Simon Njami

Simon Njami, Independent Writer and Curator, Paris, France

Simon Njami is a Paris-based independent curator, lecturer, art critic and novelist, who studied literature, law and philosophy at the Sorbonne. He was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art. He served as Artistic Director of the First Joburg Art Fair in 2008, the African Photography Encounters biennial in Bamako for ten years, and the Dak’Art biennale (2016/2018). He held different roles at the World Press Photo awards. He co-curated the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He is President of the International Festival of Extraordinary Textiles (FITE), Clermont-Ferrand.

Njami has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art and photography, including: Africa Remix (2004/2007) at the First Joburg Art Fair (2008); The Divine Comedy (2014) at the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah (2014), and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. (2015); Xenopolis (Berlin 2015), After Eden, the Artur Walther Collection (Maison Rouge, Paris, 2015); Afriques Capitales (Paris, Lille 2017); Metropolis (Maxxi, Rome, 2018); I is another (Galleria Nazionale, Rome 2018); Aujourd’hui (National Museum of Cameroon, 2019); The Studio (Kampala Biennale 2019); This Space Between Us (Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas 2020); Materia Prima (San Giminiano, 2021); A Collective Diary (Tunis, 2022); Charades, a solo exhibition of Yassine Balbzioui’s work (Marrakech, 2022); and The Sharing of the Sensitive (Suza, 2023).

He has been a member of the scientific boards of numerous museums and institutions, and a Visiting Professor at University of San Diego California (UCSD) (1991/93).

In 1998, he created the pan-African Photographer’s Master Class with the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg and directed it for 12 years. He also set up the contemporary art collection for the Mémorial ACTe museum in Guadeloupe. He created and is conducting the critical-thinking workshop AtWork, nurtured by the Moleskine Foundation. He has published and edited numerous books, including two biographies (of James Baldwin and Leopold Sédar Senghor) and four novels. His latest publication is Histoire Histoires/Histories Stories, the story of Revue Noire (2021).