MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora

Panel with Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Berette Macaulay, Michelle Dunn Marsh

Saturday, November 16, 2019
2:00 – 4:15 pm

Program: 2 - 3:30 pm

Frye Auditorium

As a part of the Seattle presentation of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora taking place across three institutions – Frye Art Museum, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and Photographic Center Northwest - co-authors Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and Adama Delphine Fawundu will be joined by artist/curator Berette Macaulay, and photography specialist Michelle Dunn Marsh in a discussion about the global trajectories of the MFON project, and the works and practice of contemporary African diasporic women photographers.

This discussion will be moderated by Negarra A. Kudumu, Manager of Public Programs at the Frye Art Museum. A book signing will follow immediately after.

About the Project

Founded by artist Adama Delphine Fawundu and photographer Laylah Barrayn, MFON was launched to honor the memory and work of the late photographer Mmekutmfon 'Mfon' Essien. Since its launch, MFON has received support from culture-makers, consumers, scholars, stakeholders, and media platforms alike - because it highlights a group of photographers rarely seen let alone celebrated or critically engaged.

Artist/Curator Berette S. Macaulay has created a collaborative effort between the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Frye Art Museum, and the Photographic Center of the Northwest to bring MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora to Seattle. Through a series of exhibitions and events centered on the seminal photography book featuring 118 photographers from 27 nations, Seattle audiences will be exposed to the works of female-identifying photographers from the African diaspora.

The institutional partnership with Frye Art Museum, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and Photographic Center of the Northwest, brings MFON to the Pacific Northwest, where Seattle audiences and artists will be placed in direct visual conversation with work from wider black geographies.

About the Presenters

Adama Delphine Fawundu was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents from Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, West Africa. In 2018, she completed her MFA in Visual Arts at Columbia University. Ms. Fawundu was awarded a 2018 Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant and is currently an artist-in-residence at the Center for Book Arts. Ms. Fawundu is a co-founder and author of the book and journal MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. She was included in OkayAfrica’s “100 Women making an impact on Africa and its diaspora” in 2018. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the International Center of Photography, the Lagos Photo Festival, and the Brighton Photo Biennial 2016 (UK), among others. 2019 solo exhibitions of her works include The Sacred Of Isis at the African American Museum of Philadelphia and Crush Curatorial in Chelsea, NYC.

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is an award-winning documentary and portrait photographer working in the medium for 20 years. She is the co-author of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, the first anthology in nearly 30 years that highlights photography produced by women of African descent. Ms. Barrayn is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her work has been supported with grants and fellowships from Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, En Foco and The Brooklyn Arts Council. Barrayn was a 2018 finalist for the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University. She has sat on juries for contests from Getty Images, FotoEvidence, The Fence and Three Rivers Arts Festival.

berette s macaulay is an award-winning artist, curator, and writer of multicultural lineage. A recent PNW transplant from New York, she was born in Sierra Leone of West African/French- Dominican/German-Czech descent and raised in Jamaica. Her research engages nuanced mappings of global be/longing for transcultural identities. Work spaces include Baxter St, ICP, Taller Boricua Gallery, NYC; PCNW/Strange Fire Collective, Seattle Storefronts/Shunpike Arts at Amazon, HQ, Washington; Photoville LA/Annenberg Space with MFON Women; NPG London; Of Note magazine; UNESCO Courier; and the National Gallery of Jamaica. She recently received a joint research grant from the Simpson Center for the Humanities alongside founding members for the Black Cinema Collective at University of Washington-Bothell. She was awarded an Artist Residency Grant for Vermont Studio Center and named an Ottenberg-Winans Fellow for African Studies by Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at UW-Seattle. She is pursuing her MA in Cultural Studies UW-Bothell.

Michelle Dunn Marsh is originally from Puyallup, WA, and now calls both Seattle and New York City home. Primarily a book designer and editor, she has experienced every aspect of the publishing process through positions with Aperture Foundation and Chronicle Books, and on a project basis with University of Washington Press, Museum of Glass, Heyday Books, Abbeville Press, and others. She has also curated a number of significant exhibitions, including Here I Am at the Bronx Museum, and All Power: Visual Legacies of the Black Panther Party, which was on view in multiple locations. She joined Photographic Center Northwest—an educational institution facilitating the creation and experience of significant photography—as executive director in August 2013, and now serves as its Chief Strategist.


Tickets to this program are free of charge, and our seating capacity is limited. Free tickets, limit 2 per person, may be reserved in advance, up to two days before the program. The reserved tickets may be picked up on the day of the program at the desk in the foyer outside the auditorium. There is no late seating, so please arrive at least 15 minutes early. All unclaimed tickets (regardless of reservations) will be released to standby 10 minutes before the program!

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On the day of the program, pre-registered and standby tickets may be picked up beginning one hour before the program at the desk in the foyer outside the auditorium. All unclaimed tickets (regardless of reservations) will be released to standby 10 minutes before the program.