Photo credit: Hilary Higgins for the Chicago Tribune
D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem is a space sculptor whose visual art, writing, performance, and teaching bridge disciplines of site-specific, ritual, public art, interior design, ecology, and Afro-Futurism. She meticulously constructs fantastical interactive Afri-sci-fi environments and performances that interrogate, titillate, decolonize, and empower, rooted in Sun Ra’s transformational legacy, asking “Who controls the future?” Her practice is concerned with themes of incarceration and liberation; surviving and thriving in the apocalyptic landscape; environmental consciousness; and value, repulsion, and beauty in representations of the Black feminine.
Duyst-Akpem is Assistant Professor, Adjunct, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism and Faculty in the Low-Residency MFA Program, Sculpture Department, and Graduate Division. She founded Denenge Design and In The Luscious Garden, focused on holistic and conceptual approaches to human-centered design. Exhibition and performance venues include: Library of Congress, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Arts Club of Chicago, MCA Chicago, Red Bull Arts NY, DePaul Art Museum, Hyde Park Art Center. Features include ArtNews, Newsweek, Sixty, How We Get To Next, Outline, Chicago Tribune, Theaster Gates: How To Build a House Museum, essays commissioned for Kunsthaus Zurich’s Fly Me To The Moon exhibition and Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum Connecting Afro-Futures: Fashion x Hair x Design in 2019, plus upcoming book projects for publication in 2020. She received a 2018 Marion Kryczka Excellence in Teaching Award, an inaugural Diversity Advisory Group 2016 Teaching Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, and was a 2014 NEH Fellow with the Summer Institute for Black Aesthetics and Sacred Systems. Duyst-Akpem received an MFA from SAIC and a BA from Smith College.
CONTACT: denenge [at] denengedesign [dot] net