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Everyone is Present: Terry Kurgan and Oluremi Onabanjo in Conversation

  • Magnum Foundation 59 East 4th Street, 7th floor New York, NY 10003 United States (map)
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Please join us in celebration of Terry Kurgan's newly published Everyone is Present, a collection of essays—drawn from a personal archive of photographs and documents—that are part memoir, part travelogue, part analysis, and demonstrate her sophisticated understanding of photography, a medium that has long engaged her as an artist.

Everyone is Present begins with a family snapshot made by Terry's Polish grandfather in 1939 on the eve of the war. Presenting this evocative image as a repository of multiple histories—public, private, domestic, familial and generational—she follows her family’s journey across Nazi occupied Europe to South Africa, and at the same time sets off on a series of meditations on photography that give us startling insights into how photographs work: what they conceal, how they mislead, and what provocations they contain.

Terry will be joined in conversation by Oluremi Onabanjo, a curator and scholar of photography and the arts of Africa. Books will be available for signing and purchase.

Everyone is Present is published by Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg.


Terry Kurgan is an artist and a writer based in Johannesburg. Vernacular photography, and the complex and paradoxical nature of the photographic transaction, is a central theme in her practice. Her projects have been sited in spaces as varied as a maternity hospital, a public library, a popular Johannesburg shopping mall, an inner city park and a prison. Terry received a BAFA from the California School of Arts in San Francisco, an MFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has contributed essays on photography and public-sphere art practice to many books, catalogues and academic journals. Her previous books are Johannesburg Circa Now (co-edited with Jo Ractliffe) and Hotel Yeoville. Everyone is Present is her first work of creative non-fiction.

Oluremi C. Onabanjo is the former Director of Exhibitions and Collections for The Walther Collection, where she organized exhibitions in Europe, North America, and Africa. She co-curated Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography (2017), and edited its accompanying publication (Steidl, 2017), which was shortlisted for an ICP Infinity Award in Critical Writing and Research (2018) and named “One of the Best Photo Books of 2017” by The New York Times. She lectures internationally on photography and curatorial practice, and during Spring 2019 is a Visiting Critic at the University of Pennsylvania’s MFA program. A PhD candidate in Art History at Columbia University, Onabanjo holds an MSc in Visual, Material, and Museum Anthropology from Oxford University, and a BA in African Studies from Columbia University.