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‘The Art of Resistance,’ Speaker Series

October 2, 2019

Drawing of men in suits with light bulbs as heads and colorful flags in the background "Trazando Estados," by Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé

World-renowned artist Pedro X. Molina, writer Trifonia Melibea Obono, and former U.S. Ambassador Mark Asquino will address freedom of expression, artistic freedom and human rights in a fall 2019 speaker series coordinated with The Art of Resistance exhibition at the FedEx Global Education Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

About the Featured Guests

Pedro X. Molina
Pedro X. Molina, also known as PxMolinA, is an internationally acclaimed political cartoonist, illustrator and journalist from Nicaragua. Molina will give a talk on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, on the fourth floor of the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill at 5:30 p.m. In December 2018, when the offices of news media outlet Confidencial were taken over by government forces, Molina fled his country during a national crackdown on journalists and government critics. He was a prolific participant in the #FreeNseRamon campaign, and his work is featured in The Art of Resistance exhibition currently on display at the FedEx Global Education Center. Molina will share about his work in Nicaragua and his efforts to support freedom of expression everywhere.

Ambassador Mark Asquino
Ambassador Mark Asquino, career Foreign Service Officer and former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea from 2012 to 2015, will deliver a talk on his work addressing human rights, democracy and corruption in the country. The talk will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, on the fourth floor of the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Ambassador Asquino has served in postings in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa and served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Sudan and in Kazakhstan. In Washington, he was Chief of Staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State.

Trifonia Melibea Obono
Trifonia Melibea Obono is a writer and activist from Equatorial Guinea who studies and advocates for women’s gender equality in Africa, and she will speak on Equatorial Guinea’s LGBTQ+ and human rights issues on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, on the fourth floor of the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill at 5:30 p.m. An original portrait of Obono is featured in The Art of Resistance exhibition, highlighting her activism regarding issues of gender and sexuality in Africa. Obono is the author of several novels, including Las Mujeres Hablan Mucho Y Mal, which won the 2018 Justo Bolekia Boleká international Prize for African Literature, and La Bastarda, which was the first novel by an Equatorial Guinean writer to be translated and published in English.

About the Exhibition

Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé gained notoriety for criticizing the long-ruling, oppressive government of his native Equatorial Guinea. After living in exile from 2011 until 2017, Esono Ebalé was falsely imprisoned upon his return home. To call for his release, artists from around the world began a virtual collective and social media campaign using #FreeNseRamon. Inspiring others to contribute their own art in support of Esono Ebalé, the campaign culminated in his release in March 2018.

The Art of Resistance showcases artwork Esono Ebalé created prior to and during his imprisonment and original artwork created for the exhibition, as well as the art by those who advocated for him during his imprisonment.

The exhibition touches on themes of human rights and freedom of speech, as Esono Ebalé’s story and art implore audiences to see the right of expression as an essential human right. His work illustrates the dangers often faced by those who speak out against injustices.

The FedEx Global Education Center, located at 301 Pittsboro Street in Chapel Hill, is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibit will run through December 13, 2019.

The exhibition is hosted by UNC Global and organized by the African Studies Center and Global Relations, in collaboration with EG Justice. Additional support for the above programming has been provided by the College of Arts & Sciences; Humanities for the Public Good Initiative; Institute for Arts and Humanities; Carolina Seminars; Curriculum in Global Studies; Center for European Studies; Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Institute for the Study of the Americas; Center for Media Law and Policy; and Department of Romance Studies.

Series Contact:
Angela Stuesse, associate professor of anthropology and global studies at UNC-Chapel Hill,

Exhibition contact: Ingrid Smith, manager of events and exhibitions, UNC Global,

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