Okwui Enwezor, a renowned art curator, poet, and educator, has died after a battle with cancer.
The Haus Der Kunst, a Germany-based non-collecting modern and contemporary art museum where he was artistic director from 2011 to 2018, confirmed his death on Friday.
Enwezor had stepped down as director of the Haus der Kunst in June, citing health reasons.
Two months later, in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, he revealed that he had been battling cancer for three years and had undergone different treatments to that .
Before his death, Enwezor was the only African-born curator to organise two prestigious exhibitions– the 2015 Venice Biennale and Documenta 11 in 2002.
Because of his emphasis on expanding the canon of contemporary art to include artists from around the world, his exhibition at the Documenta was described as “the first truly global, postcolonial Documenta exhibition.”
At the Venice Biennial, he had also presented a masterfully visceral show that spoke to worldwide political upheaval and violence.
The last show he curated at the Haus der Kunst opened on March 8 and featured a compilation of works done by Ghanaian sculptor, El Anatsui.
In a tribute on Twitter, the Venice Biennale praised the late Enwezor for his “courageous contributions” to art.
“There are ways in which to speak that are not loud: they can whisper and still have great power” It is deep heart that we learn the heartbreaking Okwui Enwezor, art critic, poet, writer and brilliant curator of the # BiennaleArte2015,” the tweet read.
“There are ways in which artworks speak that aren't necessarily loud: they can whisper and still have great power”
It is with deep sadness that we learn the heartbreaking news of the passing of Okwui Enwezor, art critic, poet, writer and brilliant curator of the #BiennaleArte2015 pic.twitter.com/k3YR6Q1j3E
— Biennale di Venezia (@la_Biennale) March 15, 2019
“The great openness towards the artists of the world, the sense of responsibility as a curator and the courage to defend the reasons of the Art, have always been inspiring elements of his work”: Paolo Baratta, on behalf of the whole Biennale, regrets with sincere pain Okwui Enwezor.”