Stoop Series /

Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora

A panel discussion on Mfon, a commemorative bi-annual journal committed to establishing and representing a collective voice of women photographers of African descent.


Tue, Apr 3, 2018 | 7PM




BRIC House Stoop
647 Fulton Street
(Enter on Rockwell Place)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
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Left to right: Dr. Deborah Willis, Nina Robinson, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Delphine Fawundu

* Admittance to this event is first come, first serve (whether you have RSVP'ed or not), while space is available. Come early to ensure entry and seating.
* The Stoop has a limited capacity and seating is NOT guaranteed.

Moderated by preeminent scholar Dr. Deborah Willis, Mfon co-founders Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and Adama Delphine Fawundu, along with photographer Nina Robinson will discuss the commemorative bi-annual journal committed to establishing and representing a collective voice of women photographers of African descent.  In keeping with the idea of “my sister’s keeper,” the journal is named in memory of Mmekutmfon ‘Mfon’ Essien (1967 – 2001), a sharp-witted, visionary photographer who exhibited at the Senegalese Biennale in Dakar, Senegal, and received an honorable mention in the American Photo magazine annual survey of the nation’s best photographers. She passed away from breast cancer the day before her series “The Amazon’s New Clothes” was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art as part of the 2001 exhibition Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers

The discussion will be preceded by an interactive soundscape, with sounds by William “Goodwill” Ellis and ForTunes, and an essay by Niama Safia Sandy.


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Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is a photographer based in New York City. She has been making images through analog and digital photography since the late ‘90s. Her photographs have been published by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Exposure, the journal of The Society for Photographic Education, Colorlines, and other publications. 

Adama Delphine Fawundu is a photo-based multi-disciplinary award-winning visual artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Over the past 25 years, Ms. Fawundu has produced several photographic archives of works documenting the life and culture of people within the African Diaspora. These works were published in numerous anthologies such as Africa Under the Prism: Contemporary African Photography from the Lagos Photo Festival by Joseph Gergel, and Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840-Present by Dr. Deborah Willis. Her works have also been in publications such as The New York Times, Time magazine and New York Magazine. Ms. Fawundu is a New York Foundation of the Arts Photography Fellow.

Deborah Willis, Ph.D., is chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Professor Willis has an affiliated appointment as University Professor with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies also at NYU. Professor Willis has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships, the Infinity Award in Writing from the International Center for Photography, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. Named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” by American Photography magazine, she is one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curators of African American culture. Willis’ books include Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery with Barbara Krauthamer, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, and many others.

Nina Robinson is a freelance documentary photographer and educator based in Arkansas and New York. Robinson's work is a mixture of all her past experiences, bridging documentary, personal, and fine art. She began her photography career shooting for The Reporter in Vacaville, CA. Robinson's current work has a strong focus on underrepresented communities, breaking the visual prejudices of race, class, age, and gender. In 2015 she developed a Photo-Therapy program at the William Hodson Senior Center in the Bronx, where, through the use of photography, older residents are able to openly explore personal and social issues. She continues to teach visual/social workshops similar to this in the American South.

William “GoodWill” Ellis is an experience curator, DJ, digital marketer, event planner, art director and above all else, an artist. He fuses his love of community, music and art to create visceral experiences for his audiences and clients. These events range from curating exhibitions at art galleries, multisensory museum experiences, online campaigns, destination retreats, private functions and live music performances. With deep Caribbean ancestry, William was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York but his creative influences span the globe. A myriad of influences inspire his unique ability to blend various genres of art forms and mediums to cohesively form a universally accessible but eclectic style. GoodWill leverages his twenty five years of experience in multi-disciplined art forms to conceptualize, organize, promote and design marketing elements for events. He has created memories for domestic and international audiences alike including the American Black Film Festival in Miami and the Independence Day Celebration in Portugal. He has founded a number of institutional experiences including Tunnel Vision, a monthly cultural celebration in DUMBO NYC and Brooklyn Magic, a music and arts festival powered by the 46 year running International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn NY. He is also the Founder and Co-CEO of Pure Magic, an event coordination company which produces everything from festivals to corporate gatherings.

Niama Safia Sandy is a New York-based cultural anthropologist, curator, and essayist. Sandy's curatorial oeuvre work delves into the human story - through the application and critical lenses of culture, healing, history, migration, music, race and ritual. Among Sandy’s academic pursuits is the development of critical and creative modalities grounded in research on the cultural productions and histories of the contemporary global Black Diaspora. She is an alumnae of Howard University, SOAS, University of London, and the No Longer Empty Curatorial Lab. She is a founding curator of the Southeast Queens Biennial which debuted in 2018.

ForTunes is an artist who paints with sound on a canvas of dynamic emotions and deep experiences. He has roots from the Caribbean islands of Haiti and Barbados, grew up in Brooklyn and has traveled the world. He is a classically trained musician with mastery of the violin, trumpet, drums and guitar. He is also a celebrated producer who has created audio experiences for brands and institutions around the world. The sum of these skill-sets and talents have bred a powerful artesian with a sense of theatric flare and refined sensibility. He is a driven and imaginative visionary who positively manipulates emotions to create cinematic-like epics in all events and productions. His clients include: Lauryn Hill, BRIC Media Center, and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 

BRIC’s Stoop Series welcomes audiences for dynamic conversations that connect art, performance, media, and other creative fields with big ideas that are important to Brooklynites. The Stoop Series highlights voices we don’t hear enough, creative solutions that deserve more attention, artistic endeavors that make you see the world differently, and tools for enhancing your own creativity.

Venue Information:

The Stoop at BRIC House is a public cultural gathering space featuring free, drop-in programming, and offering a place to sit, observe, and participate in multi-disciplinary work. 

Beginning Nov. 1, 2022, attendees of any BRIC House programming will no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the building. Masks are encouraged but not required in all BRIC operated spaces. If you have questions regarding this protocol, please email For our full BRIC House COVID-19 policy, visit: