Honorees and Distinguished Speakers

2021 Porter Colloquium Honorees and Distinguished Speakers

Prof. Curlee Holton

Annual David C. Driskell Center Distinguished Lecture in the Visual Arts in Honor of David C. Driskell

Curlee R. Holton has been the Executive Director of the David C. Driskell Center and Artist in Residence at the Department of Art at the University of Maryland since 2012.  The David M. and Linda Roth Professor of Art, emeritus, at Lafayette College, Easton, PA, Holton is a printmaker and painter whose work has been exhibited professionally for over twenty-five years in more than thirty one-person shows and over eighty group shows. His exhibitions have been shown in prestigious national and international venues such as the Egypt’s 7th International Biennale, Cairo; the Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. His work is in many private and public collections including the Yale University Art Gallery, CA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient and Lifetime Achievement Keynote Lecture
Freida High Wasikhongo Tesfagiorgis, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Reflections on My Personal / Professional Journey That Continues Amid Crises in the 21st Century

Freida High Wasikhongo Tesfagiorgis is Evjue-Bascom Emerita Professor of African and African American Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has written extensively on the theory and history of the art of African and African American women artists, curated exhibitions, served as a consultant in Germany and Nigeria, and received distinguished art, teaching, and research awards. As a painter and printmaker, she has exhibited nationwide and her work is in many private and public collections, including the Chazen Museum of Art, South Side Community Art Center, and Institute of Positive Education.

© Grace Roselli

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient & Floyd W. Coleman Sr. Distinguished Lecture
Renée Stout, Washington, DC
Thank You for Talking to Me Africa: Trusting the Voice Within

Renée Stout is a painter and sculptor based in Washington, DC. Her work is in the collections of many museums across the country, including the National Gallery of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art, the 2020 Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Award, and the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Award.

James A. Porter Book Award Recipient & James A. Porter Distinguished Lecture
Kobena Mercer, Yale University
Flowback—How Africa Is Redefining Today’s Diaspora 

Kobena Mercer is professor in history of art and African American studies at Yale University, focusing on modern and contemporary art and visual culture of the African Diaspora. He has written extensively on African American, Caribbean, and Black British artists, including James Van Der Zee, Romare Bearden, Adrian Piper, Isaac Julien, and Rotimi Fani-Kayode.

James A. Porter Book Award

Travel and See: Black Diaspora Art Practices Since 1980, by Kobena Mercer, Professor, History of Art and African American Studies, Department of the History of Art, Yale University

"A marvelous work, Kobena Mercer's Travel & See has the potential to introduce a whole new audience to the work of several artists of the black diaspora, while at the same time shifting our understanding of their artistic practice by radically reframing how we understand the very concept of diaspora and diasporic art…” according to Tina M. Campt, author of Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe

Erica Moiah James portrait photograph

Opening Lecture
Erica Moiah James, University of Miami
Undress to Redress: African Diasporic Art History and Archives of Black Representational Bodies

Erica Moiah James is assistant professor of art history at the University of Miami. She specializes in modern and contemporary art of the Caribbean and the African and African American Diasporas. She was previously founding director and chief curator of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Her forthcoming publication is After Caliban: Caribbean Art in the Global Imaginary.