Adama Delphine Fawundu and Kalia Brooks Nelson: What are you working on now?

June 3, 2020

Oxum at Eko, 2018, Adama Delphine Fawundu

Tales from the Mano River is a site-specific mural by visual artist Adama Delphine Fawundu ’18. It was curated by Kalia Brooks Nelson and commissioned by Miller Theatre—where it has been viewed by thousands of concertgoers since September 2019. Fawundu’s haunting composited images of the West African river extend her research into the water deity, Mami Wata. We were happy to reconnect with them in early May. 

School of the Arts: What are you working on now? 

Adama Delphine Fawundu: I’m working on a couple of things. I am editing my first book of photographs, The Sacred Star of Isis. I am also working on an installation for an exhibit Inspirited: Overture, curated by Taylor Aldridge, which will open at The Red Bull Space in Detroit and the California African American Museum later this year. And, a digital installation for the 100 Years | 100 Women exhibition presented by the Park Avenue Armory and a number of institutions, which commemorates the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Kalia Brooks Nelson: I’m currently curating an exhibition for Moore College of Art scheduled to open in September 2020. I’ve been working on the show for about two years now, but suddenly making the opening date has become tenuous with all the restructuring precipitated by COVID-19. I’m also developing a manuscript about race, gender, technology, and contemporary art. 



School of the Arts: What are you thinking about now?  

Adama Delphine Fawundu: I am thinking plenty about radical love and how this concept ties into my overwhelming gratefulness and love for this earth, water, and air that we’ve been gifted by the universe. Also, our bodies (both as individuals and collectively) as gifts. Actively caring for these entities is essential.     

Kalia Brooks Nelson: I’m thinking about how I want to re-emerge once the world opens back up. This time has been incredibly stressful, scary, and deadly for many, but it is also an opportunity to align with my deepest priorities. I’m restoring and building my energy now so I can propel forward like a slingshot in our new collective reality (whatever it may be). 

Water Spirit: Don't Cry for me Argentina, Triptych, 2018

Tales from the Mano River

Below, watch the installation of Tales from the Mano River by Adama Delphine Fawundu in the lobby of Miller Theatre.