Traction: Art Talk with Manthia Diawara


Malian filmmaker and cultural theorist Manthia Diawara is a celebrated author and director. He collaborated with author Ngûgî wa Thiong’o in making the documentary Sembène: The Making of African Cinema (1994), and has directed numourous films, including Rouch In Reverse (1995); In Search of Africa (1997); Bamako Sigi-Kan (2003); Who’s Afraid of Ngugi? (2006); and Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka and Senghor (2015). His most recent film, An Opera of the World (2016) premiered at dOCUMENTA 14.

Diawara has also published widely on the topic of film and literature of the Black Diaspora. He is the author of Black-American Cinema: Aesthetics and Spectatorship (1993), African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992), and In Search of Africa (1998). Dr. Diawara is Director of NYU’s Institute of Afro-American Affairs and Director of the Africana Studies Program. A native of Mali, he received his education in France and later traveled to the United States for his university studies. He has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Pennsylvania.

For Traction, Diawara will be discussing his filmic practice, particularly focusing on An Opera of the World, 2016. An Opera of the World is a staging of Wasis Diop's Bintu Were, A Sahel Opera in Bamako, Mali in 2008 – a pioneering work telling the story of migration from West Africa to Europe by combining traditional Malian music with the structure of the Western operatic art form.Weaving together this performance with classical works and footage from the current migrant crisis, the film invites meditations on the role of music in experiences and representations of contemporary migration from Fatou Diome, Alexander Kluge, Nicole Lapierre, Richard Sennett and Diawara himself.

An Opera of the World will be screened preceding the talk on February 13, 5:30 - 6:40 p.m., also in DARC 108.

Location details: 

Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) 108

Admission details: 

The event is FREE and open to the public. Parking is available in the Performing Arts Lot (Pay at paystation).

Invited Audience: 
Manthia Diawara, An Opera of the World, 2016
Event dates: 
02/13/2018 - 7:00pm