Skip Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Rex Nettleford Lecture on Colonialism and its Legacies 2023

Ekow Eshun, writer, curator and Chairman of the Fourth Plinth, will deliver the annual Rex Nettleford Lecture on Thursday 18 May 2023. On the subject of “In the Black Fantastic”.

Ekow Eshun will explore the landscape of ideas and imagery that informed his acclaimed book and exhibition, ‘In the Black Fantastic’, to chart the ways that Black creatives are  drawing inspiration from African-originated myths, beliefs, and knowledge systems. In the process confounding the Western dichotomy between the real and unreal, the scientific and the supernatural. And building new ways to confront racism and uplift cultures of resistance and affirmation.

The lecture, named in honour of former Honorary Fellow and Orielensis Professor Rex Nettleford, former Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, is intended to contribute to the advancement of academic research into the legacies of colonialism in all its forms.

Following the lecture there will be a presentation for the winners of the Rex Nettleford Essay Competition, in which Year 12 students were invited to submit an essay addressing specific aspects of colonialism. 

The event is free to attend, and everyone is welcome. We recommend attendees book a space via our online booking form.

Book Your Place

Ekow Eshun

Ekow Eshun is a writer and curator. He is Chairman of the Fourth Plinth, overseeing the most prestigious public art programme in the UK, and the former Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. He is the curator of exhibitions including, most recently, the critically acclaimed In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery, London, and author of books including  Black Gold of the Sun, shortlisted for the Orwell prize and Africa State of Mind, nominated for the Lucie Photo Book Prize. Described by The Guardian as a ‘cultural polymath’, he is the writer and presenter of documentaries including the BBC film Dark Matter: A History of the Afrofuture and the BBC Radio 4 series White Mischief. He has contributed to books on artists including Mark Bradford, Kehinde Wiley, Chris Ofili, John Akomfrah and Wangechi Mutu and his writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian,  The Observer, Esquire, Wired and L’uomo Vogue. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from London Metropolitan University.