• her(e), otherwise
    Anna Nnenna Abengowe,
    Patricia Anahory &
    Mawena Yehouessi

Mawena Yehouessi, "Portraits influx_SAAY/YAAS," 2020. Digital collage. Courtesy saay/yaas

her(e), otherwise is a response to the socio-political-economic realities of building, practicing, and existing in architecture and the related spatial practices. Both discipline and praxis architecture shapes preferences through appeal and attraction achieved largely through cultural means. Architecture authenticates (or negates) value by relying on canons that stipulate meaning and worth through relationships that are validated via (pre)established transactions and exchanges. Accordingly, her(e), otherwise platforms offer “call and response,” employing this particular African/diasporan form of democratic participation to summon a community of women to freely consider, agree, contradict, expose, extract, and (re)assess acts of meaning and value creation. Activated by discussions on “belonging to”—as opposed to “originating from”—her(e), otherwise calls on women undertaking African-Black-island-diaspora worldmaking, working across multiple practices, to expand or disrupt systems of validation, calibrated to reproduce privileged forms of knowledge production and meaning in the discourse.

Anna Nnenna Abengowe is deputy director of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg. Abengowe holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Boston University and a master’s in architecture from Princeton University. She is a cofounder of the saay/yaas collective and a creative codirector of the her(e), otherwise platform. Abengowe recently published two articles titled “Project Africa'' and “Archi-pessimism” in The Sub-Saharan Architectural Guide (DOM, 2021). Her disciplinary and practice interests target the interrogation of architecture’s social role and form-making within the current cultural dominant of intellectual postmodernism and economic neoliberalism. Born in England to a Yorkshire mother and Igbo father, she was raised in England, Canada, and Nigeria, educated in the American system, and considers Nigeria to be her place of origin. Abengowe currently resides between Abuja and New York.

Patricia (Patti) Anahory is an architect working across building, art, pedagogy, and curatorial practices. Anahory holds a master’s degree in architecture from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Boston Architecture College. Her (re)search focuses on interrogating narratives of belonging across geopolitical, memory, race, gender constructs, and on exploring the politics of identity from an African island perspective. Anahory is cofounder and creative codirector of the her(e), otherwise platform. She exhibited at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice (2021). In 2000 she was awarded the Rotch Travelling Fellowship and served as founding-director of CIDLOT, a multidisciplinary research center at the University of Cabo Verde (2009–12). Anahory cofounded Storia na Lugar, a storytelling platform and [parenthesis], an independent space for inter(un)disciplinary exchanges, creative experimentation and cross disciplinary dialogue. She was born on a ship traveling south on the Atlantic ocean en route to São Tomé and Principe.

Mawena Yehouessi (aka M/Y) is founder of the Black(s) to the Future collective and is currently undertaking a doctorate in art and philosophy at Villa Arson and Université Côte d’Azure. Born in 1990 in Cotonou (Benin), Yehouessi holds a master’s in philosophy from La Sorbonne Paris 1 University and an master’s in cultural projects management from L’Institut d’Etudes Européennes Paris 8 University. As a member of the saay/yaas collective, Yehouessi is a codirector of the her(e), otherwise platform. From visual/digital syncretism and filmmaking to poetry writing, translation, pedagogy, study (in the sense of Moten and Harney), or making-up parties before calling them exhibitions; Yehouessi describes herself as a collisionist : an art curator, a re.searcher, and an artist. Uncaught through alter-futurisms and poïethic realities, Yehouessi develops in others words an imploratory (rather than exploratory), collaborative, and prospective practice of collage.