Art Papers Learn

Mia Imani Harrison & Nzinga Simmons in Conversation

Mia Imani Harrison and Nzinga Simmons will discuss their contributions to ART PAPERS Summer 2022 “New Commons” and Fall 2019 “Strategies of Response” issues. Both Harrison and Simmons wrote reviews of Simone Leigh’s work—Nzinga on the Hugo Boss Prize exhibition, Loophole of Retreat in 2019, and Mia on Leigh’s groundbreaking installation in the 59th Venice Biennale: Simone Leigh: Sovereignty.

Over the past two decades, Simone Leigh (b. 1967, Chicago, IL) has created an expansive body of work in sculpture, video, and performance that centers Black femme interiority. Inflected by Black feminist theory, Leigh’s practice intervenes imaginatively to fill gaps in the historical record by proposing new hybridities. Harrison and Simmons will discuss this ongoing exploration of Black female subjectivity characteristic to Leigh’s artistic practice. 

Simone Leigh is currently representing the United States at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Presented in the United States Pavilion, Simone Leigh: Sovereignty is commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Mia Imani Harrison (she/they) interrogates ways that disenfranchised communities can heal individual, communal, and societal trauma by creating works that live in between the worlds of art and science. This “third-way” mixes unconventional methods (dreams, rituals) and science (ethnography, geography, psychoanalysis) to dream new potential ways of being. She activates this through experimental interviews, reportage, and film. She strives to create generative pieces that allow the works of the artist to have a second breath outside of the confinements of an exhibition. Her creative and collaborative work has lived in the Northwest Film Forum, Seattle Art Museum Lab, Savvy Contemporary, Akademie Solitude, Prater Galerie, Kunsthal Ghent, Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg, and is expanding into digital and other interdisciplinary spaces. Her written work lives online and in print within publications such as ART PAPERS, Black Embodiments Studio, Cultured Magazine, Contemporary &, Daddy Magazine, Frieze, Hyperallergic, Vice, and more.


Nzinga Simmons​ (she/her) is an emerging curator and art history scholar based in Durham, North Carolina. She earned her B22A in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Duke University. Her research interests include black digital culture, new media art, and speculative futures. Prior to her graduate studies, she served as the inaugural Tina Dunkley Curatorial Fellow in American Art. She curated UNBOUND, an exhibition examining the history of Black abstraction from the mid-century to the contemporary moment, at the Zuckerman Museum of Art in Georgia. Through her critical art writing and curatorial practice she aims to highlight the vast and significant contributions of underrepresented artists to the canon of American art.