MEET THE CURATOR✨
Ugochukwu Smooth C. Nzewi
Nzewi was born in Nigeria and raised in Enugu. He studied sculpture under El Anatsui at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.After graduating, Nzewi traveled internationally for six years as an independent artist and curator, and was involved in the curation of three iterations of the Afrika Heritage Biennial. In 2006, Nzewi moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where he worked on a yearlong postgraduate program in Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of Western Cape while serving as an artist-in-residence at the Greatmore Studio in Woodstock, Cape Town.
In August 2013, Nzewi became the Dartmouth College Hood Museum of Art's first curator of African art, where he mounted shows on Eric Van Hove and Ekpe textiles. After four years, Nzewi left Dartmouth to become the Cleveland Museum of Art's curator of African art.
Nzewi served among the three curators of the 2014 Dak'Art biennial, which focused on themes of globalization (expressed through African ideas of communalism) and anonymity. Dak'Art had served as important link between the African and international art world, and Nzewi helped to situate the show's own role in developing "pan-Africaninternationalism". In mid-2015, Nzewi curated a monthlong survey of African art at the Richard Taittinger Gallery in New York. The show was named after the 1967 comedy-drama film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner . In late 2016, Nzewi served as a guest curator at the Shanghai Biennale.
In 2017, The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) announced the appointment of Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi as Curator of African Art, following an international search. He will be in charge of the museum’s outstanding collection of works of art from sub-Saharan Africa, comprised of a diverse selection of masks and figurative sculpture from West and Central Africa. More recently the collection has been significantly augmented by a group of Congolese sculptures. As a curator and practicing artist, Nzewi brings a unique combination of experience and academic training in three different countries to the CMA. @smoothugochukwuc