Gus Casely-Hayford. Photo: Jaimie Gramston

Augustus Casely-Hayford to Join National Museum of African Art as Director

Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford, a research associate at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, has been named director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. He will take up the post on February 5, 2018.

“Gus brings an impressive combination of knowledge, experience, communication skills, and passion to the National Museum of African Art,” said Smithsonian secretary David Skorton. “His presence at the museum will boost its already prestigious programs and compelling exhibitions and inspire more people across the nation and around the world to explore the rich cultural heritage of African art.”

Born in London, Casely-Hayford is an author, curator, and broadcaster, and has lectured widely on African art and culture. He sits on the board of the Caine Prize for African literature and is currently working on an exhibition that tells the story of the abolition of slavery through eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits for London’s National Portrait Gallery. Previously, he presented two series on precolonial African history for the BBC and wrote the six-part television series “Tate Britain: Great British Walks” for Sky Arts. He also delivered a Ted Global Talk on precolonial Africa this past summer.

“It is such an exciting time to be joining the team at the National Museum of African Art,” said Casely-Hayford. “African art is at another fascinating juncture as artists reconfigure our understanding of the medium, helping us to chart courses through the big issues of our time, while reminding us of the complex and long historical tradition upon which they stand.”