accomplished writer, researcher, and cultural critic—working at the intersection of politics and culture. She has forged an international reputation for her groundbreaking research on the history of Black fashion and social movements. She is the author of Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl's Love Letter to the Power of Fashion, Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful, and Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul.

Jazmine Hayes is an interdisciplinary artist born, raised, and based in Brooklyn, New York. Her practice explores erased histories of the African diaspora and the ways they are preserved and reproduced through cultural traditions. Through this exploration, Hayes works across various mediums as forms of research such as installation, painting, drawing, performance, video, sound, and writing.

Lola Keyezua is an Angolan-born artist focused on individual stories depicted in a variety of media ranging from movies to paintings and sculptures, with a particular emphasis on photography. She believes in the role of art in empowering African artists to counter prejudiced and stigmatizing images of Africa. A graduate of The Hague’s Royal Academy of Arts, she explores the African renaissance as a contemporary storyteller, focusing on issues related to the feminine condition such as genital mutilation and disability in visual culture.

Catherine McKinley is a curator and writer whose books include the critically acclaimed Indigo, a journey along the ancient indigo trade routes in West Africa, and The Book of Sarahs, a memoir about growing up Black and Jewish in the 1960s–80s. She's taught creative nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. The McKinley Collection, featured in The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women is a personal archive representing African photography from 1870 to the present.

Fatimah Tuggar was born in Nigeria and raised there and in the United Kingdom. She has studied, lived, and worked in the US since the late 1980s. Her work uses technology as both medium and subject to serve as metaphors for power dynamics. She combines objects, images, and sounds from diverse cultures, geographies, and histories to comment on how media and technology diversely impact local and global realities.

Studio Salon explores the dynamic intersections of literature and contemporary art through artist talks, book launches and writing workshops.  


Support for The Studio Museum in Harlem’s digital programs has been provided by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s Frankenthaler Digital Initiative, the Open Society Foundations, and Art Bridges. inHarlem public programming is made possible thanks to Citi; the Stavros Niarchos Foundation; and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Additional support is generously provided by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Council.