A celebrated Nigerian-born chef based in New Orleans will spend two weeks in Cincinnati this spring educating audiences on the intersection of food and the political economy.
On Wednesday, Taft Museum of Art announced Tunde Wey as its 2024 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence. The artist, writer and chef is the 37th resident in the history of the program, which focuses on elevating the profile of Black and Brown contemporary artists.
Since its founding in 1986, the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program has featured artists from a wide range of mediums – painting, fashion design, dance, poetry, theater and more. Cellist Anita Graef was the resident last year.
This year, for the first time, the Taft turned to artists whose creative studio is the kitchen.
The museum opened the application to food artisans from around the world. Their work could focus on any number of areas – regional food history, marginalized culture cuisine, healthy cooking, sustainable cooking practices and entrepreneurship. However, the Taft wanted someone who wouldn’t only be a great chef, but also a dynamic educator.
As part of the residency, Wey will lead a series of public events and teach workshops from April 13 through 27. He’ll also visit several Greater Cincinnati schools.
“The Taft Museum of Art is thrilled to have Tunde as this year’s Duncanson Artist-in-Residence,” said Kareem A. Simpson, who manages the program.
“This year will be an exciting year,” he continued. “Not only are we featuring a culinary artist for the first time in the initiative’s history, but the Taft will also be expanding the Duncanson program to become a year-round endeavor.”
Much more than a plate of food
In naming him as the winner, the Taft outlined Wey’s history of “engaging systems of power from the vantage point of the marginalized other” through his work. He uses art, media, food and dining spaces to confront a range of topics stemming from social disparities and inequalities across the globe.
The New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, GQ and NPR have all featured Wey’s work. His own writing has appeared in publications such as the Boston Globe, the Oxford American, the San Francisco Chronicle and Bloomberg CityLab. He is a recipient of Tulane University’s Monroe Fellowship (2022) and a Ford Foundation JustFilms Grant (2019–2020). Time Magazine named him a Next Generation Leader in 2019.
Over the years, a major focus of Wey’s work is how economics and finance impact working-class Black communities. He’ll expand upon that topic during his time in Cincinnati by examining disparities in business funding to the local Black and Brown neighborhoods and exploring access to those resources.
His residency will culminate with a public and immersive experience. Taft will announce additional details closer to the event.
“As part of this work, we are strengthening our Duncanson Society by adding new members to increase the diverse artistic stewardship and advocacy in our region,” Simpson said.