Interview Art historian, curator and writer Aindrea Emelife
These are just the latest in a long line of achievements for 27-year-old Emelife, who debuted her first column for the Financial Times at 20 years old, has presented art films for the Royal Academy of Arts and The Hepworth Wakefield and launched her private art advisory, working with emerging artists and private collectors, in 2018.
Blending art and activism, she wants to be part of building a better world and creating something to influence generations to come, whether that’s moving people to joy and learning or amplifying voices and perspectives. We can’t wait to see what she does next.
THE WICK: Who is your ultimate Monday Muse?
Aindrea Emelife: Sarah Lewis, assistant professor of history of art and architecture, African and African American studies at Harvard University. She is a cultural powerhouse. Her ‘Vision & Justice’ project questions what the role of art and culture is for justice and this question is at the core of my current thinking.
TW: How would you like to see the art world facilitate more conversations around diversity and inclusion?
AE: Starting with education. There is a lot of (very just) conversation about approaching diversity in artist rosters and pertaining to what hangs on the walls. But I also want people to look at diversity in curators, academics and other art world professionals. It is crucial to ensuring a legacy for these artists.
TW: Which project are you most excited about in the year ahead?
AE: So many. I feel so incredibly lucky to have a number of projects I’ve been dreaming of beginning to actualise. I am excited to curate again and am working on two shows; ‘Citizens of Memory’ (title TBC) at The Perimeter, London, looking at how history, memory and nostalgia is an access point for the Black experience, and the other looks at the rise of the news, and the social issues of the last year with a very well-known artist at an exciting new cultural hub in the centre of London. I am also excited to start work as part of the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.
TW: What’s the book you would pass on as a gift?
AE: Can I choose two? Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric is a beautiful poetic meditation on modern American race relations (that quite easily adapts to UK nuances also). And for the sheer enjoyment of it, I recently re-read Simon Schama’s Power of Art and gosh, it is powerful, and moving and exciting. Its power makes me fall in love with it all over again in an entirely new way each time I read it.