Washington, D.C., January 25, 2023 – Today, the National Geographic Society has appointed Nigerian curator, thinker and visionary Azu Nwagbogu as a National Geographic Explorer at Large.
As an Explorer at Large, Nwagbogu will serve as an ambassador for the National Geographic Society and receive support to continue his storytelling work across Africa and globally. The National Geographic Explorer at Large title is bestowed on a select few global changemakers. Nwagbogu joins iconic National Geographic Explorers such as Shahidul Alam, Bob Ballard, Sylvia Earle, Maya Lin, Rodrigo Medellín and the late Thomas Lovejoy.
“As an organization grounded in storytelling, we could not be more thrilled to name Azu to this role,” said Jill Tiefenthaler, Chief Executive Officer, National Geographic Society. “For over two decades, he has created and cultivated spaces to elevate African art, stories and the African diaspora globally. Azu is a visionary who understands that in order to break barriers, we must break new ground in storytelling and we are excited to work together to expand his incredible work.”
A world renowned curator, Nwagbogu is the Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non-profit organization based in Lagos, Nigeria that is dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African arts and artists. Prior to that, he served as the Interim Director/Head Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa. He also serves as Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival, an annual international arts festival of photography held in Lagos. He is the creator of Art Base Africa, a virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary African Art.
“My passion for image making and visual storytelling has been influenced by the work of explorers of all disciplines,” said Nwagbogu. “To be a part of this diverse community involved in addressing the urgent ecological concerns of survival, biodiversity, climate change and other contemporary issues of the Anthropocene that threaten our common humanity is truly humbling. I am honored to be amongst global change makers in the cohort of National Geographic Explorers at Large.”
“Azu has spent his career curating and championing African stories and storytelling talent,” said Kaitlin Yarnall, the Society’s Chief Storytelling Officer. “We are thrilled to recognize his work and the opportunity to collaborate with him to help bring those stories to audiences across the globe. Azu’s bold and compelling storytelling work is the embodiment of how the Society creates impact though its community of Explorers.”
In this role, Nwagbogu will receive an annual stipend and access to additional grant opportunities from the Society to support work that’s aligned with the Society’s mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world.