Seminars and Conferences

CCCADI Presents Curators in Conversation


With María Elena Ortiz & O’Neil Lawrence

Moderated by Grace Aneiza Ali, CCCADI Curator-at-Large

Thursday, December 10, 2020 at  6:00 PM EST

Curators in Conversation is dedicated to critical debate, dialogue, and engagement with curators of color committed to the artistic and cultural production of the Afro-Caribbean and its Diaspora.

New York, New York — The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) is pleased to present the next session in their popular virtual Curators in Conversation series on Thursday, December 10,  2020 at 6:00 pm featuring Maria Elena Ortiz, curator at the Perez Art Museum Miami where she is spearheading their Caribbean Cultural Institute and O’Neil Lawrence, chief curator of The National Gallery of Jamaica and co-curator of the Jamaica Biennial 2017. Serving as moderator is Grace Aneiza Ali, CCCADI’s Curator-at-Large

Ortiz and Lawrence will discuss shared concerns and intersecting ideas in their curatorial practice, their commitment to elevating the curatorial research and scholarship on Caribbean artists and their efforts to promote artistic exchange between Black communities in the US and the Caribbean. As curators with leadership roles at institutions in service to Caribbean Art, Ortiz and Lawrence will also share their thoughts on the role of the curator and the future of museums in navigating this fragile yet generative moment.

HOW TO WATCH: Visit to view our LIVE virtual programs and engage with comments and questions through our social media platforms like Facebook Live & Youtube Live!  Tune into our Youtube Channel and Facebook Live. CCCADI’s new digital programs will be featured on our different social media platforms. Visit and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and follow us on FB and IG for regular updates!


María Elena Ortiz is a Curator at PAMM, where she is spearheading its Caribbean Cultural Institute. At PAMM, Ortiz has organized several projects including the recent The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art (2019) and  Latinx Art Sessions (2019). Ortiz has contributed to writing platforms such as the Davidoff Art Initiative, Terremoto Magazine, and others. A recipient of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) and Independent Curators International (ICI) Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean, Ortiz’s curatorial practice is informed by the connections between Latinx, Latin American, and Black communities in the US and the Caribbean.

O’Neil Lawrence is Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica (Kingston) and provides curatorial oversight for their western branch National Gallery West (Montego Bay) as well as stewardship and development of Jamaica’s national art collection. He served as lead curator on recent exhibitions such as I Shall Return Again (2018) and Beyond Fashion(2018) and co-curator of the Jamaica Biennial 2017. Lawrence has contributed essays to publications on Caribbean Art, including Pictures from Paradise: A Survey of Contemporary Caribbean Photography and Histórias Afro-Atlânticas Vol 2 Antologia (MASP 2018). He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Caribbean Art Initiative.

Guyanese-American Grace Aneiza Ali serves as Curator-at-Large for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York. She is an Assistant Professor and Provost Fellow in the Department of Art & Public Policy at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Ali’s curatorial research and teaching practice centers on curatorial activism, socially engaged art practices, global contemporary art, and art of the Caribbean Diaspora with a focus on her homeland Guyana. Ali is the editor of the recent publication, Liminal Spaces: Migration and Women of the Guyanese Diaspora (Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK).

Visual Arts @ CCCADI – Exhibitions & Curators: Since its founding in 1976, the intersection of arts, culture and social justice has been the foundation of CCCADI exhibitions program. For over 43 years, CCCADI has promoted the aesthetics and creative expressions of artists, scholars and researchers focused on connecting African Diaspora themes in their work.  Through these efforts the Center has championed the work of  illustrious curators such as Lowery Sims, C. Daniel Dawson, Marta Moreno Vega, Mora J. Byrd, Shantrelle P. Lewis, Grace Aneiza Ali, Paulo Bispo, Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez,  Desiree Gordon, Marinieves Alba, Robert Farris Thompson and Henry Frank. The Center has consistently provided space for artists, exhibitions, and dialogues across generational connections to provide cultural context, expansion and deepening of cultural threads that are shared  by artists of the African Diaspora.

ABOUT CCCADI: Located in East Harlem, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) is a nonprofit arts, culture, education and media organization that advances  cultural equity, racial and social justice for African Diaspora communities. Each of CCCADI’s programs asserts the centrality and relevance of African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino culture. Weaving together four broad categories: Learning, Expressions, Spirituality and Exchange, CCCADI carries out its mission through advocacy, public art exhibitions, public performances, educational programs, internships, fellowships, workshops, conferences, international exchange and collaborative partnerships. This past  Juneteenth, 2020, CCCADI launched the #ArtsGoBlack campaign to challenge the arts and culture field to actively address racial inequality. For more information, please visit:  

For additional information and to access virtual exhibitions and programs please visit: / /

CCCADI is most grateful for the support it has received from the following: FOUNDATIONS: Altman Foundation, American Express Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hispanic Federation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Jacques Louis Vidal Charitable Fund, the Mosaic Network and Fund in the New York Community Trust, New York Community Trust, The Pinkerton Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Starry Night Fund Corporations: BronxCare Health System, Consolidated Edison, The Durst Organization, United Health Care, WarnerMedia LLC;  Public: Harlem Community Development Corporation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, National Endowment for the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council Member Diana Ayala, New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, New York City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, New York City Council Member Bill Perkins, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York State