Lesley Lokko Appointed Curator of the Biennale Architettura 2023
The Board of La Biennale di Venezia appointed Lesley Lokko as Director of the Architecture department, with the specific task of curating the 18th International Architecture Exhibition to be held in 2023. The Exhibition will be held from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 26 November, 2023.
Lesley Lokko is an architectural academic, educator and best-selling novelist. She is the founder and director of the African Futures Institute, established in Accra, Ghana, in 2020 as a postgraduate school of architecture and public events platform. In 2015 she founded the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. She has taught in the UK, in the US, Europe, Australia and Africa. She is the recipient of a number of awards for contributions to architectural education, among them: the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Education 2020; the AR Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contributions to Architecture 2021. In 2019, she took up an appointment as Dean of Architecture at The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY, from which she subsequently resigned in 2020 to start the African Futures Institute in her home country, Accra, Ghana. She is currently a founding member of the Council on Urban Initiatives, co-founded by LSE Cities, UN Habitat and UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose; a UCL Press Series Guest Editor and a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Lokko was a member of the International Jury of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2021.
The President Cicutto explained:“The curators of the Biennale’s International Exhibitions have always tried, through the vision of the participants they invite, to afford us as comprehensive an overview as possible of the themes and projects which are suitable for dealing with future scenarios. The appointment of Lesley Lokko as curator of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition is a way of welcoming the gaze of an international personality who is able to interpret, through different roles, her own position in the contemporary debate on architecture and cities, which takes as its starting point her own experience immersed in a continent that is increasingly becoming a laboratory of experimentation and proposals for the whole contemporary world. I believe that this immersion in reality is the best way to dialogue with the questions raised by the 2021 Exhibition curated by Hashim Sarkis”.
“A new world order is emerging, with new centres of knowledge production and control”, stated Lesley Lokko. “New audiences are also emerging, hungry for different narratives, different tools and different languages of space, form, and place. After two of the most difficult and divisive years in living memory, architects have a unique opportunity to show the world what we do best: put forward ambitious and creative ideas that help us imagine a more equitable and optimistic future in common. Speaking to you from the world’s youngest continent, I would like to thank President Cicutto and the entire team of La Biennale di Venezia for this bold, brave choice”.