If Objects Could Speak, video, 4 color, 30 min. Written and directed by Saitobao Kaiyare and Elaine Schilling.
Saitabao Kaiyare
Njoki Ngumi
La Tanya S. Autry
Oct 12, 2023 - 5:30–7:30pm
Lower Level, Auditorium (KAM 62) and Virtual Event via Zoom

The keynote for the KAM-CAS Global African Community Forum offers a screening of the short film, If Objects Could Speak, co-directed by Kenyan filmmaker Saitabao Kaiyare, followed by a zoom conversation with Kaiyare and scholar/activists Njoki Ngumi (in Nairobi) and La Tanya S. Autry (in New York).

The program has been made possible with generous support of the following cosponsors:
Center for African Studies through the US Department of Education’s Title VI NRC Program, Krannert Art Museum, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, School of Art & Design, Program in Art History, Department of History, Department of Anthropology, Women and Gender in Global Perspectives, Office of Minority Student Affairs, the iSchool, Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, Department of Linguistics, and Humanities Research Institute Supplemental Event Fund. In-kind sponsorship generously provided by Dixon Graphics. Supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

GACF Planning Committee: Teresa Barnes, Fatou Jobe, Byron Juma, Toyosi Morgan, Julia Nucci Kelly, Joseph Obanubi, Allyson Purpura, Rachel Storm, and Hermann von Hesse.

Using the film as a point of departure, the speakers will engage the audience in a critical conversation about colonial-era removals and thefts of African objects, restitution, and what it’s like being on the receiving end of long lost objects returning to Africa. 

Connecting these three provocative thinkers in conversation across the Atlantic presents an excellent opportunity to reckon with these issues with African voices at the lead. 



Registration is not required to attend this talk in person at KAM. To participate via Zoom, Register Online. This hybrid event includes automated captioning and can be accessed in over languages 27 languages through Zoom. 



About Saitabao Kaiyare

Saitabao Kaiyare is a filmmaker from Kenya with a decade of experience in the film industry working both in Africa and Europe. His short films, documentaries, and TV shows have been critically acclaimed across numerous film festivals internationally. He directed and produced the short documentary If Objects Could Speak, which won Best Documentary at the Africa Magic Viewer's Choice Awards 2022, The Ousmane Sembene Prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival 2021 and Best Short Documentary at the Los Angeles Cinematography Awards 2020. Kaiyare is the co-founder at Baruu Collective, a creative agency and production house that re-imagines the African narrative using multi-media platforms that go beyond documentation to create a conducive environment for the sustainable audience and community participation in the conservation of cultural heritage. 


About Njoki Ngumi

Dr. Njoki Ngumi is a non-clinical general practitioner, whose wider health knowledge and related expertise has been critical in the creative sector and connected arenas to enhance socioeconomic equity, equality and advancement for all, especially youth, women, and marginalised people. Njoki's cross sectoral work, networks and organizing was core to the founding and set-up of three institutions: The Nest Collective, a multidisciplinary arts collective, in 2012; HEVA, Africa's first cultural and creative economy catalyst facility, in 2013; and Strictly Silk, a festival, club and multimedia entity focused on people marginalised by gender, in 2018. As a freelance consultant, she remains central to creative and cultural sector public engagements, including education, policy work, stakeholder support and engagement, network building, and general government dialogue. Njoki was also a key player in the invisible Inventories Programme at the National Museums of Kenya.


About La Tanya S. Autry

Cultural worker, educator, and co-producer of #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, La Tanya S. Autry is an avid reader, tea drinker, and lover of the arts. She has created exhibitions and programming in institutional and non-institutional spaces as well as collaborative freedom projects including the Social Justice & Museums Resource List, Art of Black Dissent, the Black Liberation Center, and the Arts & Social Justice Workout. Lately, she has been exploring writing as curatorial formation – “Beholding and Curating with Care,” Hyperallergic, 2022; “A Trouble-Making Conjuring/Love Spell for ‘We’ Who Care,” Creative Time Think Tank: Invitations Toward Re-Worlding, 2022; and “Critical Black Memory as Curatorial Praxis and Collective Care,” in Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches, 2023. Autry is completing her PhD in art history at University of Delaware. Her dissertation, The Crossroads of Commemoration: Lynching Landscapes in America, examines the interplay of race, representation, memory, and public space.