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St John’s graduate to feature in exhibition celebrating black alumni

"This exhibition shows the indelible mark that black alumni of the University of Cambridge have left here"

A portrait of Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan, an alumna of St John’s, will be one of 14 photographs on display in the University Library’s upcoming exhibition 'Black Cantabs: History Makers'.

The exhibition will draw together archive images of groundbreaking black Cambridge students and academics from the previous century alongside new portraits of prominent graduates taken by the photographer known as Sir Cam. One of these new portraits will be of the multi-talented artist Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan who studied English at St John’s from 2011-2015.

Justina Kehinde Ogunseiten

Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan photographed by Sir Cam for the exhibition

During her time at University, Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan made history by directing, co-producing and acting in the first all-black all-female production on a Cambridge stage with a production of Ntozake Shange’s play, For Colored Girls (who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf). Since graduating in 2015 she has continued to make her mark in the world of the arts as a jazz-singer, theatre director, and award-winning writer.

Her portrait will be displayed in the University Library’s Royal Corridor alongside that of writer Zadie Smith, MP Diane Abbot, actor Thandie Newton, and composer Errollyn Wallen.

The exhibition builds on the significant research done by the Black Cantabs Society, who aim to chronicle the history and stories of black alumni at Cambridge University.

Speaking about the exhibition, Black Cantabs Society president Surer Mohamed said celebrating the achievements of black alumni was important for future students.

He said: "This exhibition shows the indelible mark that black alumni of the University of Cambridge have left here, and across the globe, and hopefully demonstrates to prospective black students that they do have a home in Cambridge. It's a remarkable opportunity!”

'Black Cantabs: History Makers' runs from 1 October – 31 December in the University Library. The exhibition is free and open to all.

To find out more about what Justina has been up to since graduating, and her most recent play UMUADA, you can read an interview with her on our alumni blog.

Published: 03/09/18

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