School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. MFA in Performance 2004

Smith College, Northampton, MA. BA in Studio Art 1997

Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, MI. 1994-95


Upcoming 2021

Memoirs of a…Unicorn, sculpture and set design for 2018 Bessie Award-winning production by Marjani Forté-

Saunders for Chicago premiere, MCA Chicago (anticipated Spring 2021)


Dock 6 Design+Art 12, group exhibition at Dock 6 Collective curated by Dan Sullivan and Edra Soto including

works by Torkwase Dyson, Cathy Hsiao, LVL3, Chicago

New Age, New Age: Strategies for Survival, group exhibition curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm featuring

Wan Chuku’s Mystical Yam Mounds, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago

Gold Nuggets For Us All! Site-specific sculpture to be installted at invitation of founder Peggy Cooper Cafritz,

Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC


*Decolonizing Mars: High Priestess of the Intergalactic Federation, Special Envoy to Mars, Library of Congress, DC

*The Ramm Riff: Constructing Future Forms with Black Light Primal Nun ‘A’, “No Guts, No Galaxy” Slide Show

Series, Rammellzee: Racing for Thunder exhibition, Red Bull Arts, NY

spore., sound performance based on sculptural score for invitational series activating Movement I, Bloom

exhibition by Cathy Hsiao, Goldfinch Gallery, Chicago

*Corpus Meum, site-specific sound installation for “Platforms Series: Architecture and Sound Panel”, The Arts Club of Chicago

The Golden Chain, voice of Yetunde for animated film by Adebukola Bodunrin and Ezra Claytan Daniels:

Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016, Whitney Museum permanent collection, NY, 2016

Ma(s)king Her, costume design for Honey Pot Performance, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, 2016

Luscious Garden for Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty curated by Camille Morgan, Hyde Park Art Center, 2015

Wan Chuku and the Mystical Yam Farm, WÁKÀTÍ:Time Shapes African Art, OSUMA, Stillwater, OK, 2015

Lake Shore Drive Residence.  Condominium Renovation and Interior Design.  Chicago, IL, 2014

Soundscape (for Drexciya), My Mythos, curated by Ingrid LaFleur, 11.11.11, Fe Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 2011

Gold Nuggets For Us All!, Art Loop Open, Hard Rock Hotel annex, Chicago, 2010

Burning Bridges (Gift #1) & The Dream (Gift #2). Xtreme Studio, A+D Gallery, Chicago, 2010

Weight of Words: Wearing, Washing, Self-Revolution exhibition, Unit B Gallery, San Antonio, TX, 2009

*Alter-Destiny 888, The LAB for performance+installation, Roger Smith Hotel, NY, 2008

Harlem School of New Social Realism, Participant, PERFORMA 07, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, 2007

*Rapunzel Revisited: An Afri-Sci-Fi Space Sea Siren Tale, 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work, MCA Chicago, 2006

Super Space Riff: An Ode to Mae Jemison & Octavia Butler, curated by Alison Peters Quinn, HPAC, Chicago, 2006

La Morena, Gallery 2, MFA Exhibition, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2004

*Mutatis Mutandis, Dillard University Art Gallery, New Orleans, LA, 2003

Don’t Let Your Life Pass You By.  Site-specific residential commission.  Chicago and Glencoe, IL, 2001



Panelist, 2019 Coney Family Fund, Award Selection Committee, Chicago Aritsts Coalition (CAC), Chicago


Moderator, AFRICOBRA: Art for the People: A Conversation with Gerald Williams and Deva Newman, DuSable

Museum of African American History, with Southside Projections as part of Art Design Chicago

Roundtable: Contemporary Creative Practices and Design History, Chicago Design Conference, with co-panelists Tom Burtonwood, Barbara Karant, and Vernon Lockhart, facilitated by Maggie Taft, Chicago Design Conference curated by Bess Williamson and Jonathan Makinda, University of Illinois, Chicago

Moderator and Organizer, Take Root Among the Stars: Visionary Fiction and the Legacy of Octavia Butler,

with panelists A. Martine Whitehead, Chelsea Frazier, Hương Ngo, and Sami Schalk for UGDIV Prof Prac course “Take Root Among the Stars: The Legacy of Octavia Butler, Surviving the 21st Century & Beyond”

sponsored by 2018-19 Conversations on Art and Science, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Keynote Performance-Lecture, “Afro-Futurism and Time Travel” Symposium, Grey Center, University of Chicago

