The Africana Media Project is an international project consisting of collections of still images and video related to the global black experience. The collection contains both found and original art, including a series of documentary films on the black image, museum curations and gallery redesigns that make use of documentary films.
Past exhibitions have addressed bold questions like “Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware” at the Independence Seaport Museum (Premiered in May 2013). Tukufu Zuberi produced and directed five interstitials for inclusion in the “Tides of Freedom” gallery. The “Tides of Freedom” gallery presents the contributions to the ideas of freedom, justice, and equality by the enslaved and Freed People along the Delaware River.
The exhibition, “Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster”, premiered at the Penn Museum in June 2013. “Black Bodies in Propaganda” presents 33 posters from around the world that illustrate Black bodies being used for purposes of propaganda. The “Black Bodies in Propaganda” exhibit was also shown at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, Washington (2016), and at the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma (2017).
The recent project leading the curation and redesign of the Penn Museum Africa Galleries is an overt effort to apply contemporary social science in our response to the needs and calls for the Decolonization and Deradicalization of public spaces like Museums in the West. The 850 million visitors to American museums need a better representation of Black Culture, especially as the museum as an institution is transformed by the recent pandemic, and movements against anti-Black racism. Our collaborative work to redesign the Penn Museum is an experiment in decolonizing the museum as a space of public education
Tukufu Zuberi is the Lead Curator, "Africa: Maker to the Museum" @ Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Open November 2019 - redesign of the New Africa Galleries). This was the culmination of 5 years of work, and has received very positive reviews from Scholars and the public. As lead Curator, he provided the vision for every aspect of the redesigning of the galleries, and the selection of the objects and the galleries reconceptualization. The redesign of these galleries was a multi-media production that resulted in 10 interstitial videos, the organization of an international panel of consultants.
This panel consisted of artist, curators, art historians, anthropologist, sociologist, and museologist. Some contributed their ideas, others contributed with their work. The galleries contain objects from the Penn Museum Africa archive that were not created to be exhibited in the museum setting. The group of five artist (Jorge dos Anjos, the team of Brenna Moore & Emerson Ruffin, and the team of Amadou Kane Sy & Muhsana Ali), produced three major works that are in conversation with the redesign of the galleries and the objects on display. The contemporary artistic contributions were meant to be exhibited in the galleries. The galleries were redesigned with this conversation across time and place in mind.
Television & Documentary
From 2003 to 2014, Dr. Zuberi was a host of the hit Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series History Detectives. The History Detectives regularly presented the social history of American culture to the public. In 2014, Dr. Zuberi returned as host and co-producer of the summer PBS series History Detectives: Special Investigations. He is the writer and producer of African Independence, a feature-length documentary film that highlights the birth, realization, and problems confronted by the movement to win independence in Africa. African Independence was selected and featured at over a dozen film festivals, and was the recipient of various awards.
Completed in 2020, his feature-length documentary on the history of ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhay is entitled Before Things Fell Apart (2020). His most recent short documentary on African material culture in museums is entitled Decolonizing the Narrative: Africa Galleries from Maker to Museum (2020). The first in a series of 3 short documentaries, Africa Galleries from Maker to Museum, is a 33-minute exploration of the debates about Museums, Reparations; Restitution; and Race.