Chazen Museum of Art | Curator Conversation: “Insistent Presence” with Margaret Nagawa

Join Margaret Nagawa, Ugandan artist and curator, in conversation with the exhibition, Insistent Presence: Contemporary African Art from the Chazen Collection. Through close looking, Margaret will share insights about contemporary African art and discuss selected works in detail.

Registration is required to attend.

About the Exhibition

Insistent Presence: Contemporary African Art from the Chazen Collection presents forty-five works of sculpture, painting, ceramics, printmaking, and photography by twenty-four contemporary artists living and working on the African continent and in the diaspora. The work comprises new acquisitions made possible by a significant five-year gift from the Straus Family Foundation. Insistent Presence examines how artists have reimagined the human figure as a lens to pose questions about social and political histories, contested identities, and the possible future of how we relate to one another. The exhibition title was inspired by renowned African art scholars and curators Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu. These scholars point to the enduring usefulness of depicting the human figure for artists keen on affirming the humanity of Africans and those critical of postcolonial governments. In this exhibition, artists provocatively explore the human body through juxtapositions of those political concerns with emotions and passions of everyday lived experiences.

Margaret Nagawa is the guest curator for Insistent Presence.

Margaret Nagawa is currently a Ph.D. student in contemporary African art at Emory University. Her research interests center on the intersection between sculpture and performance art as a site for material experimentation among artists asking questions about the concepts of nation and citizenship. Specifically, Nagawa investigates this nexus in the work of artists Francis Xavier Nnaggenda, Xenson Znja aka Samson Senkaaba, Immy Mali, and Leilah Babirye; and the poet Okot p’Bitek. Nagawa attained her M.A. degree in Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London, England with a dual focus on artists’ self-organizing and curating international exhibitions. Previously, she graduated with a first-class honors B.A. degree in painting and sculpture from the Margaret Trowell School of Fine Arts, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.


Nagawa has taught art at Makerere University Art School and curated exhibitions with the Makerere University Art Gallery and the Uganda Museum in Kampala. She has also worked at commercial galleries in Kampala and London, England. As a graduate student, she has held an Andrew W. Mellon Internship at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University and a Mellon Object-Centered Curatorial Research Fellowship at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.