Panelist and Performance, “Alternative Futurisms” Becoming Interplanetary Symposium with NASA/Blumberg

Chair of Astrobiology Lucianne Walkowicz, Kluge Center at Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Nyugen Smith & D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem in Conversation, post-performance, Schomburg Center for Research in

Black Culture, Harlem, NY

Panelist, “Post Now and Post New: Afro-Futurist Themes in Contemporary Art Practice” for In Their Own Form

exhibition curated by Sheridan Tucker Johnson, with panelists Jennifer Scott and Ingrid LaFleur, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

Platforms Series: Architecture and Sound Panel, The Arts Club of Chicago

Shape-shifting Across Disciplines: Sculpting Space and Afro-Futurism as Methodology, No Discipline Panel with Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright, Designed Objects Chair Tim Parsons, and Sculpture Chair Dan Price, College Art Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA


Panelist, “Office Hours: Advice for Emerging Artists”, LAUNCH Invitational Residency Panel with Edra Soto,

Emanuel Aguilar (Patron Gallery), Dan Devening, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago

Panelist, “Decolonizing Art Education/Unsettling the Canon”, curated by Lisa Vinebaum, Flaxman Library

Bibliodérive with curators Eunsong Kim and Gelare Khoshogozaran of


Workshop Facilitator, “Alter-Destiny 888: Breaking the Legacy, Conjuring Futures”, With/Out ?Borders? II

Conference, curated by Dr. Lisa Brock, ARCUS Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College, MI

Mentor, “Mentor Meetings”, FIELD/WORK Residency, Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), Chicago, IL

Panelist, “Women of Africobra” for “Black Arts Movement” Panel with Rebecca Zorach and Marissa Baker,

Midwest Art History Society Annual Conference, Chicago, IL

Speaker, “Afro-Futurism”, Black American History Month, Wilbur Wright College, Chicago, IL

Program Development and Panelist, Tools for Teaching, Career Development Office (now CAPX), SAIC


Panelist, “Fashioning Technology: The Tactile Life of Makers”, Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty, Hyde Park Art Center

Moderated by curator Camille Morgan with Dieter Kirkwood, Taylor Hokanson, and Fo Wilson

Panelist, Sun Ra Astro-Black Mythology and Black Resistance Symposium, University of Chicago

Panelist, Afrofuturism, Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. programming for Goodman Theatre, Blue 1647

Panelist, “What Color is Nude: The Racial Future of Fashion”, Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair,

Milwaukee Art Museum, WI


Panelist and Workshop Facilitator, Alter-Destiny 888, audience interactive, Black Radical Imagination and SAMI

(Students Against Mass Incarceration), Freedom Dreams…Freedom Now!, Social Justice Initiative, UIC

Speaker, “The MARS Project: Teaching Afro-Futurism as Methodology of Liberation”, Afro-Futurism & Pedagogy

Panel. Black to the Future: Black Culture Through Time and Space, Purdue University, IN

Panelist, “Voyaging the Fantastic: Afrosurrealism and Afrofuturism in Wangechi Mutu.” Wangechi Mutu:

A Fantastic Journey exhibition.  Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Virtual Introduction, Space Is The Place.  Afro-Futurism film series.  Watershed Art Center, Bristol, UK

Featured Speaker, “The MARS Project: Afro-Futurism as Methodology of Liberation”,  WebVisions Chicago

Day-long Session Presenter, “Afro-Futurism” and “The MARS Project: Teaching Afro-Futurism as Methodology

of Liberation.” NEH Institute on Black Aesthetics and Sacred Systems.  Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Speaker, “The MARS Project: Teaching Afro-Futurism as Methodology of Liberation.” WebVisions Portland (May).

