Nana Oforiatta-Ayim is a writer and filmmaker based in Accra, Ghana, where she runs the cultural research platform, ANO (http://anoghana.org/).
Interested in international diplomacy, she studied political science with Russian language and literature, and worked in the Department of Political Affairs of United Nations in New York, before switching gears and completing a Masters in African Art History, and embarking on a PhD in African Languages and Cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
She began writing on art and cultural history whilst working with the African arts publisher Revue Noire in Paris; and has since written essays for magazines such as frieze; Manifesta; Kaleidoscope; Petunia; Arise; Dust; and The Statesman; as well as in books such as David Adjaye’s African Metropolitan Architecture; Visionary Africa, Art at Work; Geo-Graphics: A Map of Art Practices in Africa, Past and Present; The Ideal Library and Condition Report.
She made her first film after doing the authorised translation of Chris Marker and Alain Resnais’ film on African Art, Les Statues Meurent Aussi. Inspired by the forms of the film essay and visual ethnography, she went on to make the films Crossover, A Shred of Identity, The Tightrope Walker, Nowhere Else But Here, Tied and True, and Jubilee. They are regularly shown at institutions and biennials, such as the Tate Modern, London; Lofoten International Art Festival, Lofoten; UKS, Oslo; Stavanger Kunsthall, Stavanger; West Norway Museum of Decorative Art, Bergen; New Museum, New York; NGBK, Berlin; and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco.
She set up the cultural research platform ANO to explore the construction of some of the narrative contexts around Africa through exhibitions, such as One, an exhibition of contemporary Ghanaian art at the Liverpool Biennial with artists like El Anatsui, Owusu Ankomah and Marigold Akufo-Addo; The Healers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with artists such as Tracey Rose, Zwelethu Methethwa, Loulou Cherinet, Abdoulaye Konate and Cyprien Tokoudagba; an exhibition of work by Ibrahim at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; exhibitions of photography: James Barnor at the Black Cultural Archives; Living History with Nii Obodai, Thomas Fynn and Samuel Arthur at the British Council, Accra; Nigerians Behind the Lens with Adolphus Opara, Jide Alakija and others at Bonhams; as well as events such as The Word and Afrofuturism at the Royal Festival Hall with Keziah Jones, Jessica Edwards, Kodwo Eshun, Zina Saro-Wiwa and Shaheera Asante; and the co-ordination of Africa 05 with Augustus Casely Hayford at the British Museum, a season of African art at institutions throughout London, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, South London Gallery, and many others.
Her recognitions and awards include the Panavision Young Filmmaker’s Award, African Documentary and Non-fiction Prize for Crossover, Festival Cinema Africano, Milan (In Competition), Music and Performance Prize for Crossover at the RAI Ethnographic Film Festival (In Competition); the Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award; as well as Writer’s Residencies in Benin, Norway, Senegal, France and Ethiopia.