D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem

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D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem

Afro-Futurist space sculptor, performance artist, designer, writer, and educator

D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem is an Afro-Futurist space sculptor, performance artist, designer, writer, and educator.  Her work bridges the disciplines of site-specific sculpture, ritual, public art practice, interior design, ecology, and science fiction.   

Duyst-Akpem is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Faculty Advisor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, the Low-Residency MFA Program, Sculpture, Undergraduate Division, and Career and Professional Experience, teaching courses including "Afro-Futurism: Pathways to Black Liberation", "Ritual Art Performance in the African Diaspora", "Power to the People: Revolution and the Black Arts Movement", "Superhero Self", "K-Lab: Art+Ecology", and "Take Root Among the Stars: The Legacy of Octavia Butler, Surviving the 21st Century & Beyond." Her 2013 course on Afro-Futurism was centered on The Mars Project where students prepared creative applications to be the first to travel to the red planet. 

She is the founder of Denenge Design and In The Luscious Garden, a new initiative focused on holistic and conceptual approaches to human-centered design as transformative practice.  She has exhibited multi-media sculptural and performance work nationally and internationally, along with a wide range of interviews and articles for television, radio, print, and digital platforms, and is the recipient of many awards including an SAIC Diversity Advisory Group inaugural 2016 Teaching Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for the Summer Institute on Black Aesthetics and Sacred Systems.  Recent projects include Corpus Meum, a sound installation at the Arts Club of Chicago; 'spore', a sound-performance based on a score for Cathy Hsiao's Movement I, Bloom at Goldfinch, Chicago; panelist for In Their Own Form: Contemporary Photography and Afro-Futurism at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and panelist and performance for Decolonizing Mars Symposium at the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. on September 27, 2018.  Duyst-Akpem received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BA from Smith College. 

Duyst-Akpem recently was invited by curator Candice Strongwater to present a slide show performance as part of the series No Guts, No Galaxy for the exhibition Rammellzee: Racing for Thunder at Red Bull Arts NY, and will be a contributing author for the 2019 catalog for the Kunsthaus Zurich exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing.

D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem, 2017. Photo credit: RJ Eldridge.