SAIC Here + Now Dean’s Lecture Series: A Conversation with D. Denenge Akpem and Delinda Collier


Intersectionality Critique Exchange on Afro-Futurism, with Delinda Collier, curated by Rashayla Marie Brown.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, IL


Performance-Lecture, “Constructing Future Forms: Afro-Futurism and Fashion.” Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago, IL

Panelist, “What Color Is Nude: The Racial Future of Fashion.” Panel for Black Gossamer exhibition, moderated by

Camille Morgan. Conaway Center, Columbia College Chicago, IL and CAN-TV broadcast (March-April)


Visiting Artist Presentation, Vaquera Serenade (Rise of La Cueruda Negra) with Diana Hinojosa, A+D Gallery

Artist Presentation and Community Discussion.  Talking Point.  Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL

Panelist, “Artists Who Take Initiative.”  Power Tools 2 Conference, Career Development Office, SAIC, Chicago, IL

Conference Performance, La Morena, Yo Soy Chicago/I Am Chicago, curated by Coya Paz, University of Chicago


Visiting Artist Lecture, Mutatis Mutandis Exhibition Lecture.  Dillard University, New Orleans, LA


Exhibition Panelist, Interrogating Diversity panel with Dawoud Bey and Chido Johnson.  SAIC, IL



Rockett, Darcel. “Octavia Butler exhibit pushes students to showcase their visionary muscles.” Chicago Tribune.

December 12, 2018. Web.

Samuels Gibbs, Adrienne. “Stars Align for D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem.” SAIC Alumni News. Nov. 27, 2018. Web.

Nwangwa, Shirley. “One State to Another: Performance in Harlem Delves into Masquerade Tradition at Carnival”

review of Schomburg performance and conversation with Nyugen Smith. ArtNews. June 28, 2018. Web.

Bartels, Meghan. “Should We Colonize Space? Some People Argue We Need to Decolonize It Instead”, feature

Newsweek Tech and Science. May 25, 2018. Web.

Dozier, Rob. “Four Thoughts on the Future of Afrofuturism.” The Outline. June 2018. Web.

Ridell, Sam. Featured interviewee for Afro-Futurism video series. Inverse NY. March. Web.

Greig, Sabrina. “Chicago Artists+Archives Project: An Interview with D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem.” Sixty. Feb. Web.


Anderson, Reynaldo.  Listed in “Afrofuturism 2.0 and the Black Speculative Art Movement: Notes on a

Manifesto” Afrofutures UK Afro-Futurism series for How We Get To Next.  (January)

“Sculpting Space as Methodology of Liberation: An Interview with D. Denenge Akpem” for Florence Okoye

Afrofutures UK Afro-Futurism series for “How We Get To Next.” January 30. Web.


“Afro-Futurism.” Interview with Audra Wilson. Vocalo, WBEZ.  September. Radio.

Featured interviewee.  Ytasha Womack Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. Print.


“Black to the Future.” Interview with Tempestt Hazel Sixty Inches From Center.  June.  Web.


Akpem, D. Denenge.  Featured faculty profile.  Harambee magazine, Columbia College.  Fall 2011. Print.


“Interview with D. Denenge Akpem.” Interview with Ytasha Womack.  Post-Black: The Blog.  Web.


Judson, Ben.  “Self-Revolution” exhibition review of Weight of Words.  October.  Web.

Macarena-Avila, Jesus.  “La Llorona: The Weeping Woman.  Intersections, Columbia College.  Fall 2009. Print.

Wang, Jean.  “Interview with ArtPrize Artists” MLive Blog, The Grand Rapids Press.  Sept. 29, 2009.  Web.


Keeler, Stuart.  “Service Media: Community as Collaborator.”  Public Art Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, Issue 38, 2008.

Interview with Ayanna Jolivet McCloud and cover image from Vaquera Serenade, POLVO Summer 2008.  Print.


Chavis, Blair. Feature and interview about Vaquera Serenade. Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ. Fall 2007. Radio. Web.  

Robertson, Cory.  Vaquera Serenade (Rise of La Cueruda Negra).  Newcity review.  Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2007.  Print.


“Takeover.” Interview with HPAC Curator Allison Peters. CAN TV21.  April-June, 2006. Television.

A:LIST, listing in online forum, project of the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL.  Web.

“Glowing Tentacles, Anyone? Rapunzel Revisited” The List.  Chicago Reader.  June 2, 2006.  Print.

Visual Art Selection of the Week: D. Denenge Akpem Rapunzel Revisited.  FLAVORPILL.  June 13, 2006.  Web.

Hawkins, Margaret. “Breaking Boundaries: Hyde Park Art Center’s…”  Chicago Sun Times.  May 6, 2006.  Print.

Stabler, Bert.  Top Ten 2006 Exhibitions: Rapunzel Revisited: An Afri-sci-fi Space Sea Siren Tale at Museum of

Contemporary Art.  Chicago Reader’s Best Of 2006 issue.  Fall 2006.  Print.

