The Yale School of Art announces the appointment of Nontsikelelo Mutiti to the faculty as the Director of Graduate Studies in Graphic Design. Set to begin her appointment this August, Mutiti will become the third director of the graphic design program, following Professor Sheila Levrant de Bretteville’s historic thirty-two year tenure. Mutiti is a Zimbabwean born designer, visual artist, and educator whose conceptual approach to design spans the mediums of print, moving-image, web design, fine art, and community engagement. Mutiti maintains a research based studio practice through which design commissions and independent projects are both facilitated, foregrounding research, experimentation, and learning with colleagues and mentees.
Mutiti considers her teaching practice an extension of her studio practice, and strives to bring the same interdisciplinarity and opportunities for collaboration to her students. A graduate of the School of Art, Mutiti says that her intention as Director of Graduate Studies is to ensure that “…the students of this venerable program receive an education unrivaled in vision, breadth, and relevance—one that challenges them to exceed their own aspirations. Pursuing this means that the program itself will continue to promote and advance the creative flourishing of the art and practice of graphic design internationally.” Mutiti has held assistant professorships at Virginia Commonwealth University and Purchase College, State University of New York.
Also experienced in the work of institution building, Mutiti has initiated several platforms that foster collaborative projects between artists and scholars across the globe. She co-founded and was the artistic director of Black Chalk & Co., a creative agency that brought together writers, artists, designers, academics, and technologists with a mutual interest in publishing, curating conversations, and exhibitions.
Mutiti holds a diploma in Multimedia from the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA) and an MFA in Graphic Design from the Yale School of Art. Her publication work includes: Studies into Darkness, Vera List Centre and Amherst College Press (2022); Àsìkò: On the Future of Artistic and Curatorial Pedagogies in Africa, designed in collaboration with Julia Novitch, CCA Lagos, Lagos (2017); The Anarchy of Coloured Girls Assembled in a Riotous Manner, broadsheet published for The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat, The Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York (2019); Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats, Black Chalk & Co. New York, Richmond, Harare (2019); Strange Attractors, Berlin Biennial, Berlin (2018); Fordjour, Black Chalk & Co. New York, Harare (2017); Waiting Room Magazine for the Free People’s Medical Clinic, edited by Simone Leigh and produced for Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn, New York (2014). Web-based projects include: thesojournerproject.com commissioned by the Practicing Refusal Collective, USA, with the support of Yale University and VIAD (https://www.viad.co.za/) (2021) and braidingbraiding.us (2015) in collaboration with Julia Novitch. Residencies and awards include: DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (2022); Berlin Artist Program, BKP (2021); Soros Arts Fellowship, Open Society Foundation (2019); History of Art: Women in Publishing, Center for Book Arts (2019). Recent group exhibitions include, TEXTURES: The History of Black Hair, Kent State University Museum (2021); Sampled Ground, DAADGalerie, Berlin, Germany (2021); BOXWALLPOTS, Stable, Washington DC (2021); Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA Salon), Baltimore, Maryland (2020); Living in America, ICPNY, New York (2020); Surfacing, Mono Practice, Baltimore (2020); Talking Pictures, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2017), On Visibility and Camouflage, We Buy Gold in Brooklyn, New York, Whitney Museum in New York (2016), and Salon Style, Studio Museum in Harlem (2015).
The School of Art would like to offer its sincere thanks to the search committee for their efforts in securing this significant appointment: Julian Bittiner, Senior Critic in Graphic Design; Gregory Crewdson, Committee Chair and Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Photography; Keller Easterling, Enid Storm Dwyer Professor of Architecture at the Yale School of Architecture; Manuel Miranda, Senior Critic in Graphic Design; Meleko Mokgosi, Associate Professor, Co-Director of Graduate Studies in Painting and Printmaking; Aki Sasamoto, Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture; and Susan Sellers, Senior Critic in Graphic Design. The School also recognizes Larissa Hall, Senior Administrator for Graphic Design, for her extraordinary work assisting the search.