Alanna Lockward (March 23, 1961 - January 7, 2019)

Alanna Lockward at Bebop Berlin 2016 © Miguel Gomez

Alanna Lockward at Bebop Berlin 2016 © Miguel Gomez


Alanna Lockward (March 23, 1961 - January 7, 2019)

Born in the Dominican Republic, Alanna Lockward was an author, curator, filmmaker, mentor, mother, friend, and a person with a heartfelt passion for knowledge and for embarking on endeavors requiring new ways of thinking and interacting with the world. As a curator, she specialized in time-based radical narratives, and was an extraordinary figure in the fields of Caribbean scholarship, decolonial theory, and curatorial praxis, all of which she undertook with the boldness of a true trailblazer. This courage propelled Lockward to embark on unusual projects that, while of extreme relevance to her fields of interest, did not necessary conform to institutional norms and expectations and did not seek immediate validation. Many of her projects broke ground for subsequent efforts that have become part of the mainstream. One example of this was the First International Performance Art Festival that she produced singlehandedly from Berlin, Germany, and that she presented in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This single event was the precursor, in many respects, of the new waves of performance art that would emerge in subsequent years in the Dominican Republic. The same could be said about her work on both sides of the Island: the Haitian and the Dominican Republics. Lockward’s extensive travels to these neighboring countries were responsible for a great deal of the burgeoning scholarship on bi-national and bi-cultural relations regarding these nations, and gave birth to some of her publications: Marassá and the Nothingness and A Dominican Haiti: Ghost Tattoos and Bilateral Narratives

One of Lockward’s cultural platforms since 1996 was Art Labour Archives, of which she was the Founding Director. Art Labour Archivesfunctioned as a space for theory and political activism. From 2012-2016, she curated the trans-disciplinary meeting BE.BOP. BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS, setting precedents for the articulation of decoloniality and Blackness within the European continent and beyond. As a result of her involvement in BE.BOP, Lockward worked with an extensive list of artists from the Caribbean to Europe and to Africa to produce events, performances, festivals, symposia, dance, theater, and publications on several continents. In addition, Lockward was the general manager of the Transnational Decolonial Institute. As a curator she received awards from the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the Danish Arts Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Allen Report, her first documentary project on black liberation theology and the transnational history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) was awarded a recognition by the Dirección General de Cine de la República Dominicana (FONPROCINE 2013).

Lockward comes from a family of recognized intellectuals. Her grandfather, George Augustus Lockward Stamers, was an historian, university professor, philologist, writer, journalist, cooperativist and a Gideon Society member. Professor Lockward Stamers was the award-winning author of the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and other protestant congregations in the Dominican Republic (Historia del Protestantismo en Dominicana). This intellectual lineage led Alanna Lockward to become a student at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-XochimilcoMexico City from which she received a Licentiate degree in Communication Science. Later on she received a masters in Art in Context from the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Her thesis focused on materials from the renowned German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, and dealt with the linguistic construction of Black identities: "Counter-reflection of a word field in the Daily Mirror.” Lockward was awarded a diploma in Dance Education from the Royal Academy of Dance, and performed with companies such as: the Ballet Clásico Nacional (Santo Domingo), Ballet de Cámara de Jalisco (Guadalajara), Neubert Ballet (New York City) and the Australian Opera (Sydney). She was the author of Apremio: apuntes sobre el pensamiento y la creación contemporánea desde el Caribe (Cendeac, 2006), Marassá y la Nada (Santuario 2013), Un Haití Dominicano: Tatuajes fantasmas y narrativas bilaterlares (1994-2014), as well as of a compilation of investigative work on the history and current challenges between Haiti and the Dominican Republic (Santuario 2014). Lockward was a recognized journalist as well, a cultural editor for Listín Diario, a research journalist of Rumbo magazine and a columnist of the Miami Herald and of Her many essays and reviews have been widely published internationally by AfrikadaaAtlánticaARTECONTEXTOArte X ExcelenciasArt NexusCaribbean InTransit and Savvy journal. In 2014 she was guest columnist of Camera Austria.

In 1988, Lockward was appointed Director of International Affairs at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo, in 1998 was designated a selection jury member of the XX Bienal Nacional de Artes Visuales in Santo Domingo, and as an award jury member of its 26th edition (2011). She was a guest lecturer on critical race theory, decolonial aesthetics/aesthesis and Black feminism at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin; the Decolonial Summer School Middelburg; the University of Warwick; Dutch Art Institute and Goldsmiths University of London. She was a panelist at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; and atDuke, Columbia and Princeton Universities in the U.S. She was an advisor for the MFA and PhD programs of Transart Institute, Berlin-New York; and was an associate of the DFG funded Young Scholars Network Black Diaspora and Germany.  

Throughout her years of creative work, Lockward partnered and collaborated with more than 50 cultural organizations around the world, some of which include: Goethe Institute, Togo; National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek; Bienal de La Habana, Cuba; Bienal del Caribe, Santo Domingo; Centro Cultural de la Embajada de España, Santo Domingo; Centro León, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros;Galerie Bourbon-Lally, Port-au-Prince; Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo; Ex-Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City; ARCO, Madrid;Atlántica, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Casa de América, Madrid; Casa América Catalunya, Barcelona; CENDEAC, Murcia; Danish Arts Council, Copenhagen; Documenta 13, Kassel; Dutch Art Institute; Junta de Andalucía, Seville; Matadero Madrid; NGBK, Berlin;Transart Institute, Berlin; Art Basel, Miami Beach; Franklin Furnace, New York; Hemispheric Institute, New York; Longwood Art Gallery/Bronx Council on the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio, New York.

Some of the exhibitions and projects that Lockward curated or helped produce included: Call & Response: BE.BOP.2016 at the Berlin Theater Volksbuehne;  Spiritual Revolutions and the Scramble for Africa: BE.BOP.2014 at Ballhaus Naunynstrasse; Decolonizing the Cold" War. BE.BOP.2013 roundtable and screening program Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin; BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS:BE.BOP.2012. roundtable and screening program Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin; Filipa César – The Embassy Haus der Kulturen der Welt; Truestories. Truesuccess, Freies Museum, Berlin; Naturaleza Intervenida, Espacio Iniciarte, Seville, with Juan Ramón-Barbancho, Nilo Casares, and Andrés Isaac Santana, commissioned by Junta de Andalucía; In His Shoes, Prague Quadrennial performance by Nicolás Dumit Estévez, in cooperation with Franklin Furnace, New York; F-Files, Universität der Künste, Berlin; Días Hábiles–Noches Hábiles, Museo del Hombre Dominicano, Museo de Arte Moderno, and the International Performance Showcase, Santo Domingo; Contemporary Art from the Dominican Republic, Museo X-Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City; among many others.

Some of her considerable number of essays include: "Pares & Nones: (In) Visible Equality,” published in Small Axe; “Elia Alba. Los Quehaceres del Agua (Water´s Endeavours) / Mónica Ferreras. La Verticalidad del Círculo (The Verticality of the Circle) / Charo Oquet. Una Sirena en el Reino de este Mundo (A Mermaid in the Kingdom of this World),"  published in Arte Contemporáneo Dominicano

Lockward suffered from severe gastric bleeding caused by arteriovenous malformations in the small intestine and died on 2019/01/07 after surgery in Santo Domingo. Alanna Lockward’s legacy will continue to live through her publications, the networks that she formed around the world, her bold and uncompromising ideas, and her tremendous influence on people of the most diverse backgrounds in the creative and scholarly fields. She will be greatly missed by many.

Related links:

Transart Institute