lettera27 is a non-profit foundation created in July 2006. Its mission is to support the right to literacy and education, and to promote access to knowledge and information, with a specific focus on Africa and its diaspora.
lettera27 is the 27th letter of the alphabet, the missing letter, the letter yet to be, the hybrid sign, the empty box, the link between oral and written words, the connection to the future, the intersection of analogic and digital.
The foundation raises funds to support and promote a wide range of educational and research initiatives that rely on locally-based resources and organizations. The use of co-funding is intended to increase and strengthen these resources, recognizing their value and opening mutually beneficial and fruitful dialogues with a variety of cultural and social actors. Integral to its mission and methodology is the search for and identification of projects that are in line with its objectives. The foundation acts primarily as an aggregator and facilitator of cultural processes, engaging – both independently and in partnership with others – in research, documentation, organization and communication activities. lettera27 thus aims to provide the tools necessary for the creation of a conscious and active attitude in citizens, particularly with regards to the stereotypes and clichés about Africa, its diaspora, as well as on the topic of migration.
The three principal areas of involvement are:
• Art and culture for social transformation
• Innovative education
• Sustainable culture
Simon Njami is leading the AtWork Addis Workshop.
Simon Njami (born in 1962 in Lausanne) is a writer and an independent curator, lecturer, art critic and essayist.
He published his first novel "Cercueil et Cie" in 1985, followed by "Les Enfants de la Cité" in 1987, "Les Clandestins" and "African Gigolo" in 1989, notably. He wrote two biographies, about James Baldwin and Léopold Sédar Senghor, several short texts, scripts for cinema and documentary films.
Njami is the co-founder of Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art, and he was Visiting Professor at UCSD (University of San Diego California).
After conceiving the Ethnicolor Festival in Paris in 1987, he curated many international exhibitions being among the first ones to think and show African contemporary artists work on international stages. He has served as Artistic Director of Bamako Encounters, the African Photography Biennale, from 2001 to 2007. Njami is the curator of "Africa Remix", showed in Düsseldorf (Museum Kunst Palast), London (Hayward Gallery), Paris (Centre Pompidou), Tokyo (Mori Museum), Stockholm (Moderna Museet) and Johannesburg (Johannesburg Art Gallery), from 2004 to 2007. He co-curated the first African Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. He curated the first African Art Fair, held in Johannesburg in 2008, and was the Artistic Director of Luanda Triennale (2010), Picha (Lumumbashi Biennale – 2010), SUD (Douala Triennale – 2010), among others exhibitions and international art events.
The exhibition "The Divine Comedy – Heaven, Hell, Purgatory by Contemporary African Artists" was shown at MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main) from 21 March to 27 July 2014, The SCAD Museum of Art from October 16 to January 25 and at Smithsonian Institution/ African Art Museum, Washington, from April 8th to November 1st, 2015.
Simon Njami is the Artistic Director of the Edition 12 of Dak'art, the Dakar Biennale, in Senegal from May, 3 to June, 2, 2016.
Invited to be part of numerous art and photography juries, such as the World Press Photo Contest, Njami is the Art Adviser of the Sindika Dokolo Foundation (Luanda) and the Artistic Director of the Donwahi Foundation (Abidjan) and member of the scientific boards of numerous museums.He is currently directing "AtWork", an itinerant and digital project with lettera27 Foundation, in partnership with Moleskine, as well as the Pan African Master Classes in Photography, project that he conceived with the Goethe Institut, and setting up the collection of contemporary art for the future Memorial Acte Museum in Guadeloupe.