Wilk, Deborah.  “New Art Examiners…Curators Anoint a Few Rising Stars.” Chicago Magazine.  May 2006.  Print.


La Morena.  Photo and text featured in the Performance Art issue.  POLVO newsmagazine.  Fall 2004. Print.


Heidel, Michele. “The Color of Art: Interrogating Diversity at Betty Rymer Gallery.”  F News.  March 2002.  Print.


Byle, Ann. “Exhibit Reveals a Tale of Two Cultures.”  The Grand Rapids Press.  July 27, 2000.  Print.

Steil, Michelle. “Family Ties.” The Paper.  July 27-August 2, 2000.  Print.



Afrofuturity 2020. Artist’s book/text of essays and art, anticipated publication 2020. Print.

Mercy, Mercy Me: The Afro-Futurist Ecology. Volume for Art after Nature series edited by Caroline Picard and

Giovanni Aloi, University of Minnesota Press (anticipated publication 2020-21). Print.

Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor. Afro-Futurist multi-media interactive artist’s book in collaboration with Pixel

Fable, Senongo Akpem, anticipated publication 2020-21. Print. Web.

Essay for monograph on the work of Africobra co-founder Jae Jarrell, Kavi Gupta Gallery, anticipated 2020. Print.


“N’Vest-ing in the People: The Art of Jae Jarrell” catalogue essay via Kavi Gupta Gallery for AFRICOBRA: Nation

Time, 58th Venice Biennale, May 11-November 24, 2019, Venice, Italy.

“Sister Moon: A Lunar Poetic in X Stanzas”, exhibition essay for 50th anniversary of moon landing, curated by

Cathérine Hug, Kunsthaus Zurich, 2019.

*Crawford, Romi. Fleeting Monuments for the Wall of Respect. Chicago: Green Lantern Press, 2018. Work

featured: Mnemonic Studies: Mountains, Yam Mounds and Spaceships. Full color. Print.


“Decolonizing Mars in the Afrofuturist Ecology.” Essay for Sixty Inches From Center, October 25, 2018. Web.

*Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum. Exhbition publication. Art Gallery of Ontario, 2018. Work

featured: inviational writing and work on paper from 2017 exhibition. Full color. Print.

*Cooper Cafritz, Peggy. Fired Up! Ready to Go!: Finding Beauty, Demanding Equity: An African American Life in

Art. The Collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz. New York: Rizzoli Electa, 2018. Full color. Print.


“Pedagogy. Place. Liberation.”  Place Lab Salon Sessions. Essay on Ethical Redevelopment Principle #3:

Pedagogical Moments.  January 26, 2017. Web.  June 22, 2017. Print.


“Sculpting Space as Methodology of Liberation: An Interview with D. Denenge Akpem” writing core interview text

for Florence Okoye, Afrofutures UK Afro-Futurism series for How We Get To Next. January 30. Web.

*Okoye, Florence.  Featured soundworks in “Space Is the Place: A Crash Course in the Sounds of Afrofuturism”

Afrofutures UK Afro-Futurism series for How We Get To Next.  (January)


“Constructing Future Forms: Afro-Futurism and Fashion, Part One and Part Two.”  Chicago Art

Featured articles, February 1 and February 8, 2012. Web.


“Are You Ready To Alter Your Destiny? Chicago and Afro-Futurism, Part One and Part Two.”  Chicago Art  Feature articles, July 2 and 7, 2011. Web.

*Tate, Greg, and LaTasha Diggs, eds.  COO(n+) BIDNESS/SO4, Super Space Riff backdrop, premier issue. Print.


Studio Chicago. Featured Artist Blogger for Xtreme Chicago city-wide series.  July, 2010. Web.


*POLVO newsmagazine, cover image from Vaquera Serenade (Rise of La Cueruda Negra). Summer 2008.  Print.


“Sweetest Day: Fiscal Flop or Secret Success?”  The Business of Holidays, Lavin, Maud, editor.  New York: Monacelli Press, 2004. Print.

*Adler, Tony.  “Random Sky: Art Attack: Hyde Park Art Center.”  Full page photo of Super Space Riff: An Ode to

Mae Jemison and Octavia Butler in VIII Stanzas.  i4design Magazine.  Fall 2006.  Print.



