FEATURED ALUMNI OF THE MONTH

Marques J. Redd, PhD

Hometown – Macon, GA
Undergrad – Harvard College, 2004-AB Social Studies and African and African American Studies
Graduate School – UC Berkeley, 2011- PhD English
Title – Independent scholar, multi-media artist, and traditional African cosmologist
Greatest Impact – The foundation of my scholarly, artistic, and spiritual work is the recovery, modernization, and extension of traditional African knowledge systems. In September 2021, my film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth (which I co-directed with Mikael Owunna) premiered at ClampArt in New York. It will also be screening at LA’s Iris Project and CAM Raleigh in November. In October 2021, we will be launching a public art collaboration with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra entitled “Playing the Cosmic Strings,” which will feature an image of me engaging in a creation ritual on a 1,200 sq. ft. billboard that will be displayed for 5 years. Other work in production includes a scholarly text entitled Ancient Origins, Future Destinies: Blackness, World Creativity, and the Word and a series of 12 glass sculptures of queer African deities that will be exhibited at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in 2023. I seek every medium I can to bring the multidimensional depths of African cosmologies to the 21st century world. Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth, screenings and trailer: https://www.mikaelowunna.com/obimbu

Born in Macon, GA, Marques Redd is a traditional African cosmologist, independent scholar, and multi-media artist.  He engaged in intense study of ancient Egyptian cosmology and its cultural influence while pursuing a BA in African & African American Studies and Social Studies from Harvard University and a PhD in English from the University of California-Berkeley.  He supplemented that work through being immersed in a wide array of African spiritual systems, particularly from Afro-Cuban, Yoruba, Dogon, Igbo, and Dagara cultural contexts.

Marques has been a professor at several institutions – Texas State University, the University of Notre Dame, and Marquette University.  He has also been an administrator at UC Berkeley (Assistant Dean of Instruction and Student Affairs for the College of Natural Resources) and the University of Pittsburgh (Senior Director of Graduate Advising and Engagement for the Humanities).  Marques’ published academic essays include “Astro-Black Mythology: The Poetry of Sun Ra” and “Those Mysteries, Our Mysteries: Ishmael Reed and the Construction of a Black Esoteric Tradition.”  He has lectured on the topic of African cosmologies in Canada, in Switzerland, and around the United States at institutions including the Esalen Institute Center for Theory and Research, The New School, Louisiana State University, and Bates College.  Redd has presented his research in public talks at the Brooklyn Museum and Milwaukee Public Museum, and he has contributed essays for arts institutions and galleries including ClampArt, Silver Eye Center for Photography, and Women of Visions.

When Marques was younger, his parents founded Miracles Art Gallery, an arts space in middle GA that highlighted the work of African American artists.  Returning to his roots, he is currently using a wide range of artistic mediums – film, digital animation, sculpture, fiction, performance, and public installation – as a means of furthering his scholarly and spiritual endeavors.