Lesley Lokko curating | Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

Portrait of Lesley Lokko, photographed by © Murdo Macleod

Scottish-Ghanian architect, academic, and novelist Lesley Lokko has been appointed as Curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2023, becoming the first black architect to lead the biannual event. 

Also one of the few women to ever to be appointed this position, Lesley Lokko follows in the footsteps of Kazuyo Sejima (2010) and Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (2018). 

Lokko is trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture and holds a PhD in architecture from the University of London. She is well-known for her work in both architecture and literature over the past 30 years which has addressed the relationship between racial identity, culture, and space. She founded the African Futures Institute in Accra in 2020 to give “Africa’s dynamism and creative energy a space in which to flourish,” as stated by the Institute itself. 

“A new world order is emerging, with new centres of knowledge production and control,” stated Lesley Lokko. “New audiences are also emerging, hungry for different narratives, different tools, and different languages of space, form, and place.”

“After two of the most difficult and divisive years in living memory, architects have a unique opportunity to show the world what we do best: put forward ambitious and creative ideas that help us imagine a more equitable and optimistic future in common. Speaking to you from the world’s youngest continent, I would like to thank President Cicutto and the entire team of La Biennale di Venezia for this bold, brave choice,” she adds. 

Award-winning architect Lesley Lokko. Portrait by Debra Hurford-Brown

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition is set to be held from Saturday 20th May to Sunday 26th November 2023 (pre-opening 18th and 19th May). 

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