Assistance to AFRICOBRA co-founder Jae Jarrell on AFRICOBRA work for Toronto Biennale


Assistance to AFRICOBRA co-founder Jae Jarrell on Smart Museum garment art acquisition for The Time Is Now!

Gold Nuggets For Us All! Site-specific sculpture to be installted at invitation of founder Peggy Cooper Cafritz

at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC  (upcoming)

2014 (date completed)

Lake Shore Drive Residence.  Condominium Renovation and Interior Design.  Chicago, IL


Winter Wonderland Wedding Design: Ceremony & Reception Spaces.  Mid-America Club, Chicago, IL


i.c.stars, Inc. Interior Design.  Commercial Headquarters, River North, Chicago, IL

South Shore Brownstone.  Interior Design Consultation and Design Recipe.  Residential. Chicago, IL

Edgewater Residence.  Interior and Closet Design Consultation.  Residential. Chicago, IL


Bronzeville Beauty Residences.  Interior Design.  Residential. Bronzeville, Chicago, IL


Argyle Residence.  Interior Design.  Uptown-Andersonville, Chicago, IL


The Motherboard.  Commission.  Interactive Sculpture for Stakeholders Conference, i.c.stars, Chicago, IL

Corporate Law Office Re-design.  Interior Design.  Attorney’s Office, O’Melveny & Myers, Washington, DC


Don’t Let Your Life Pass You By.  Residential Commission.  Site-specific Sculpture. Chicago and Glencoe, IL



Marion Kryczka Excellence in Teaching Award, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Faculty Enrichment Grant, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (April)


Faculty Enrichment Grant, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (April)


Diversity Advisory Group Inaugural Teaching Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, SAIC (May)

Faculty Enrichment Grant, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (April)

Part-Time Faculty Development Grant, CiTE, Columbia College Chicago (February)


Part-Time Faculty Development Grants, CiTE, Columbia College Chicago (April and October)


Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on Black Aesthetics and Sacred Systems, Directed by

Paul Carter Harrison, Dr. Candy Tate, Dr. Pellom McDaniels, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.  July 2014.

3Arts Award 2012 Nominee, 3Arts Foundation, Chicago, IL

Critical Encounters 2011-12 Mini-Grant for “From Colony to Nation Time: Spooks, Censors and Sam Greenlee’s

The Spook Who Sat By The Door” with African American Cultural Affairs, HHSS, Columbia College Chicago


Illinois Arts Council (IAC) Professional Development Grant

Neighborhood Arts Program Grant (NAP), Young Women’s LeadershipCharter School, DCASE, Chicago.

Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP), Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) Grant for Service Learning “Black Arts Movement” course


Part-time Faculty Development Grant, CiTE, Columbia College Chicago, for Alter-Destiny 888


Illinois Arts Council (IAC) Finalist Award

Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP), Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs


Anna Louise Raymond Juried MFA Fellowship Award, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

2003 & 2002

Connecting Communities Leadership Award, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Marion Parry Travel Grant (Committee Award), School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Gardner Prize in American Studies, Smith College American Studies Department, Northampton, MA


Assistant Professor, Adjunct, Deptartment of Art History, Theory and Criticism, SAIC, 2014-Present

Courses newly developed and taught include: Afro-Futurism: Pathways to Black Liberation; Power to the People: Revolution and the Black Arts Movement; Survey of African Art; Ritual Art Performance in the African Diaspora; Take Root Among The Stars: The Legacy of Octavia Butler, Surviving the 21st Century & Beyond; Superhero Self

Faculty, Low-Residency MFA Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2016-Present

Courses include: Perception final art history course created and offered (2016-2019) for first graduating cohort Summer 2016 at invitation of Director Gregg Bordowitz; Sculpting Space: Design, Architecture, and Sacred Systems in Africa and the Diaspora (offered Spring 2017, 2018); Graduate Studio Seminar (2017-present)

Columbia College Chicago, Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences, Chicago, IL, 2006-2016

Visiting Guest Lecturer, 2010-Present for courses including: Experimental 3D: NextNature (Marlena Novak, AIADO, SAIC); Black Women’s Experiences (Misty DeBerry, DePaul); Advanced Dance (Darrell Jones, Columbia College)


Born and raised primarily in Nigeria: Mkar, Benue State and Jos, Plateau State

Resided in: Michigan, California, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL

Travel and study in: Cuba, France, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Turkey, United States

Anticipated travel to: Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Antarctica, International Space Station (or other interstellar)