Ficre Ghebreyesus: A City With a River Running Through | A Conversation with Elizabeth Alexander

September 19, 2018 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
$10 General Admission | $5 Student/Senior | Free MoAD Members

Image: Ficre Ghebreyesus, Solitary Boat, Reflected

This event is sold out. Thank you.

Limited seating may be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the door this evening.

As we open the first museum exhibition of the paintings of Asmara-born artist Ficre Ghebreyesus, join us for a conversation with American Poet Elizabeth Alexander about her late husband’s work and extraordinary life. This conversation with Dr. Jennifer DeVere Brody, moderated by Dr. Harry Elam Jr., will illuminate the cultural forces that shaped Ghebreyesus as an artist, as well as provide insight into his many layers as immigrant, chef, filmmaker, father and husband. The program will include a wine reception.

Professor Elizabeth Alexander, renowned poet, essayist, memoirist, and scholar, is President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the nation’s biggest funder in the arts and culture and humanities. She previously served as the inaugural Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University, where she taught for 15 years and chaired the African American Studies Department. At Smith College, she was the inaugural director atThe Poetry Center, and as a faculty member at the University of Chicago before that, she was awarded the Quantrell Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2009, Professor Alexander composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

In 2015, Professor Alexander made the transition to philanthropy when she joined the Ford Foundation as Director of Creativity and Free Expression, designing initiatives such as the Art for Justice Fund. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Professor Alexander is the author of six books of poems, two books of essays, and among many honors and award was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in poetry and in biography. Her latest book, the memoir The Light of the World, was released to widespread acclaim in 2015. 


Jennifer DeVere Brody is Professor of Theater & Performance Studies at Stanford.  She graduated with a B.A. in Victorian Studies from Vassar College and did her graduate work in English and American Literature at the University of Pennsylvania which awarded her the Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service. Her scholarly essays have appeared in numerous edited volumes and journals. Her books, Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (Duke University Press, 1998) and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (Duke University Press, 2008) both discuss relations among and between sexuality, gender, racialization, visual studies and performance.  Currently, she directs Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Harry J. Elam, Jr. is the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities and the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is author of and editor of seven books including Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka and The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson. In addition to his scholarly work, he has directed plays professionally for over twenty years. He received his AB from Harvard College in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California Berkeley in 1984.