Maryse Condé in conversation

with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Director(s)  Victor & Simon
Participant(s)  Maryse Condé
Participant(s)  Hans-Ulrich Obrist
Year  2019

Maryse Condé, Writer

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries

In May 2018, as part of Luma Days #2, a forum of art and ideas, entitled Hospitality, Searching for Common Ground, we invited local and international experts, scientists, artists, thinkers, and activists to converge with the general public to share ideas and experiences around topical issues. 

While hospitality is a fundamental value of any culture, this timeless and universal subject, often synonymous with harmony, seems to be gradually losing its strength, until recently it has taken on the opposite resonance. This second edition of the Luma Days has questioned the notion of hospitality through several topical themes such as climate change, design, territorial resilience, heritage, culture, the foreigner and the identity.

For this occasion, Luma welcomed around a conversation Maryse Condé, writer, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries. Between literature and colonization, important themes for the writer, the two guests exchanged on the notion of hospitality. 


Maryse Condé

Born on the island of Guadeloupe in the French Antilles, Maryse Condé has been awarded numerous awards for her many books and plays. She attracted international attention with her best seller Segu which has been translated into over fifteen languages. After having spent twelve years in Africa, working as a teacher in Sénégal, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, she received her PhD in comparative literature from the Sorbonne and left for the United States to become tenured professor at some of the most prestigious universities such as UC Berkeley, Virginia, Harvard and Columbia where she created the Center for Francophone Studies and was appointed Professor Emeritus. Between 2004 and 2008 she was President of the Committee for the Memory of Slavery resulting from the French law acting slavery as a crime against humanity and was promoted Officer of the Legion d’Honneur in 2015. She was awarded the Grand Prix Littéraire de la Femme for I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem and the Prix Marguerite Yourcenar for Tales from the Heart: True Stories from My Childhood. Her last book to be translated into English is What is Africa to Me? published by Seagull Books in 2017. She was short-listed in 2015 for the Man Booker International Prize in London and now lives in Gordes in the South of France. 

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, and Senior Artistic Advisor of The Shed in New York. Prior to this, he was the curator of the musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show World Soup (The Kitchen Show) in 1991, he has curated more than three hundred shows. In 2011, he received the CCS Bard Award for curatorial Excellence, in 2015, he was awarded the International Folkwang prize, and in 2018 he was presented with the Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Appraisers Association of America. He has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals.

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